OC Hotel Week kicks off Sunday, continues through Aug. 29

(Aug. 16, 2013) Each year in the late weeks of August, families gear up for the new school year, the summer season slows and the number of visitors in Ocean City drops.

To catch the last of the summer rush, the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association will host its fourth annual Hotel Week, Aug. 18-29, offering discounts and free night stays for visitors.

“Restaurant week was successful so we thought ‘Why not apply the same model to hotels?’” Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones said. “It’s been very successful.”

Thirty-three businesses will participate in Hotel Week this year, the most since the special offer launched in 2010, Jones said. They will offer “beach bargains” of 15-25 percent off standard rates or an extra night free for those who stay from three to six nights. Some restrictions apply.

Ocean City had trouble attracting visitors earlier this summer due to inclement weather, but “things have picked up,” Jones said.

The demoflush figures, which use wastewater flows to estimate the city’s population, back that claim. Ocean City averaged just over 238,000 people in town in June, down 8.3 percent from 2012. In the first two weeks of August, the city averaged 311,000 people in town, up 1 percent from the same period last year.

As the town prepares for tourist numbers to again drop off, Hotel Week “does seem to help,” Jones said.

The Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, with the help of the city, has marketed Hotel Week and targeted areas that largely return to school after Labor Day. That includes Bucks and Berks counties in Pennsylvania and some spots in New York, Jones said.

A schedule of free events should also draw visitors to town, she said. They are:

•Sundays at 7 p.m., visit Northside Park at 127th Street for Sundaes in the Park with free entertainment and cheap ice cream sundaes.

•Starting at 9:30 p.m. Sundays, catch the new OC Beachlights laser show, cast on a five-story beach ball at North Division Street.

•Tuesdays at 10 p.m., watch the fireworks display at North Division Street.

•Wednesdays at dusk, catch free movies on the beach at the Carousel Resort Hotel on 118th Street.

•Thursdays at dusk, catch free movies on the beach at the Princess Royale Family Resort and Condominiums at 91st Street.

•Thursdays starting at 7 p.m., visit Sunset Park’s Sunset Party with live entertainment and drinks. Bring a beach chair.

•The Lifesaving Station Museum holds free programs daily, except on Sundays, beginning at 10 a.m.  A list can be found at www.ocmuseum.org by clicking the Calendar of Events.

Visit www.oceancityhotelweek.com for a list of participating businesses and their special offers.

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