Ocean City received an award for its marketing campaign following Superstorm Sandy.
The New Jersey Travel and Tourism Association awarded the city a 2014 New Jersey Tourism Excellence Award for its “Ready for Your Stay” advertising campaign.
Michele Gillian, Executive Director of Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, accepted the award on behalf of theChamber, the City of Ocean City, and Ocean City Tourism Development Commission at the New Jersey Conference on Tourism in Atlantic City.
On Oct. 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard, including New Jersey and Ocean City. The storm brought a diameter of more than 800 miles and hurricane force winds spinning 175 miles from the center of the system. It hit the coastline at the precise moment of an astronomically high tide.
By sunrise, the ocean and the bay were one at the am high tide and tidal water covered most of the island. The water did not recede between tides and bands of wind and rain brought more water onto the already flooded island.
Ocean City wasn’t hit as bad as other towns along the Jersey Shore, and the community began rebuilding almost immediately.
In an effort to drown out the status the rest of the shore and show potential tourists that Ocean City was still a vacation option, the Chamber, City and Tourism put together the “Ready for Your Stay” ad campaign.
Artwork for billboards, lifestyle magazines, internet, social media, print advertising and television was designed and placed, with the consistent message, “Ready for Your Stay.”
Staff at the Welcome Centers was trained in how to answer the thousands of phone calls and emails regarding the storm. Guests were encouraged to return and to support the local businesses that desperately needed the commerce. Stores and restaurants in Ocean City reported strong sales, good foot traffic and even an influx of visitors from towns that fared worse in Sandy.
The Chamber, City and Tourism as a group spent more than half a million dollars on the campaign. The city saw an increase in preseason website visits (+17%) and an increase in telephone inquires (+12%).
The Ocean City Board of Realtors reported that summer rentals kept pace with 2012 storm numbers, accommodations reported reservations were up 5%,local amusement parks reported preseason ticket sales were up 8 percent, coupon redemption from the Official Ocean City Coupon Book and Downtown mailer was up 13 percent and visitors to the Welcome Centers increased more than 130 percent.
City officials estimate the value of increased sales/revenue since the storm will quadruple the investment.