The key to success in business is to identify a demand, and fill that demand. One of the most common pitfalls that we fall into is that of wishful thinking. We start believing in an ideal that can be realized with “just more effort”, “just more money”, or “just more time.” It takes a pragmatist to unemotionally look at a market, determine its demands, and supply what is demanded.
In the case of Atlantic City, the area yearns for a return to its halcyon days as a family resort in the 1940s. That yearning began a half century ago, yet the last 50 years of public discourse over how to turn AC into a family destination hasn’t produced any sort of tangible results. It’s time to change the conversation. Frankly, the supply of family-friendly shore destinations is abundant: Ocean City, Sea Isle, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Cape May, Ventnor, Margate, LBI all fill this role. However, if one wishes to find a resort that caters solely to adults, the list is short: Atlantic City.
There are adults that wish to vacation and not be around children. The Caribbean is full of successful resorts that do not allow kids at all, occupying a multibillion dollar niche in the tourism industry. At the same time, there is no beach resort in our region that actively embraces its identity as a resort for adults. The closest thing is Atlantic City, but we have been resisting it for 50 years. It is time to recognize the opportunity that AC has: we can corner the market of adult resorts in our region.
- More concerts. Atlantic City is not a regular stop for national tours like Camden and Philly are. That needs to change. There is much room for expansion in the amount of concerts that cater to young professionals in Atlantic City. A Firefly, Coachella-style festival in early May or late October could generates millions for the resort.
- Open containers permitted on the beach and boardwalk. Responsible adults that want to have a cold beer on the beach in July will have one option: Atlantic City.
- Food service on the beach. If properly executed, we could have an app like Grubhub that allows for people to order and pay for food with their smartphones without having to leave the beach. Such an app could be a boon for local businesses, and could be an invaluable advertising tool for them as as well.
- Reasonably priced beach chair rentals like one finds in the Mediterranean. One should be able to show up in a bathing suit, valet the car, and have a chair, umbrella, food, drinks, towels and a server waiting on the beach. It beats lugging a cooler and four beach chairs three blocks.
- Beach parties like HQ Beach Club on the actual beach. The Miami Winter Music Conference attracts thousands from all over the world; there is nothing like it anywhere on the East Coast at any other time of year. Atlantic City could be an Ibiza on the East Coast.
In business, one must be pragmatic and make decisions based on the market. The market for family destinations in our area is saturated. The market for adult destinations is virtually untapped. The perception is that AC is a place for bachelor parties, drinking, gambling, nightclubs, concerts, and adult fun. It’s time that we embrace that identity.