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Myrtle Beach on May 3, 2020. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Myrtle Beach's summer occupancy rates surpassed those of the last two summers, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday as it plans to launch two new ad campaigns.

Chamber President Karen Riordan said occupancy rates clocked in at 88% in June, 92% in July and 80% for August.

“Summer 2021 occupancy surpassed the dataset for both 2020 and 2019,” Riordan said. “We know this summer has been very very strong for our businesses and it’s given them an opportunity to make some revenues and make some profits to make up for the terrible losses of 2020.”

High volume is expected to continue into the fall. Occupancy projections for September and October are 13.5% higher than those months in 2019 and 7% than the same time in 2020. Riordan said that the pandemic delayed the 2020 vacation season, resulting in higher occupancy in the late summer and early fall.

The chamber is currently rolling out two ad campaigns to keep occupancy high.

One, called “Welcome to summore,” plays on the city’s ongoing beach weather.

“We’ve tried to do things to get people to realize how wonderful the weather is here in September and October and how there’s more summer here," Riordan said.

Another is for the new Winter Wonderland in Myrtle Beach. The festival, which spans Nov. 26-Jan. 2, will include a light show and ice-skating rink in downtown Myrtle Beach.

The chamber is investing over $2.7 million in advertising, with 72% going toward digital advertising.

“Just shy of $2M of this went to all the various digital marketing that we do,” Riordan said. “We have really moved this way in the last couple of years, but we’re still doing television, we’re still doing radio, and print and magazine.”

Riordan added that “digital has become very, very effective because we can really kind of target the visitors and potential visitors that we’d like to come here.”

One of the chamber's real-life advertising campaigns has placed advertisements in markets outside South Carolina displaying the distance to Myrtle Beach.

“We’re deliberately doing these around a lot of our new airports tied to our new service with Southwest [Airlines],” Riordan said. “So if somebody’s in Chicago, they can see how many miles it is to fly to Myrtle Beach.”

The chamber has also erected billboards at least 50 miles outside the city marketing conventions and concerts.

You can reach Jonathan Haynes securely over Signal at 910-679-6902, send him encrypted files through Keybase at https://keybase.io/jonathanhaynes, or contact him via email at jonathan.haynes@myhorrynews.com. You can find him on twitter at @jphjournalist.

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