Special to the Star and Wave
There are many stereotypical generalizations made about every generation, especially millennials. One such suggestion is that millennials are historically ignorant.
The Huffington Post stated millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history. The millennial women who work at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) are anything but ignorant about history.
Millennials travel with an “Instagrammable” destination in mind. Instagramability is the concept that a trip will be in a photogenic location, with photogenic activities that millennials can post on their social media channels, specifically Instagram.
“Millennials don’t want to take away any of the real history in a place,” MAC Marketing Assistant Leslie Weidel said. “When millennials go somewhere, we want to be immersed in culture and history, but things need to be updated.”
Bed-and-breakfast inns are a unique experience which may attract millennials. More B&Bs are becoming listed on Airbnb, a vacation rental website. Millennials opt for Airbnb because the prices are comparative to a hotel.
“MAC works with the B&B community and other historic homes,” Director of External Affairs Eliza Lotozo said. “We hope they remain relevant. The problem for Cape May is that if we are going to keep progressing and appealing to new demographics, we have to make it accessible for our age group to live here.”
Cape May attracts a lot of family and baby boomers, and millennials are visiting more and more for special occasions.
“People I talk to think B&Bs when they think Cape May,” Weidel said. “Being my age now they are going on honeymoons and contact me about Airbnbs to find something sweet and comfortable.”
Marketing to millennials is all about the presentation.
“Cape May has beautiful sunsets, Victorian homes and the Instagramability is already there,” Lotozo said. “It’s a selling point that you use as your marketing, to remind people about the beauty of Cape May and all there is the capture. It’s not changing what we have but how we present it.”
MAC is on Instagram to tell visitors who they are, why they do what they do and why it is important to Cape May.
“Social media is something that we have been leveraging more and more by using it for our events,” Lotozo said. “It gets to people not just outside of town but reaches people who are already here. It has increased awareness and engagement.”
Instagram Insights allows MAC to track who they are reaching and see who their customers are.
“Working for MAC is doing something important,” Weidel said. “I am so happy to be part of an organization that is important to the town. I really feel like I’m doing something that is great and appreciated.”
Weidel works on MAC’s social media to help market and promote the organization’s hard work.
“It has been able to bring us a little closer to our customers to create more conversations around our events and offerings,” Lotozo said. “We want to tell why MAC is important to Cape May.”
MAC was founded as a nonprofit in 1970 by a group of people in town, interested in preservation.
“When MAC was formed 48 years ago, it was formed by people in their twenties,” Lotozo said. “It started as a grassroots community movement by a group of B&B owners in their mid to late twenties who were renovating these buildings.”
The group originally gathered together to save the Emlen Physick Estate on Washington Street.
“It’s something relatable, this group of people was our age and had a town that they loved and wanted to save something,” Weidel said. “So they took up arms to do so. Nothing in my lifetime here has been threatened enough to galvanize a group together. It’s a nice reminder it can be done.”
MAC’s most popular activities include their variety of trolley rides around the historic district and the lighthouse climb.
“Visitors and local kids probably had first experiences with MAC when they were young,” Lotozo said. “A big focus on what we’re working towards is engaging with the local community, who can come and experience their own history.”
MAC offers many different programs that cater to both their local audience, with its lunch and learn sessions in the winter, and for tourists and vacationers, such as summer festivals.
“It’s not necessarily changing your offerings but marketing what you have,” Lotozo said. “Offerings cool to millennials include open mic night at the Mad Batter, Howard Street Ramble at the Chalfonte, the spring and fall jazz festivals, the singer-songwriterweekend. Even the local breweries and wineries have festivals, in addition to MAC’s festivals.”
Cape May is anything but a sleepy Victorian town. MAC’s aims to show visitors they can come down for a mid-week stay or a weekend stay and find something to do.
“At MAC, we try to extend our season and offer new trolley tours,” Lotozo said. “We find oddities and bizarre stories that have relevance to our town or Victorian heritage. It’s a different option if you’re not looking for a standard tour.”
If Cape May had a strategic marketing campaign that incorporates all the things available in town, perhaps it would give potential visitors a fuller picture.
“A cohesive approach to market Cape May would show we’ve got a whole family friendly, romantic destination,” Lotozo said. “It would create communities of interest and here we have some younger travelers who want to experience unique things. What do we already have that we can tell them about.”
MAC’s marketing approach is to market Cape May.
“It is with the assumption on our part that once visitors arrive, they are going to climb the lighthouse and take the trolley tours,” Lotozo said. “We want to answer the question of who is MAC and market Cape May as a destination with history. And have a stronger connection with the community.”
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