Please be aware that we must discontinue our use of Ungerboeck at the TOWNE BANK BUILDING by the close of business on 10/10/17.

Our EBMS data will be delivered to Simpleivew by 9am EST on 10/11/17.

This will give them ample time to complete the final data import prior to our on-site training scheduled to take place during the week of 10/16/17.

I’m counting on you to spread the word.

MarComm Trip to Ocean City

The MarComm team recently went to Ocean City for a product gap analysis. Here are some of the findings and some photos from the trip!

(Click link for photos)




  • Cheesy, big-box retailers/ chain restaurants; Middle- America
  • Nasty water, rickety boardwalk; Long Island-ish dirty beach; Crowded/ cramped; Bike Week= not always “family friendly”; “Fall back vacation destination”
  • Culture? Vibe?! No real sense of place; No signature cuisine or cultural scene
  • Carnival/ tacky; Pretzel stands, Putt-putt golf
  • Jersey Shore-ish
  • Not a year-round destination


  • Culinary & Craft Beer
    • Local craft beer scene— 4 Legitimate local craft breweries, including a trendy looking brewery in Berlin “historic district”
    • Abundance of outdoor seating at restaurants and bars (including rooftop bars, elevated dining patios, etc.)
  • Activities/ Entertainment/ Nightlife/ Programming
    • Casinos: Ocean Downs Casino
    • Biker-friendly: bike week happening at OC this weekend
    • OC beach dance parties on Tuesdays summer peak summer season
    • 100 nights of lights- during summer season boardwalk lights with free ice cream
    • Motorized scooter rentals
    • Events/ Programming appears to end after Labor Day, essentially just a summer destination
      • For Virginia Beach, strong fall programming will be a way to distinguish our destination from OC as a true year-round destination; i.e. extend fireworks, movies on the beach in Oct/ Nov. etc.
    • Outdoors:
      • At “ocean city expressway” entrance/ exit there’s a small park with boat launch
      • Tennis center right at entrance/ arrival into OC oceanfront
      • Chartered fishing is easily accessible and abundant; Several boat tours departed from Marina area
      • Not very bike-friendly (no visible bicycle lanes, roadways are traffic-heavy)
    • Universities/ colleges
      • No major colleges/ universities located within OC boundaries to provide young energy/ “creative capital”
    • Shopping
      • Outlet stores near Ocean City
      • 16 Sunstation stores in OC; Boardwalk area is lined with repetitive touristy type shops (t-shirts, beach towels, souvenirs, etc.)
      • Boutiques—some boutique shops, but primarily located off of boardwalk area, closer to the bay side of OC
    • Convention Center/ M&C
      • Convention Center location–Waterfront/ Bayfront location, two streets back from the oceanfront
        • Directly adjoined to the performing arts center
        • No headquarter hotel, but within a block or two of larger hotels; Walkable to lodging and dining
      • Visitor Information Center
        • Combined with the regional Chamber of Commerce office, including a small onsite “conference”/ meeting space; very traditional setup


  • Travel/ Commute:
    • Ease of travel; Hassle-free trip/ drive (heading north via Eastern Shore/ CBBT)…until you hit road work and come to a standstill on back country roads.
    • Roadway—currently widening main highway into Ocean City
    • Location:
      • DC: 112 miles (3 Hours)
      • Baltimore: 103 miles (3 Hours)
      • Annapolis: 120 miles(2.5 Hours)
      • Philadelphia: 152 miles (approx. 3 Hours)
    • Sense of Arrival/ Placemaking:
      • Feels like OBX (road into ocean city) -charming; lush, tree-lined streets; lots of quaint beach cottages intermixed with shops and hotels “the north end and Atlantic Ave.
      • Inlet district= Downtown Ocean City; historic “Main Street” community with original looking beach cottages, fair/ carnival park, etc.; District area includes a dedicated bike/ bus lane at oceanfront
      • Tree-lined streets, well maintained building facades
        • For VB, consider increasing tree coverage along streets, wrap them in lights; Perhaps string bistro lights across Atlantic ave. (i.e. Larimer street in Denver)
      • Beach/ Oceanfront
        • Boardwalk area: less hotels, more of an entertainment district; open air permanent stage set up; lots of access to public restrooms/ easy to find….. experience feels redundant after a couple of blocks (i.e. Candy kitchen, thrashers fries, fractured prune donuts, etc.); not a lot of bars/ sit down restaurants on boardwalk itself (they’re off of the beach, closer to Bay Area)
        • Further north of boardwalk Beach— Long Beach but very narrow and half of the beach is blocked off by protected sand dune area; Feels cramped/ crowded
        • Traffic-flow—  OC employs one way traffic patterns, 1-15th street
      • Advocacy/ Community Support:
        • Community seems to embrace and support tourism and happenings/ events/ groups (i.e. Hotels, restaurants, shops had welcome messages to the biker groups for bike week)
        • There doesn’t seem to be a substantial year-round population or much industry outside of tourism so business owners and community appears to rely tourism


  • Young family from Lancaster, PA— typically they visit Bethany Beach (less crowded, more kid-friendly than OC, you can drive on the beach, etc.)
  • Adults there for Bike Week- VB more family friendly, bars in OC removed from hotels
  • Boardwalk business owner—indicated that the OC businesses were struggling this summer; the days you would think would be booming (i.e. July 4th, Memorial Day, etc.) turned out to be quite slow, and then they’d see random spikes in traffic and visitation
  • Wait Staff from lunch – doesn’t even live there, comes in from Baltimore, says strip shuts down in October


Fall 2017 Tourism Industry Trends

Below are a few industry trends the CVB has taken note of over the past month. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to CVB marketing strategist Kelsey Blevins at

Marketing, Advertising & Tech Trends

  • Six-Second Spot – The buzz around “snackable” and short-form video content is in full force with industry players predicting that six-second ads will gain real traction in 2018.
  • Google I/O 2017 – Google announces big developments and better ways to leverage their products during the keynote, including virtual reality headsets, Google Home becoming a phone and Google Lens for Google Assistant.
  • Travel Photo Sharing – Olapic analyzed social travel images to determine what motivates people to share travel content only. 38% are motivated by discovery – travelers want to share experiences they believe are unique and “off the beaten track.”

 Travel Industry Trends

  • Premium Airbnb Service – Airbnb launching premium service to compete directly with luxury travel hotels in an effort to attract more affluent travelers looking for a unique, but equally expensive, alternative to traditional lodging.

 Culinary Trends

  • Pop-Up and Themed Bars – A Stranger Things-themed pop-up bar opened in Chicago, a Game of Thrones-themed bar opened in Washington DC, and an Oscar Wilde-themed pub opened in New York City.
  • Food Halls – Close to a dozen cities in the U.S. have a food hall or will have one by the end of 2017. Food halls allow visitors to taste the local cuisine in less time and for less money.
  • Desserts on the Rise – Edible cookie dough shops are popping up; ice cream is being infused with alcohol, frozen with liquid nitrogen or rolled; and even dessert museums (Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles) and festivals (Dessert Goals in New York City and Los Angeles) are taking shape.
  • Dog Cafe – Manhattan’s first dog café and boutique, Boris & Horton, is set to open in December.

 Lodging Trends

  • Treehouses – Are tree houses the new glamping trend? Treehouse offerings are popping up all over with resort, Airbnb and restaurant options.
  • Art Installation Campsite – UrbanCampsite Amsterdam, a traveling campsite where camping and art meet, offers fully-furnished art installations for the month of August.
  • Grain Silo to Museum – In Cape Town, South Africa, a 90-year-old grain silo is being transformed into a luxury hotel and museum.
  • Netflix-Themed Pop-up Hotel – The Bed ‘N’ Binge Retreat in London is dedicated entirely to binge-watching TV shows – hang out inside a Stranger Things-themed room while watching the series.

Arts & Culture Trends

  • Immersive Festivals and Exhibitions – OPUS 1 in Columbia, Maryland blends music, art, food, and technology through immersive “activation areas” that encourage interaction with festival’s installations.
  • Hipsters in Stone – Artist Leo Caillard outfits marbled Greek statues with the latest fashion trends.
  • Bridge Light Show – Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge lights up to the “pulse” of the city every night. Every show is unique and based on data from weather stations, press reports, social media feeds, cameras and radars.
  • Art H – Duperré basketball court in Paris was already an eye-catching sight when it was painted years ago, and it was recently updated in shades of blue, pink, purple, orange and yellow.

Agritourism Trends

  • Animal Workouts – Take a yoga class with goats as your fellow workout buddies or alongside chickens.
  • Farm Museums – Travel back in time to discover the history, and then step outside to experience the farm in the present.

 Retail Trends

  • Experiential Stores – Timberland’s Tree Lab reinvents store every six weeks with new concept and theme, emphasizing storytelling and features curated product collections in a gallery-style setting.
  • Sweet Spas – The MeltSpa by Hersey opened in Hersey, PA, offering treatments such as a dark chocolate sugar scrub and body wrap, cocoa massages and facial, and more.

2018 Shamrock Full & Half Marathon Course Change Highlights

  • J &A Racing requested and received an approved City of Virginia Beach Special Events Permit and will be unveiling a new race course for the 2018 Shamrock Marathon. The Shamrock Half Marathon and Full Marathon will be held on Sunday, March 18, 2018.
  • Course Change Highlights:
    • Half Marathon and Full Marathon runners will begin the race at the same time, utilizing the same start line and course. Both races will begin at 7:30 am.
    • The Shamrock Marathon course footprint will not change. No road closures will change, just the times of the road closures.
    • Half Marathon course will not change.
    • Full Marathon will change. Runners will begin at 41st Street start line and will proceed north through the North End/Oceanfront and Fort Story area for the first portion of the run. In the second portion of the run, they will head south on General Booth Blvd. and into Camp Pendleton.
      • First runners will get to Croatan neighborhood at 8:50 am.
      • After 8:50 am, cars will have police officer controlled access to S. General Booth Blvd.
      • Due to the race distance, individual runners will be more spread out than in previous years and will allow greater access in and out of the neighborhood.
    • Course Change Benefits:
      • Reduction in public/safety police manpower and subsequent costs.
      • Reduction in overall road closure by approximately one hour.
      • Reduction of impact on Atlantic Avenue and North End area.
    • Atlantic Avenue will remain open from 6th Street to 22nd Street from 7:45 am – 12:00 noon.
  • J&A Racing will have the ability to add a 4-person relay event giving additional runners the opportunity to participate.

    Shamrock Map

Marketing, Advertising, Tech & Travel Trends

Today’s experience-driven society shows that modern travelers are looking to one another for inspiration and affirmation: “Infographic: These Are the Images Travelers Share Most on Social Media

The Rise of “snackable” TV advertising spots: “Why Brands and Agencies Are Preparing for the Era of 6-Second Ads

Big developments from Google and ways to better leverage their products including: Google Assistant, Android O, Virtual Reality, and much more: “The 10 Biggest Announcements from Google I/O 2017”

 Airbnb launching premium service to compete directly with luxury travel hotels in an effort to attract more affluent travelers looking for a unique, but equally expensive, alternative to traditional lodging.





Maser Mural: Time Lapse Video

It’s not every day a world-class artist comes to town to leave his colorful mark behind. Check out this cool and upbeat time lapse video captured by our very own and very talented Will Smith:

On the Water: Waves for All

CVB Videographer Will Smith captured a glimpse of a unique theraputic surf program sponsored by our friends at Parks & Rec. Offered twice a year, this program is open to any child diagnosed with a disability; recreation center membership is not required nor is Virginia Beach residency. Visitors are welcome to participate.

Kudos to P&R for a terrific program and congrats to Will for this amazing video. Click below to check it out: