Spring Break means so much more than just five days off for college students; Spring Break is a beacon of light adeptly guiding students through the midterm haze. After we’ve finally clawed our way to the edge of the homework whirlpool, the vacation days are there to rejuvenate us and get us ready to tackle the final stretch of the semester. For weeks before the actual break finally arrives, everyone discusses their big plans of basking in the sun on sandy beaches and finally indulging in some much needed relaxation. Spring Break allows all of us to give in to our wanderlust and escape with our friends to various alluring destinations. One company that has tapped into this specific demographic is Student Travel Services. They recognize this college cultural phenomenon and run their entire company around accommodating and appealing to student needs.
Student Travel Services (STS) was founded in 1984 by two recent college graduates that aimed “to specialize in the marketing and operation of travel services designed specifically for students” (ststravel.com). What sets their company apart from any regular travel service is their specifically tailored student deals and packages. STS is trying to win over the student market by offering massive amounts of incentives, including the ever sought after complimentary t-shirt. Their logo thoughtfully attempts to reach their demographic by featuring a bear lounging around in sunglasses sipping a refreshing drink complete with a tiny umbrella. Their event pictures look much like those posted on one’s Facebook page and their destinations include all of the now classic spring break locations, from the Bahamas to Mexico to Florida. These familiar elements exist to make the students feel comfortable navigating the site and bring up associations and expectations of the now traditional Spring Break adventure.
While the company claims to be completely student-centric they do not ignore where the customers’ funds may be filtering down from and even include a nice blurb to the parents on their website. They invite the parents on all of their excursions but they must stay in a separate location from their offspring, because only students are eligible for the discounted rates and rooms. The company also promotes safety abroad and details their protocol for concerned trip goers and their families, promising that their hotels/services/and event managers cater specifically to well-trained young adults. STS also gives out further discounts to those who go through their “become a rep program” where one has the opportunity to “sell trips, earn cash…go free.”
The company uses tactics similar to guerilla marketing to make sure their message is the loudest amongst their target audience. STS has infiltrated almost every area where a college (and now high school) student may seek out or stumble upon their services utilizing everything from their blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and interactive campus information sessions. Student Travel Services strives to be as relevant as possible with the young adult crowd and molds their messages and product to fit in the consistently flux niche. Their only flaw is that they are banking on the idea that college kids all want the same sun drenched, MTV, novelty experience, and while this may work for now, it is good to keep in mind that even TRL eventually got cancelled.