Atlantic City was the third most popular destination for Memorial Day Weekend searches on the travel site Kayak.com, according to an article on Huffington Post, based on online searches for hotels in Atlantic City. Those searches apparently translated into actual visitors, as hotels, restaurants, retail and entertainment all experienced an outstanding Memorial Day weekend, according to reports from many local merchants.
The long awaited "official" opening of Revel over the Memorial Day Weekend featured four sold-out performances at the 5,500 seat Ovation Theater for Beyonce'. Attendees included First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, and NJ Governor Chris Christie and his family.
Overall, Atlantic City hotels, restaurants and retail responding to a business inquiry for the Memorial Day Weekend reported upward business trends in visitation to Atlantic City and the surrounding area.
Two casino resort properties, Tropicana Casino and Resort and Resorts Casino Hotel, report cash revenue increases on hotel rooms, 62% and 51% respectively.
At Resorts Casino Hotel, occupancy and room revenue were up significantly, all restaurants experienced an increase in covers, the show “Believe: Divas in a Man’s World” was sold out on Sunday and Monday and close to capacity on Friday and Saturday, and private player events were booked to capacity.
According to Aaron Gomes, executive vice president of operations at Resorts, “Overall this Memorial Day weekend was a success. We saw an increase of visitors across the board, shows were packed, lounges and bars were busier than in past years and the overall atmosphere was filled with energy and excitement for the start of Summer 2012…giving us a good preview of what the summer will hold.”
Those sentiments were echoed in casino resorts, non-casino hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts throughout the area.
At Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal, hotel rooms were sold out all three nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), and comedian Kevin Hart’s two shows at Trump Taj Mahal were sold out as well, with more than 20,000 tickets sold. Trump Taj Mahal reports a 46% increase over last Memorial Day weekend for new player card sign-ups. They also gave out more than 4,000 pieces of salt water taffy for a “Golden Wrapper” promotion in which certain pieces of taffy contained special wrappers worth $25 to $500 bonus slot dollars.
The Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel also was sold out every day of the long weekend, a 7% increase in occupancy compared to 2011. Likewise, Journey’s End Motel was sold out on Saturday and Sunday, and management noticed significantly more traffic on the roads than last year.
Carisbrooke Inn, which added two rooms, was also sold out throughout the weekend, with revenue up 31%. Even more notable, according to owner John Battista, is that revenue to date for 2012 is up 46%, gross profit through the end of April is up 60% and net profit through the end of April is up more than 400%, all pointing to the prospect of an outstanding summer season.
Retail traffic and sales at The Pier at Caesars were the highest officials have seen for the holiday weekend in five years.
Web Feet Boutique and Watersports in Gardner’s Basin also experienced strong traffic on the retail front, with a continuous flow of traffic and a sales increase of about 8% over last year. Owner Dotty Webb notes that several customers commented on the high visibility of visitor ambassadors and police throughout the city and Boardwalk, one of the “safe and clean” initiatives implemented as part of the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan. According to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees the Tourism District, the proactive approach of the Atlantic City Ambassador program -- which increased the number of Ambassadors threefold -- was well received.
Other indications of a strong holiday weekend include a 10% increase in vehicles parked at lots and garages operated by the South Jersey Transportation Authority. Additionally, Lucy the Elephant and Lucy’s Beach Grille exceeded last year’s numbers, with a combined 12% increase in revenue over the Friday through Monday period. “We hope this is a good indication of a successful summer season,” said Rich Helfant, Lucy’s executive director and CEO, mirroring the sentiments that other expressed.
Other restaurants both in Atlantic City and in the surrounding mainland communities also reported significant increases over last year. Increased use of Route 30 to access Revel may have contributed to one local restaurant's 15% jump over last Memorial Day Weekend. Unaudited figures from South Jersey Transportation Authority saw an increase of more than 4% in overall traffic at both the Egg Harbor and Pleasantville tolls.
The momentum is building as more people discover the many events, activities and offerings that Atlantic City has to offer.