What keeps some people from visiting Atlantic City? New surveys reveal top threats
Results from a few surveys produced by the business school at Stockton University suggest that Atlantic City needs a branding makeover in order to attract more people, particularly younger individuals, to the resort.
A strong majority of respondents (82%) said they were satisfied with their most recent visit to Atlantic City, but nearly three quarters of stakeholders suggest the city's marketing resources are insufficient.
"This says to me, we have a good product here; we just need to let more people know about it," said Sarah Grady, assistant director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton.
More than half of the stakeholders "strongly agree" that Atlantic City needs a reimagined brand image. They credit the city's casinos, beach, and boardwalk, as well as entertainment and dining offerings, as important strengths. But potential visitors may be hesitant, they claim, due to weaknesses such as the city's reputation, limited public transportation options, quality-of-life issues, and the condition of the city with regard to infrastructure.
"As gaming expands nationally, as we face more and more competition from neighboring jurisdictions, there's even more of an impetus to figure out how to make this work," Grady said.
The three surveys gathered responses from different groups: general Atlantic City visitors, individuals who attended the city's Restaurant Week in October, and industry and community leaders.
Survey results suggest that Baby Boomers, in the 56-75 age range, have a clear understanding of Atlantic City and its offerings, and visit frequently, according to Grady. But younger individuals are typically making a trip for specific events or activities, and their travel decisions are more likely to be based on recommendations from peers/social media.
"We have the opportunity to shape how younger visitors consume Atlantic City, and we also have that base of people who believe in the Atlantic City brand," Grady said. "I think it's a plus on both ends."
The lifestyle tourism survey found that groups traveling with children are rare for Atlantic City. Individuals traveling with a spouse or significant other are the most common type of traveler.