OC’s Summer Of Thanks Campaign Seeks Business Participation

OCEAN CITY – Calling all businesses, the town is looking for the private sector’s participation in new marketing initiatives to help drive visitors to Ocean City this summer.

The Ocean City Season Kick-Off Meeting was held on Monday, and the town’s ad agency, MGH, along with the Department of Tourism, the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) and the Chamber of Commerce reviewed this year’s new “Summer of Thanks” campaign and how businesses can get involved.

The “Summer of Thanks” campaign was introduced by MGH in September following the town’s direction to design a promotion that would appreciate and thank summer visitors but most importantly retain business by providing deals from around town as well as an opportunity to enter into a sweepstakes.

The “Summer of Thanks” campaign will direct visitors to the town’s website, ococean.com, where they will be presented with special deals and discounts.

The contest will also take advantage of the latest technology provided by smart phones, Facebook and Foursquare check-ins. By downloading or updating ococean’s application onto a smartphone, Droid or iPhone, a user will be provided the opportunity to check-in.

A check-in list will locate the closest businesses to a person’s proximity enabling them to view the closest deals. By checking into a local business, that person will automatically be entered into the sweepstakes to win a free vacation in Ocean City. They are not limited to one check-in but as many as they like.

“We are going to really need your help … to get people to join us in this effort because this campaign is really a team effort,” Ocean City Communications Manager and Interim Tourism Director Donna Abbott said in front of a room of business owners. ‘This is an across-the-board customer service … to make this a really special summer for our visitors and truly thank them for coming down here.”

Alison Fiorelli of MGH referred to the “Summer of Thanks” campaign as the heaviest marketing plan that will take place over the summer months.

“It was created with the business community in mind,” she said. “We know the summer months you generate all of your business and it is a really important time for you to generate a lot of income, so we really wanted to create this plan so that you can drive visitors to your business all summer long.”

The two main parts behind businesses becoming involved with the campaign is to offer deals on the town’s website as well as become involved with Ocean City’s smartphone app.

“You can get involved and really generate, or benefit from all of the media exposure that we are going to have for the Summer of Thanks campaign,” Fiorelli said. “We are really hoping everyone will browse around and provide some deals that are really special and make customers and visitors really feel valued and they are being thanked.”

Fiorelli added that businesses can offer some kind of service to be involved with the grand prize and in return they will be receiving premium exposure on the ococean’s landing page.

Abbott suggested for businesses to think about what kind of deals they look for while traveling when coming up with their own.

“It doesn’t have to be a weekend,” she said. “It could even be something like a mid-week package … we would really like to see if at all possible something really special.”

OCHMRA Executive Director Susan Jones suggested providing gas cards along with a three-night stay at a hotel.

“There is a lot of possibilities out there,” Abbott said.