Tinder, the dating app company which, as of late, has been more fully embracing its status as the preferred hook-up app of choice for the younger generation, is today launching a new feature designed for its college-aged Tinder U users: Spring Break mode. The feature will allow students to swipe through potential matches before heading out to their Spring Break destination.
Here’s how it works.
From March 4 through March 31, 2019, Spring Break mode will go live in Tinder, offering 20 popular destinations, including Cabo, Lake Havasu, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego and others. To opt in, Tinder U users will need to look for the Spring Break card while swiping.
When they see it, they can then select their Spring Break destination to see who’s going. This destination will then be shown to potential matches through a badge on their profiles.
The idea, says Tinder, was inspired by trends the company was already seeing in product usage during this March time frame, when there would be huge upticks in some cities and locations. For example, South Padre Island experienced a 100x increase in activity in March 2018 compared to the previous month; Panama City saw a 10x increase; Destin Beach a 6x increase; and both Cabo San Lucas and Lake Havasu saw a 2x increase.
In addition to using its own data from past spring breaks, Tinder also consulted with its Tinder U users about which destinations to include.
“Spring Break, like Tinder, is a staple for many college students across the country,” said Jenny Campbell, chief marketing officer at Tinder, in a statement. “We’ve historically seen huge upticks in Tinder usage during Spring Break in these destinations, and we are excited to give users the unique experience to connect before they pack their bags,” she said.
The new feature is one of several ways that Tinder is focusing on its more casual use case, as of late. Last November, the company told investors during its Q3 earnings that it would begin marketing the app as a way to enjoy the “single lifestyle” — that is, catering to a younger demographic’s demand for wanting to date around while in their 20s — before they’re ready to settle down.
Tinder had also begun an online publication, Swipe Life, and is running various advertising campaigns related to this initiative.
For years, Tinder had tried to downplay the app’s more casual nature, but it’s now able to change course due to its acquisition of dating app Hinge. Similarly aimed at younger users and millennials, Hinge is focused on creating relationships, not hook-ups. That frees up Tinder to refocus on what it does best: quick matches.
Tinder parent Match Group had hinted at its plans for Tinder U during its earnings call earlier this month.
“In 2019, we are planning to solidify our leadership position among college students by expanding Tinder U to cover even more schools throughout the U.S. while also launching Tinder U in select international markets,” said Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg, speaking to investors. “We’re also expanding marketing through our on campus brand ambassadors and social media influencers. Expect to see more events and marketing tied to the school social calendar such as Rivalry Week and Spring Break,” she noted.
However, by shifting focus more toward a younger, less established customer base, Tinder could be challenged on the revenue side, as college students are less likely to have disposable incomes for things like a paid Tinder Gold subscription. Instead, Tinder will need to generate revenue from these users through in-app purchases — like Boost and Super Like (the latter which is often used by mistake, turning it into a running joke on the dating app).
Tinder said it’s considering rolling out a wider range of à la carte features in the future, and plans to focus on this aspect of its service, as well, in 2019.