By Maddy Vitale
Sea Isle City Tourism Commission member Bill Kehner, who is also a city councilman, outlined a plan Thursday he believes could attract more visitors to the resort during the quieter mid-week time in the summer season.
“I throw the ideas out there to promote Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,” Kehner told the commission members during their board meeting.
In his proposal, he asked for fewer billboard ads and more direction toward mid-week promotions.
Kehner believes that incentivizing visitors to shop in Sea Isle with bonuses, giveaways and discounts could increase spending.
Commission member Lisa Iannone noted that it is tough to offer discounts, considering businesses rely on a precious six weeks in the summer season for most of their profits.
She said promotional gift cards through the Sea Isle Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization, which focused on mid-week purchases, failed.
Iannone added that not one customer came into her business, the Sands Department Store, with a gift card during mid-week and that the bulk of business continues to be on the weekends.
Here is a new Sea Isle City commercial for the summer.
Commission members echoed her sentiments that the weekends are the busiest times for businesses in the city and mid-week has traditionally been the slowest time of the summer.
“Perhaps the business community needs to get creative,” said Sea Isle Public Information Officer and Director of Community Services Katherine Custer.
Custer added that maybe there could be lunch discounts. Wednesday is a free beach day. If the two are combined, it could entice visitors to opt for a mid-week trip to Sea Isle, she said.
James Bennett, chairman of the commission, said Kehner’s proposal was a good one that could be discussed in more detail in the future.
In other matters, Mickey Coskey, owner of Seven Mile Publishing, the marketing consultant for the commission, gave an update on the new marketing campaign for 2019, called “Reconnect in Sea Isle!”
The nearly $100,000 marketing strategy is designed to attract visitors through use of social media platforms and more traditional forms of advertising such as billboards, guides and print media. Key parts of Sea Isle’s tourism strategy will also include a Facebook campaign and YouTube videos.
So far, Coskey said, the numbers on the website are showing it is doing very well.
She said a snapshot of the website www.visitsicnj.com, which was redesigned for this year, shows people are definitely taking a look at what Sea Isle has to offer its visitors.
From March 1 to April 30, the session views were up by 21 percent from the same time last year.
“It is doing well. Our sessions are up. So far, so good. As always, we look at industry trends,” Coskey pointed out.
The enhanced website gives the users easily available information from photos and information about events, to a calendar of activities.
Custer added that Diane Merson, the city’s tourism representative, has done a fantastic job keeping the calendar up-to-date with all of the events.
In addition, there are 30-second commercials that highlight the beaches and Promenade, entertainment, shopping and eateries, and sports. There is also a new 15-second commercial on 6abc.com.
“The idea is to get a quick video and get clicks and greater exposure,” Coskey said of the new 15-second video.
Bennett said the marketing plan looks great.
Coskey added, “We have to constantly change, like everyone else.”