The Wildwoods, NJ – November 13, 2020 – The 2020 summer tourism season has come and gone in the Wildwoods, NJ; and while the challenges of COVID-19 were present, the Wildwoods experienced better than expected results by reinforcing its position as a safe, clean and fun vacation experience for the whole family. The Wildwoods reacted early on in creating strategies to adopt safety and sanitization protocols to ensure visitor safety and mounted an effective communications program to get the messaging out to the general public.
Safe, Clean Family-Friendly PR Campaign
When the mandatory quarantine first began in late March, the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement & Development Authority (GWTIDA) developed a new advertising and public relations campaign for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivering continuous positive awareness messaging to first-time and repeat visitors on vacationing in the Wildwoods remained the top objective by reinforcing the many ways the Wildwoods provide fun, safe and clean family-friendly vacations, all while keeping its visitors safety a top priority.
“We Are Ready When You Are…And We’re Saving You A Seat” Ad Campaign
These concepts were transferred to a new advertising campaign for the 2020 summer tourism season. The Wildwoods’ ‘We Are Ready When You Are…And We’re Saving You A Seat’ campaign slogan was designed to welcome everyone back and to keep the resort destination top-of-mind. The campaign launched in early June, and featured digital marketing ads, social media messaging, blogs and press releases to local, regional, and national publications announcing that the Wildwoods are the perfect choice for vacationers looking to find comfort and relaxation in a safe environment after being cooped up at home.
Island-Wide Sanitizing Protocols Cooperation
In addition to the public relations and advertising campaigns, GWTIDA worked collectively with the island’s three municipalities, the Greater Wildwood Hotel and Motel Association (GWHMA), the Wildwood Business Improvement District (WBID), the Wildwood Special Improvement District (WSID), and the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce, encouraging them to implement initiatives among the destination’s businesses and attractions to enhance the safety of employees and guests as the Wildwoods gradually began to re-open. These initiatives included increased enhanced sanitizing protocols, social distancing procedures and the wearing of protective masks on the Boardwalk, in shops and restaurants, on the amusement piers and, of course, practicing social distancing by stretching out on the Wildwoods’ wide, spacious beaches.
Rescheduling Wildwoods Convention Center Events
A key destination for events, conventions, meetings, and corporate gatherings, nearly all the events scheduled in the Wildwoods and at the Wildwoods Convention Center in 2020 that could not be held due to the mandatory closure of the Convention Center and the limit on crowd size imposed by the state of New Jersey on both indoor and outdoor events were rescheduled for future dates. Close to 100% of the events scheduled for 2020 at the Wildwoods Convention Center have committed to return, albeit at future dates.
“Event planners love our facility and resort destination; understand the value and level of service they receive; and simply would not want their events taking place anywhere else”, said executive director/CFO John Siciliano.
To assure the safety of guests and employees, advanced sanitization protocols as set forth by the highest standards from the CDC will be implemented prior to reponing the Convention Center, including sanitizing stations located in key traffic areas throughout the building. Also, designated employees have been assigned to sanitize the high-traffic areas throughout the building. Before and after all events, the Convention Center’s professional team will deep clean the areas with commercial grade disinfecting materials and sprays and restock all hand sanitized stations. The team will maintain this during all future events to assure guests feel safe and comfortable and will conduct the same level of deep cleaning immediately following the event.
The Wildwoods Convention Center hosts more than 150 events annually, serving as the home to scores of signature events, conventions, meetings, banquets, concerts, weddings, youth sport tournaments and much more.
With the re-opening of the beaches, boardwalk, restaurants, amusements, and shops, families began to venture out to enjoy summer vacations, and the Wildwoods were one of the first to offer the ultimate ‘safecation’ destination to ensure a worry-free getaway. One of the most popular ways to travel in 2020 was via car. The Wildwoods rolled out the red carpet for vacationers with a fabulous new Grand Gateway, an all-new visitor experience designed to greet all visitors and launch them into vacation mode from the moment they arrived. As they made their way over the bridge and onto the island, vacationers were greeted by a new ‘Welcome to the Wildwoods’ Doo Wop style sign in the shape of a surfboard. With its vivid colors and lighting, it is seen day or night, setting the tone for the fun that lies ahead. The new Gateway also features a digital billboard announcing the latest events and information. Visitors also noticed colorful beach ball bollards along the entranceway, leading straight to the world-famous Wildwoods sign.
Beach Therapy Paradise
‘Beach Therapy’ was one of the main terms used by the resort destination over the 2020 season, focusing on a way for visitors to clear their minds, escape the chaos, and enjoy the calming ocean and spacious five-mile stretch of the Wildwoods’ FREE white sand beaches. The island’s wide spacious beaches allowed plenty of room to stretch out. Beach goers have the option of choosing to enjoy a relaxing day in the sun, or a more adventurous day of activities on the water, such as surfing, boogie boarding, fishing, power boating, jet-skiing, sailing, kayaking, and whale watching.
Another term previously coined by the Wildwoods and used to highlight a social-distancing vacation was ‘Bikeability’. Bike riding is a favorite pastime and no town seems to do biking better than the Wildwoods. In 2020, there was no better way to recharge, get physical exercise and enjoy the beautiful salty air – all while keeping a safe distance from fellow visitors – than a leisurely bike ride. From lengthy and scenic bike paths, to bike lanes along popular roads, to biking on the boardwalk, there were lots of options for visitors to get out and enjoy the Wildwoods on two wheels.
The Wildwoods Boardwalk, a ‘must do’ for visitors to experience, also provided ways for families to continue to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the boards in a safe and clean way. Amusement piers, arcades, games, waterparks, shops and outdoor dining were still able to be enjoyed safely – with social distancing, facemask requirements and sanitizing protocols in place. The Wildwoods Sightseer Tram Cars, an iconic part of the Wildwoods Boardwalk experience since 1949, also updated its services to provide a safe leisurely cruise down the boards. The Tram Cars required riders to follow social distance guidelines and employed enhanced sanitizing protocols. Modifications included plexiglass dividers and plastic shields between seating areas; and a sanitizing regimen with quick-drying disinfectant every half-hour. Tram employees also wore masks while interacting with visitors and passengers.
For additional information about the Wildwoods, visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com or call 800-992-9732.