OCEAN CITY — The resort will continue to play the “value” card when advertising Ocean City this summer, and it could be partnering with another Maryland mainstay that is trying to attract customers very much the same way.
Tourism Director Deb Turk told the Tourism Commission at a recent meeting that planning has already begun for the summer season, a little more than 20 weeks away, and the preliminary plan is to continue to spread the word over various mediums about the “value” of Ocean City.
“In the past, August was always kind of a down month for us, especially toward the end of the month”, said Turk, “but since we have been really pushing the value of Ocean City and pushing the specials and deals, August has really been great for us the last two summers.”
With that said, Turk said that the town is going be advertising the month of June as “On Sale In OC”, and plans to have the promotion be prominent on not only the town’s www.ococean.com website, but also on the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association website as well.
“We are really looking to build up the month of June this year, and this promotion coupled with the number of big special events that are scheduled in the month of June, we feel it could be very successful for the business community and the resort as a whole”, said Travers.
Historically, the month of June is kind of like the proverbial calm before the summer storm that comes each July and August, as the town is inhabited by large number of recent high school graduates, but not necessarily the masses of families and couples that the resort not only targets, but also spends more money.
However, with the Ocean City Air Show, and the OC Car and Truck Show on the same weekend early in June, as well as a handful of other big events such as the Maryland Firemen’s Convention, town officials are hopeful that the month of June could be a bigger month business wise than in past years.
In addition, Turk says that the town is in negotiations with the Baltimore Orioles about partnering for a number of promotions, one of which could see Mayor Rick Meehan or perhaps Rodney the Lifeguard throwing out the first pitch at Camden Yards.
“There are just so many things that we can do with the Orioles as far as promotions go, and every time we talk about it, it seems like three more ideas come from there,” said Turk. “We’ve always wanted to do something with the Orioles, but the price never worked out for us in the past. I think this year though, something will work out since we are both trying to play up how affordable it is to go to the beach and the ballpark.”
There are a number of potential promotions that are on the table, according to Turk, some of which tie in former Oriole, Ocean City restaurateur and avid golfer Boog Powell. Turk said that a few of the proposed promotions involve golf rounds with Powell, as well as trips to Ocean City.
“Golf is really a great tie-in for baseball, and those types of promotions would really help push the golfing industry down here,” she said.
Another possibility for Ocean City, according to Turk is having an “Ocean City Day at the Ballpark”, which would include many resort merchants actually setting up shop on Eutaw Street at Camden Yards, as a way to promote their establishments to those entering the ballpark.
“We are also talking about the idea of having advertising space behind home plate during the month of June when the New York Yankees, Mets, and Washington Nationals all play games there,” said Turk. “Since those three big teams are all in our main target markets, and it is during the time of the June on sale promotion, it could be great exposure for us.”
Turk said that in years past, the amount of money that Ocean City had in the advertising budget never provided the town the opportunity to seriously consider a partnership with the Orioles, but she noted that not only does the town have more to spend on advertising than ever before, the Orioles are also “willing to work with the town of Ocean City outside their usual media plan.”
“The Orioles are trying to market themselves as a great bargain at the ballpark and they apparently have a lot of fresh young talent coming in this year, so the timing for the two of us to finally work together might be right,” said Turk.