Myrtle Beach tourism aims to cash in on holiday shopping with online travel deals

dbryant@thesunnews.comNovember 25, 2013 

Photo by Steve Jessmore sjessmore@thesunnews.com

STEVE JESSMORE — The Sun News Buy Photo

Malls have Black Friday. Online retailers have Cyber Monday. Now Myrtle Beach tourism has “Travel Saturday.”

Wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, “Travel Saturday” aims to tempt travelers with 24 hours of online deals for Grand Strand lodging and tickets to area attractions and give local tourism businesses a piece of that holiday shopping pie.

“Travel Saturday is Myrtle Beach’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and puts the spotlight on the many wonderful businesses we have here along the Grand Strand,” said Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which is organizing the promotion. “During this holiday season, as well as those down the road, why not give the gift of Myrtle Beach?”

The travel deals, many of which can be cashed in now or into next year, go on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday at www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/travelsaturday and last only 24 hours. The detailed list of deals won’t be released until the sale starts, but will include lodging deals at roughly 25 local hotels and discounted tickets to a handful of attractions, including area live theaters and the SkyWheel.

Buyers should be sure to read the fine print, with each lodging deal varying by property. Some of the deals are good through 2014, others just until April or June, and several properties won’t allow the discounts to be cashed in on busy weekends such as July Fourth or spring break in March.

Dean said the Travel Saturday idea is an offshoot of the national “Small Business Saturday” effort, which launched in 2010 urging shoppers to support small businesses. This is the first year for Travel Saturday, so it’s untested whether shoppers will add “booking travel” to their holiday shopping list.

“The ultimate goal is to encourage people to give family or friends an opportunity to travel to the Myrtle Beach area in 2014,” chamber spokesman Brad Dickerson said in an email. “This is a great way to give that gift of travel during the holiday season.”

The Thanksgiving holiday is typically a busier off-season weekend for the Grand Strand, with many families having their gatherings here or coming here to shop or catch holiday shows at the live theaters.

“Many visitors make the Grand Strand part of their holiday travel plans and some local hotels have consistently marketed travel packages for that weekend already,” Dean said in an email. “We’re aiming to amplify those local promotions by enhancing our holiday travel campaign with a Travel Saturday message.

“Since this promotion falls within our current marketing strategy for the holiday season, the outlay is minimal but the publicity we garner may prompt consumers who would typically stay at home to consider visiting our area for a last-minute getaway and start their holiday shopping at the beach.”

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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