OCEAN CITY – Mayor Rick Meehan has a secret. At least that’s what he’s telling radio listeners in a new advertisement for the town of Ocean City.
In efforts to boost numbers in the historically lagging final two weeks in August prior to Labor Day, the Tourism Commission instructed MGH Advertising, the firm contracted by the town to run its marketing program, to use some of the remaining advertising budget to run a new spin on the town’s current “value”” message.
Tourism Director Deb Travers said that MGH’s new spot radio spot will be broadcast all over New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, northern Virginia, Baltimore, Philadelphia as well as the “HLLY” markets (Harrisburg, Lebanon, Lancaster and York) in hopes of drawing more visitors to the town’s website, www.ococean.com, to find some “very substantial deals for the final two weeks in August.”
Rather than cite an across-the-board rate decline, Travers said that the idea to drive visitors to the site and allowing them to find the deal that suits them is far safer from a public relations perspective than simply stating “50 percent off all rooms.”
Meehan, as with many of the previous radio spots that have run this summer, provided the voice-over for the ad and was actually the one who brought the idea up at the last Tourism Commission meeting.
“I think it’s a great idea and one that we hope works very well for the hotels and the entire business community,” said Meehan. “I think there are those in our core markets who know that the hotel prices drastically decrease in that time period, but we are advertising to a lot of newer markets that probably have no idea.”
The additional advertising buys cost the town $135,000 out of the money that remains in the $3.7 million advertising budget.
MGH Advertising President Andy Malis said the town should do the added buys, but still keep “a little left over to start the spring campaign.”
Last year, the town extended its advertising via radio and television and saw a boost in the month of August that was deemed a huge success for the business community as a whole.
This spot, says Meehan, continues to give a value message in an almost slapstick manner.
“It’s a tongue-in-cheek spot where I tell them as if I’m whispering that I have a secret and I want to tell the listeners that rates in Ocean City are going to be very low for the next two weeks,” said Meehan. “It’s a good consistent message that reminds people that if they haven’t booked their trip to Ocean City this summer, that now is the time to do it.”
Meehan estimates that area hotels are charging “30-50 percent less” and historically always have during this time period in late August when schools in the region begin and keep some folks from enjoying the remaining weeks of the traditional summer season.
The ads will run for a week straight in all the aforementioned markets starting Monday.
Ironically, Meehan first proposed the idea as being an “OC on Sale” type of promotion, but MGH advised the town to steer clear of such verbiage and simply play up the value and the deal.
“I hope it works very well and the deals are fantastic,” said Meehan. “What would have cost you $1300 for a few nights might end up only costing $700 now.”