Non-Gaming Business Indicators Remain Strong in Atlantic City
Thursday, October 11, 2012 • 10:29am
Atlantic City's non-gaming business indicators remained strong throughout September 2012. The number of conventions, tradeshows and meetings held at the Atlantic City Convention Center in September increased from seven to eight compared to last year; increasing the number of room nights generated from these shows by 56%, the number of delegates by 50% and the amount of delegate spending by 66% to well over $7.5 million. Boardwalk Hall also saw an increase from one to two events, which prompted an increase in attendance by nearly 10,000.
"Our buildings continue to bring in additional events, attendees and tourism dollars," said ACCVA President Jeff Vasser. "As we approach the busy convention season, we anticipate an even larger increase in people coming to town and spreading their valuable dollars to businesses throughout the city."
The positive business indicators in September build on the summer 2012 upward trend in the hotel room occupancy numbers released earlier today that demonstrated strong visitation to the resort properties with an 11% increase over June, July and August of 2011. ACCVA's online visitor guide requests doubled and opt-ins for eNewsletters was up to nearly 700 as compared to 141 in September, 2011. The Atlantic City Facebook page's new "likes" skyrocketed to 40,258, up from 1,283 in September 2011, and total likes to date are well over 250,000.
"Atlantic City's social media marketing tools continue to be a leader in providing information to repeat visitors and new visitors interested in coming to the destination," Vasser added. Of notable interest is the growing increase in merchandise sales at the Atlantic City Visitor Welcome Center. The growing popularity of the DO AC brand campaign has enabled merchandise sales to nearly triple in September 2012 versus September 2011. Unaudited figures from the SJTA report that total scheduled deplanements at the Atlantic City International Airport also were up again in September by over 11% for September 2012 over September 2011, and up nearly 5% year-to-date. Additionally, traffic at the Pleasantville toll plaza of the Atlantic City Expressway is up 2.41% year to date with over 16 million cars moving through that toll plaza when compared with the same period in 2011. Spectrum Gaming Group provides the following additional insight to factors impacting September's business climate:
"On a year-over-year basis, September 2012 offered a much more favorable calendar versus the same month in the prior year, as September this year contained 14 "weekend" days (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays), while September 2011 contained 13 such days - this year there was an additional Saturday and Sunday (attributable in part to 2012 being a leap year), and one less Friday.
"In addition to a more favorable calendar, no extreme weather phenomena impacted Atlantic City during September 2012. Overall, the weather for September was pleasant and comparable to September last year. According to the National Weather Service, there were only four days in September 2012 that had considerable levels of precipitation (a quarter-inch or more), which was same number of days as in September of last year. Significant rainfall occurred over one day impacting one weekend of the month this year; however, significant rainfall occurred over two days impacting two weekends of the month last year.
"The average gas price in the region for September was 7.5 percent higher versus September of last year ($3.94 vs. $3.66 per gallon), which may have negatively impacted drive-in visitation to the city -while gas prices were at their highest point in September, compared to the prior four months (May through August)." The figures quoted above and others are available in the monthly Tourism Barometer, available online at http://www.doatlanticcity.com/about/stats.aspx.