Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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June has long been a month many in the hospitality industry refer to as “pre-season.” It’s a time when staff is being trained, businesses are ironing out operations and sales slowly build as the month approaches its end and gives way to the boom of July.

It’s no secret June is not a busy time for most hotels, restaurants and watering holes, and many prefer the shoulder seasons of September and October because of the special event weekends. However, demoflush and room and food tax figures confirm June remains the third busiest month of the year behind July and August (September is fourth). Still, tourism folks in Ocean City see an opportunity to strengthen the month.

The idea to target June with additional advertising dollars this year is logical. The problem with June is two-fold: schools are still in session in most locales and there is a perception that Ocean City is full of kids and that June is not a good time for families to visit.

In my view, any advertising message should be proactive and address those issues, along with the already identified need to stress value, which should be included in every marketing campaign the resort launches because there continues to be a common misperception that Ocean City is too expensive of a vacation destination.

It’s one thing to comment on the cold, but it’s another to truly feel the impact of the unusually chilly snap of a month ago. Consumers are now finding that out, as utility bills have skyrocketed. One report I heard this week from an Ocean City business was a 135-percent increase this month over the month before. Another smaller business, which is closed, reported an 88-percent jump, though his thermostat remained at 60 degrees for both months. Residences are also feeling the pinch, with one man reporting his electric bill went from a $105 last month to $264 this month. Electric customers are not alone as gas and oil usage has also skyrocketed.

It was interesting to see Delmarva Power acknowledge this week it’s being inundated with calls about the high bills. In a press release, the utility pointed to some common sense, saying, “Typically, when the weather is extremely cold, customers tend to use more electricity to power the heating units in their homes and businesses. For example, even if a customer lowers the thermostat to 64 degrees (as opposed to 68 degrees), more energy than normal is going to be used to power the heating unit when the outside temperature hovers in the teens and 20s for an extended period of time.” Additionally, the utility offered some tips on how to conserve energy and those can be found at their website if you want to take a look. There’s also information on low-income assistance.

I came across something this week that tells me high school is quite different from how I remember it.

A high school in Wisconsin is getting tough with its students. Prior to a recent Winter Formal at the school, administrators distributed a document called “Dance Policies and Procedures.” It details various rules regarding clothing, guests, drinking and entrance, among other things. Most interesting was the paragraph about dancing. I was amazed at the details in the handout, which was published on The Smoking Gun, my favorite website. To my knowledge, no local high school goes to these lengths.

“When dancing back to front, all dancers must remain upright – no sexual bending is allowed. Examples are, no hands on knees, and no hands on the dance floor with your buttocks touching your dance partner,” the document read. “There will be no touching of the breasts, buttocks or genitals. There will be no straddling of each others’ legs. Both feet must remain on the dance floor at all times. Students will be given wrist bands at the door. One warning results in a teacher cutting off the wrist band. A student dancing inappropriately with no wrist band will be asked to leave the dance. This may result in loss of dancing privileges for the year.”

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