Making the News

Press of Atlantic City

Originally Published:Friday, September 12, 2008

Michael Pollock, managing director of Linwood-based Spectrum Gaming Group that prepared the profile, noted that 100 percent of the shoppers said they would recommend Atlantic City to others.

The visitors "like where Atlantic City is headed," Pollock said. "They also see Atlantic City as safe, and that is a huge, huge attribute."

Atlantic City gets rave reviews, from those who actually visit

By Kevin Post
Press of Atlantic City

 

GRAPHIC: Click on the image above for a larger view


  ATLANTIC CITY - About 80 percent of the people within a three-hour drive of this city do not come here to gamble, dine, shop, meet or see a show. If they did, they might agree with the 20 percent who do come here to play - and really, really like it.

The high approval of visitors and the opportunities to expand their numbers are at the core of the 2008 Atlantic City Visitor Profile Study, released Thursday by the city's convention and tourism authority.

Of 3,000 visitors surveyed in the past year in and around the city, 99 percent said they would recommend Atlantic City to others, 94 percent said they were satisfied with their visit and 92 percent said they were likely to come back.

Jeffrey Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, urged the 150 people at
the Atlantic City Convention Center for the study's release to use its data to develop marketing strategies to expand the customer base.

"We want to make sure we avoid being complacent, particularly at a time when Atlantic City is facing some tough competition," Vasser said.

 

The study showed the strength and location of that competition.

One third of visitors said they regularly gambled elsewhere, and of those, 31 percent named Nevada, 20 percent Pennsylvania, 15 percent Connecticut, and 8 percent each Delaware and New York. And since the survey queried only visitors in Atlantic City, those who have quit coming to go elsewhere were not counted.

The opportunities for market growth in the profile were as clear as the resort's positive ratings.

For the first time, the profile looked at visitor segments beyond the dominant gamblers to those who said their primary purpose for visiting was a vacation, convention, concert or shopping.

Among these groups, a higher percentage of vacationers and shoppers said they planned to visit more often than any other group.

Michael Pollock, managing director of Linwood-based Spectrum Gaming Group that prepared the profile, noted that 100 percent of the shoppers said they would recommend Atlantic City to others.

Yet only 2 percent of visitors identified themselves as shoppers, despite the addition of the thriving outlet stores at The Walk and the opening of upscale shopping at The Pier at Caesars.

Other segments showed room to grow as well, with just 6 percent here for a general vacation, 5 percent for entertainment and 6 percent for a convention. Gambling was the main purpose for 80 percent of visitors.

In addition to more shopping, casino companies the past year have built lavish new hotel towers at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Harrah's Resort and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort that offer attractions and comforts well above the previous norm.

The visitors "like where Atlantic City is headed," Pollock said. "They also see Atlantic City as safe, and that is a huge, huge attribute."

Of all people surveyed, 96 percent said the city was becoming more attractive. And in no visitor segment did that percentage fall below 90 percent.

Spectrum's analysis of the profile data found that the city cannot do much about why visitors would not come back as often - less time or money on their part, or moved farther away.

But factors cited by visitors as why they expect to visit more - more things to do, new shopping attractions and new casino attractions - show what can be done to increase the city's 30 million visits per year.

Previous visitor marketing studies were done in 2004 and 1998.

In the decade since the first study, the time spent gambling by visitors has increased 82 percent, with the biggest increases seen among package users, overnight guests and vacationers. Average spending on gambling increased from $469 to $699.

Vasser said the authority wants to increase the frequency of its visitor studies to at least every other year.

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