March 11, 2019

Spring break is big business, but watch your spending, too (Daily Journal) »

Ah, spring break, the time when many students are ready to spend quality time in Florida, lower Alabama, Texas, New York, Colorado, Mexico and all points between.

Mississippi, while not high on the list of spring break destinations, does benefit, according to Womply, a software provider that helps more than 150,000 small businesses nationwide.

The company looked at sales for every day of the calendar year during 2018 at hundreds of local restaurants, bars, retailers and lodging places in the state, and found that spring breakers bring a surge of revenue to the Magnolia State, especially during the month of March.

Key findings by small business category:

  • Restaurants – March is the top revenue month of the year for local Mississippi restaurants, with four of the top 10 sales days of the year occurring during the month.
  • Bars and lounges – March is also the top revenue month of the year for Mississippi bars.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is the 5th-best revenue day of the year for local restaurants, where they experience a 170–percent increase in sales over the average day.
  • Lodging – Lodging places experience their best sales month of the year during March, including seven of their top 50 revenue days.
  • Retail – March is the second-best sales month of the year for retailers in Mississippi, ranking right behind December.

On the flip side of seeing increased traffic during spring break, some businesses relying on student workers find it a little more difficult to fill spots on the schedule. That can create a problem, but proper planning can help with that.

For some families, spring break can also be a budget breaker. But it doesn’t have to be.

Some money-saving tips from Money Talks:

  • Look for deals everywhere: Find, Groupon and LivingSocial deals for areas you’re heading to or through. These sites serve travelers well, because deals frequently pop up for food and hotels. When booking or buying anything, look for online promotional codes and discounts too. When you’re in a hotel or all-night diner, grab one of those deal books from the corner stuffed with tourist brochures – they’ve got maps and coupons.
  • Don’t buy stupid souvenirs: Most of us cut loose on vacation, including with our wallets. While it’s fun to be impulsive about what you do and where you go, don’t succumb to impulse buys of tourist junk. You can find that stuff cheaper online anyway.
  • Gather all the necessities: Make a list so you don’t forget stuff like sunglasses, hat, clothes, sneakers and sandals, camera and whatever else you might need. That will keep you from having to buy them again at your destination.
  • Take advantage of hotel freebies: If you get complimentary breakfast or any kind of on-site discounts, make use of them. Watch out for stuff in your room that costs you, though: That mini-bar is not your friend.

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