The History of SWAT Spring Break

Since 1997, we’ve produced some of the most insane and highly-regarded Spring Break trips for college students across the Western US.  Historically, our Spring Break program focused on Mexican destinations.  However, in the months and weeks leading up to the start of the Spring Break 2009 season, violence throughout Mexico’s border towns was at an all-time high.  Due to overwhelming demand, and in an effort to provide our travelers with the safe, yet fun, Spring Break trip they’d looked forward to, we relocated the program to Palm Springs, CA just a few days before the first week of Spring Break.

Despite our initial apprehension, our decision to offer a domestic destination as our flagship Spring Break product turned out to be the best strategic decision we’ve ever made.  We always knew that running Spring Break in Palm Springs wasn’t a long-term solution, so we began canvassing the West Coast’s resort towns and vacation hotspots in search of our new home.  After visiting nearly 10 cities, our senior management team agreed that Lake Havasu City, AZ “fit the bill” for what we look for in a destination city.

Ironically, in the early ’90s Lake Havasu City was the West Coast’s premiere Spring Break destination.  MTV rolled into town with their trademark production, TV crew, VJs, and emcees and created a party that you’d expect MTV to host.  Despite huge tax revenues and ridiculously high hotel occupancy rates from the 50,000+ travelers celebrating their cultural rite of passage, the city decided Spring Break business wasn’t the kind of business it wanted.  The major problem was that after MTV’s events ended there was virtually no formal organization to manage the thousands of Spring Breakers.  That’s not to fault MTV, though; they were doing exactly what they came to do: Build a stage and produce concerts and events in a city where Spring Breakers were already visiting.

After years of craziness and a huge burden placed on the city’s police and Sheriff’s departments, Lake Havasu City officials decided that enough was enough.  Spring Break in Lake Havasu City was effectively over.

Fast-forward to 2010 and you’d find that Lake Havasu City was going through quite a bit of change, too.  Outside of Arizona, you’d be remiss to find many college students who’d even heard of Lake Havasu, aside from the handful Southern California natives who’ve vacationed there with family.  Spring was an odd time of year for Lake Havasu.  The snowbirds (retirees from the Northern US and Canada escaping the wintery weather for Arizona’s warmer climate) begin to head back home since the snow season ends and the summer business doesn’t usually pick up until Memorial Day Weekend in May.  With the drastic drop-off in local clientele, there was a big lull in business from mid-February to the mid-to-late-April.

Our core strategy since the company’s inception has been to offer discounted vacation packages that include lodging and events.  The way that becomes problematic is when you try to offer a destination that’s already among the most popular… they just don’t need to discount hotel rooms because they already have the business.  Our strength has been to develop destinations that weren’t previously enjoying booming business.  We’ve always told ourselves that as long as we produce fun and memorable events where friends get together, offer packages at an affordable price point, and do everything we can think of to ensure our travelers celebrate Spring Break safely, we’ll be successful.  And the past five years have been a true testament to that philosophy.

As we enter our sixth year of SWAT Spring Break in Lake Havasu City we’re proud to offer the desert oasis as our flagship destination.  There’s no question, Lake Havasu City is the third-most visited Spring Break destination in the United States, and the largest destination on the West Coast.  Over 80% of all 30,000+ Spring Breakers who visited Lake Havasu City last year attended at least one of our events, and nearly 50% of those travelers bought their Spring Break package through SWAT.

SWAT Spring Break 2015 in Lake Havasu begins the third generation of our program.  We’ve officially named The Nautical Beachfront Resort our Headquarters Property and it will be home to all SWAT events this season.  The only beachfront hotel property in the entire state of Arizona, The Nautical is truly the top resort in town.  With our exclusive use of the property throughout the four-week period, we’re planning to break barriers again and do things we’ve never thought possible.  We’ve made several significant improvements to change the overall SWAT experience, and we’ve altered how things work based on our travelers’ input, feedback, and suggestions.  As we begin the next iteration of SWAT Spring Break we’ve truly looked at our company from the ground-up and left no stone unturned.

To put it simply, SWAT Spring Break 2015 will be An Experience Unlike Any Other!

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