(Sept. 4, 2020) Covid-19 has canceled many things this year —spring, special events, and now learning at school for many. Rather than being burdened at home under these circumstances, Ocean City’s Tourism Department is encouraging families to come back to the resort to work and learn from home at the beach.
“As a mom and as a full-time professional, the news of schools starting virtually was extremely sad, although I understand the health concerns,” said Jessica Waters, Ocean City’s acting tourism director and communications manager.
From children not seeing their friends again, to parents juggling work and childcare, families are set for a difficult year, but Waters said she wanted to look for opportunities within the challenges.
“We tried to look at ways we could bring some good news to parents and one of things that we came up with was the fact that [with] virtual learning … you can do it from anywhere and the beach is as soothing as it gets,” Waters said.
Earlier this summer, the Ocean City Tourism Commission contemplated a large-scale marketing effort for the fall, but chose not to pursue it in early August in order to save funds for next spring.
This advertising effort is not the same as the aforementioned fall campaign and is much smaller in scale.
“Although we decided not to do a large advertising campaign, we always continue our social media and digital campaigns,” Waters said. “We never go dark, if you will, in terms of our advertising. This is just promotion.”
Funding for this marketing effort is drawn from special event advertising that typically occurs this time of the year.
Waters said she employed the help of family and friends to do a photo shoot and filmed their kids enjoying Ocean City offerings — walks on the Boardwalk, drawing in the sand at Sunset Park near the inlet, perusing the exhibits in the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum on the Boardwalk and enjoying the view of the water from hotel balconies.
“We really tried to give visitors an idea of how they could enjoy either working or learning at the beach,” Waters said.
Fall would also be a great alternative for those less keen on hot summer days and busy peak season crowds, she said.
“September is my favorite time of the year,” Waters said. “It’s still warm, there’s plenty of beach days to be had, the water is beautiful, so it really provides a perfect opportunity for families to make the best of a difficult situation.”
Waters also highlighted lower lodging rates and fall specials at the hundreds of restaurants in Ocean City.
“Fall is such an amazing time in Ocean City and the beach provides a great place to study and read a book,” said Susan Jones, Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association executive director. “Plenty of options for history and science can be found in the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, the art scene has exploded at the Center for the Arts on 94th Street and there’s lots of options for gym class, from running on the Assateague trails to biking on the Boardwalk.”
Jones said some hotels were devising work-and-learn room packages, although she did not have an exact number.
Best Western Plus on 60th Street, for example, is offering a Work & Learn deal in which guests buy one room at full price and get a second room to use as an office or classroom.
“We’ve tried to make the best out of a difficult situation,” Waters said. “We know … this is certainly challenging for families, so if you can sneak in a vacation while you’re doing online learning, at least that gives families something