Council Approves New Golf Marketing Partnership

OCEAN CITY – A golf marketing opportunity couldn’t be passed up this week as a new advertising method was approved and Pam’s Ocean City Golf Getaway is back in partnership with Ocean City.

Tourism Director Deb Turk explained that Ocean City has a history of golf destination advertising with Bobby Vermillion’s Golfing the Mid-Atlantic cable show. Due to the town’s marketing strategies for golf transitioning over the years, a decision was made not to renew the annual contract with the show because it consumed nearly half of the entire budget allocated to golf marketing, which is $160,000.

“The show was great and of great value but it was just eating up half of the budget so we needed to do something else in lieu of that,” she said.

Ocean City’s golf promotion has become more focused on Internet advertising and other tactics instead. One of those tracks was co-op advertising at golf shows with hotel packagers in town that proved to be successful.

In the meantime, Vermillion’s show transitioned under the sponsorship of Pam’s Ocean City Golf Getaway.

Turk said that an opportunity has arisen that will allow for Ocean City to advertise on Vermillion’s show for less than a third of what the town was paying before, which is a $20,000 investment compared to the previous $78,000. If the town agrees to the offer, Pam’s has agreed to book golf rounds at Ocean City’s golf course, Eagle’s Landing, which adds value to the town’s advertising buy.

“Naturally to me, this seems very smart,” Turk said. “There aren’t many media buys that we can actually purchase where we know there is a guarantee on investment.”

Turk added that from a marketing standpoint the investment makes sense because a number of properties in town outsource their golf package business to Pam’s exclusively and since Pam’s does not book Eagle’s Landing the town is missing out on business.

The Vermillion show is aired from Washington D.C, to Baltimore, through Philadelphia and Northern Virginia and to the western edge of Pennsylvania.

Eagle’s Landing Golf Professional Bob Croll said the minimum return on investment within the first year will reach $150,000.

“We would like to see it grow in the future,” he said. “This is a start for us and it is going to be a big win for the golf course.”

Councilwoman Mary Knight pointed out that a more than 700-percent return is “pretty dang good.”

Turk requested the Mayor and City Council’s approval to move forward into the spring golf season with a desire to increase rounds, or revenue, at Eagle’s Landing by purchasing $20,000, which is in the budget, of airtime on Vermillion’s Golfing the Mid-Atlantic show along with the added value offered by Pam’s.

The council voted unanimously, with Councilman Joe Hall absent, to approve the request.

When the golf co-op plan was first presented last March, half of the council was concerned over a partnership with Pam’s due to its sordid history with the town, even though it is now under new ownership. In the past, the town had a partnership with Pam’s and the company went bankrupt while still owing the town approximately $125,000.

“It is nice to see that this has come all the way around again and finally Pam’s is back in the loop,” Council President Jim Hall said. “I am happy to see this.”