Ocean City Today

Guess who came to dinner in OC? Same as last year

By Katie Tabeling | Nov 16, 2017

(Nov. 17, 201) The results of Ocean City government’s marketing survey were unveiled this week and, no surprise, showed that the resort has as exceptionally loyal following.

Moreover, it also found that a majority of visitors do not have children, come to the beach several times a year, and that their interest is growing in the shoulder season.

MGH President Andy Malis told resort officials “a lot of good news” was revealed in the 6,783 answers from the survey last month. He presented preliminary findings to the Tourism Commission and the full council, although a full breakdown of the data will be available in two weeks.

“The things that stuck with me is that 89 percent of people said they were coming back in 2018 … and the shoulder season is up dramatically,” Malis told the Tourism Commission on Monday. “I think it’s because most of our visitors don’t have children at home is [why] we see an uptick in the shoulder season.”

Roughly 45 percent of responders have no children at home, which could mean either the children are grown and have moved out or they never had children. Thirty-nine percent people who answered have children living with them.

More than 60 percent of those responding said they last visited Ocean City this year. MGH found that 65 percent of people are visiting in the fall, up from 52 percent two years ago. Spring tourism also seems to be on the rise, at 51 percent this year as compared to 41 percent in 2015

Summer faltered slightly from 75 percent from 2015 to 73 percent to this year.

Malis said these numbers also proved that Ocean City thrives on repeat customers. Sixty-three percent of the responders said they have been visiting Ocean City for more than 20 years, and 70 percent have been visiting more than a decade.

“This is a tradition. Families come back and people are still coming. Those are repeat customers that any business would be envious of,” he said. “People come to us or other beaches because they like beaches, and let’s not fight what we are.”

MGH was also asked to find out if the resort’s visitor base is shrinking because of negative publicity, but the questionnaire showed that if the tourists did not return, it had to do with their wallets.

Thirty-four percent of responders said they did not come back for financial reasons, and 33 percent said it involved scheduling conflicts with family.

Half the responders with children said their child’s sports tournaments affect where and when they take vacation.

“We’re up against this as much as everything else — how busy everyone is,” he said.

Ocean City’s main competition seems to be Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as 28 percent of visitors who chose a different location opted to go there. Malis said he would break down the category with the highest response, “other,” as write-in answers were allowed.

The results also showed that 86 percent of responders agreed that Ocean City is a safe destination to vacation with family and friends. Malis said that more visitors who lived outside of Maryland agreed with that statement.

“That says that people closer to Maryland are more concerned about it because that’s where the news is,” he said. “It’s less likely that they’re going to cover a negative event the further away you are.”

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