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Southern DE Tourism launches $20,000 Welcome Back campaign

Katie Tabeling

GEORGETOWN ⁠— Southern Delaware Tourism is gearing up for a new marketing message, asking visitors to rediscover what the Delaware beaches have to offer.

In Phase 2, Gov. John Carney hopes to balance health concerns and the highly seasonal tourism industry with lifting the ban on short-term rentals and giving restaurants more seating capacity inside and out. But that all depends on visitors feeling comfortable making the trip.

“Welcoming people back to Delaware and encouraging them to come back is also a big part of it,” Carney said at a press conference earlier this month. “We think we have the best beaches and the best restaurants at the beaches, and we need to do some marketing.”

In the upcoming days, Southern Delaware Tourism Executive Director Scott Thomas said a new “Welcome Back” marketing campaign will run across social media platforms via ad banners, stills and future videos. In total, the campaign cost $20,000 and required some reshoots to weave into existing materials. 

Reimagining marketing, Southern Delaware Tourism is moving forward with a campaign that asks visitors within a 2-and-a-half-hour drive to rediscover what they love about Delaware this summer. | Photo c/o VisitSouthernDelaware.com

“There’s a lot of thought out there about how to travel safely in the foreseeable future, and we’re ready to relay that message, reinforcing welcoming people back,” Thomas said. “This is really about promoting the county at large with outdoor adventure, wildlife, our culinary coast and more.”

In a typical year, Southern Delaware Tourism would start advertising in January through the end of summer. But most of the effort would ramp up in the spring and fall months, coinciding with efforts to expand the high tourism months.

But since COVID-19 upended those plans, this will be the first time in recent history Southern Delaware Tourism launches a marketing campaign in June. The new ads should run for at least 90 days.

After reallocating some grant funding and other monies, Thomas said this campaign will also target more on the Philadelphia and D.C. metro region within a two-hour radius.

In previous years, Delaware extended its marketing reach to New York and Connecticut. The expectation is that visitors this year are more likely to come somewhere familiar and local rather than make a 5 to 6-hour car drive.

Looking at regional competition at the Jersey Shore or in Maryland, Thomas said that Delaware’s location and how the business community was taking precautions against coronavirus gives it an advantage.

“Rehoboth Beach is known in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and we’re really showcasing our business and how serious we are about this,” he said. “Whether it’s summer safely or welcome back, we’re ready to meet people.”

By Katie Tabeling


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