City, Chamber Ink Two-Year Visitor Guide Accord

OCEAN CITY – The Town of Ocean City and the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce will continue their agreement in publishing and distributing the Visitor Guide for another two years.

Tourism and Marketing Director Donna Abbott came before the Mayor and City Council on Tuesday afternoon to request the approval of a letter of agreement between the Town of Ocean City Tourism Department and the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce regarding the Visitor Guide.

Abbott submitted, the letter of agreement with the Chamber of Commerce for the vacation guide distribution is expiring, and a new agreement is needed for the 2015 guidebook. The new agreement is proposed to cover a two-year period.

According to Abbott, in 2010 the Department of Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce entered into an agreement to merge their respective vacation guides into a single publication.

In the original agreement, the town was responsible for design and layout of the publication, while the chamber sold and received ad revenue. When that agreement expired, a subsequent agreement gave the chamber sole responsibility for design, content and distribution of the guide, while the town paid a portion of the postage costs and four pages of ad space.

“The proposed agreement is essentially the same agreement,” Abbott said. “We did clarify the postage costs. A couple of years ago, the chamber asked us to provide 25 percent of that amount, not to exceed $20,000, so we included that specifically in the letter of agreement, and the same for the four ads that we purchase. The chamber has raised their advertising rates, which will be an additional $160 for the town to pay. We did spend just under $20,000 in the last fiscal year for the mailing of the guide. Right now, we have been holding at the $20,000 amount.”

In the proposed agreement, all terms in the current agreement would remain the same with the town paying a portion of the cost of mailing the publication at a rate of 25 percent of the chamber’s annual cost, not to exceed $20,000. The town would continue to purchase four pages of advertising, though the ad rates have slightly increased.

Currently, the town budgets $20,000 to pay for vacation guide mail requests annually, plus $16,460 for ads. Based upon the 2014 distribution costs incurred by the chamber, the town would pay the chamber approximately $20,000. The new ad rate will cost an additional $160.

Without discussion, Councilman Joe Mitrecic made a motion to approve the agreement with the Chamber of Commerce, and the council voted unanimously to approve.