In what will be the first full–scale national travel agent event at the magnificent new Revel resort in Atlantic City, the Home Based Travel Agent Forum is scheduled at this high-profile property for Oct. 22-24. Jeff Vasser, the president and COO of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (CVA), predicted that this $2.4 billion property will enhance this community's lifestyle appeal, introduce a new tone of excellence, and immediately lure travel agents and their clients to this renowned destination.
Vasser said that Revel has already begun to open on a floor-by-floor basis and that the formal inauguration is set for Memorial Day weekend, with three concert dates by pop star icon Beyonce, who will be followed during the summer by Sugarland, Maroon 5, and Seal. Sitting handsomely alongside Atlantic City's famous oceanside boardwalk, Revel will add 1,900 rooms to the growing inventory, and there's room for an additional tower as demand dictates. Revel will also feature 14 restaurants and 10 bars and lounges, a state-of-the-art spa, and a superb indoor-outdoor swimming pool, as well as "just great design and architecture," said Vasser.
Travel agents who wish to sign up now to guarantee a timely introduction to Revel may do so with the exclusive OSSN early bird rate of $50 by using code 1099, effective until July 16, by logging onto www.ACTravelShow.com, which will also enable them to register for the special $119 room rate. (The $119 room rate is for a limited inventory, so make sure to act quickly).
Getting back to Revel, Jeff Vasser said that the sizable financial commitment it represents is clearly indicative of Atlantic City's determination to "continue to invest in itself," despite the Great Recession which has marred economic prospects across the board. Beyond Revel, he cited the new towers, among others, at the Tropicana, The Taj Mahal, The Showboat, and The Waterclub at the Borgata, as well as the rebranding of the Golden Nugget, which he described as an "old, tired casino, now converted into a beautiful new resort." Incidentally, Revel is Atlantic City's first new property since the Borgata opened its doors in 2003. Meanwhile, a Hard Rock project is on the drawing board, with construction set to begin soon, according to Vasser, and property rights already finalized.
In expanding on Atlantic City's lifestyle objectives, Vasser also spoke about family activities, with a special focus on what attracts youngsters. He said the famous Steel Pier amusement park is currently investing one hundred million dollars to make it a year-round attraction by improving and enclosing it. Until now, its basic appeal has been during the warm-weather months.
In 2011 alone, Vasser pointed out, 16 new restaurants welcomed diners to Atlantic City, a sure sign that investment capital is available to non-gaming businesses. Speaking of restaurants, Revel's line-up of 14 eateries is indeed impressive, said Vasser, catering to a wide range of culinary specialties and price choices. Typical at the high end of the scale, you'll find this trio: Azure by Allegretti, Amada, and American Cut. The middle includes O Bistro, Central Michel Richard, and Muscle Bar. Distrito Cantina, a quick-service modern Mexican eatery, is at the low end of the price range.
Until recently, the lengths of stay by the day-trippers who invaded Atlantic City by the millions were counted by the hours, explained Vasser, who added that one of the problems was that only some 10,000 rooms were available. This number is now approaching 20,000, Vasser said, and the average length of stay is measured between two and three days. "People are staying longer because of more things to do," he noted, citing great retail shopping, dining and entertainment, golf, dolphin-watching, sunset cruises and deep sea fishing excursions.
Since most Atlantic City visitors still arrive by car and others by motor coach, Vasser discussed air service, which is currently provided by Spirit Air from Boston, Chicago, and five Florida locations. "The airport is a fantastic facility," he said, "with new gates, new immigration and baggage areas, which is all part of the Invest in Atlantic City Campaign." He said that Atlantic City is also accessible by rail, with Amtrak service into Philadelphia via a convenient connection by way of New Jersey Transit.
Vasser also alluded to a new advertising campaign, which will gather strength during the next three months, titled "Do AC, or Do Atlantic City." He said this approach was designed to remind our primary customers that Atlantic City is a "spur of the moment destination," which is close by and easy to reach.
"All of these things that are just mentioned, particularly the addition of Revel, will have a great impact on Atlantic City," noted Vasser. "People who haven't been in a while will want to see Revel, and there's a positive impact for all the properties, since most of our guests drop in on an average of two to three casino hotels."
Vasser concluded, "We need to give people compelling reasons besides slot machines to visit our city."
On another front, suppliers who wish to purchase booths at the Home Based Forum, are invited to do so by contacting Jill Sala at 617.398.6308 or by email at Jill@TravelSMG.com. She is also available to discuss a wide variety of sponsorship options.