Ocean City Today

Visitor survey launched last week

By Katie Tabeling | Oct 19, 2017

(Oct. 20, 2017) By the end of the month, Ocean City officials and tourism industry leaders hope to have a better understanding of their visitors through the results of the marketing survey launched last Friday.

“It’s a crucial time for Ocean City, since we’ve gotten negative publicity for certain groups lately,” said Councilwoman Mary Knight, who chairs the Tourism Commission. “We’re at a point where we need more information to help with rebranding our image, and to remember who we are and what we are.”

The visitor survey, organized by advertising firm MGH, was pushed out to 77,000 emails listed in the Tourism Department database on Friday. After a “soft launch” to 1,000 email addresses on Oct. 12, a link to the survey was shared with Ocean City Development Corporation, the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, the Boardwalk Association and Downtown Association. That way, those organizations can send it to their members, who push it through their customer databases.

The survey is not shared on social media platforms, like Facebook, so responses would be limited to past and present visitors instead of the general public.

“I was tempted to take it when I got it in my email, but I don’t want to skew the results since it’s not for residents,” Knight said. “It’s too important. We haven’t done a marketing survey in five years.”

That questionnaire focused on the effectiveness of the “Rodney the lifeguard” campaign that launched in 2009. The Tourism Commission argued for a new survey to get a better understanding of who Ocean City’s visitors are, and why they came.

Questions in the survey ask recipients when they last visited the resort, how frequently they visit, where they stay and what do they consider important factors in a vacation.

Some questions allow for multiple answers, such as “which events are you likely to visit?” Others gauge their opinions on whether Ocean City is “family friendly” or if it has an “active nightlife.”

Knight said the Tourism Commission asked MGH to include certain questions, such as where visitors stay and how they research their accommodations.

“We did fine-tune other questions, and we made sure to include one for sports marketing,” she said. “Such as, ‘how often do you travel to the resort for your children’s sporting event?’ We have documentation that the sports marketing is growing, now it’s time to see if we’re on the right track.”

The survey will close on or about Oct. 30, and the Tourism Commission will review the results during its November meeting.

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