It’s already been stated here, but deserves repeating, and this is that Crisfield was a man-made city, built for the sole purpose of making money. Crisfield was methodically planned around the means that facilitated traffic (railroad), and the building of industries that were based upon producing the traffic (oysters, crabs, clothing garments, etc.) that fit within the traffic facilitator.
The CTI must replicate the above strategy, and first and foremost is, establishing a means to facilitate traffic growth. A hypothetical example, if A&E is to be a primary means to produce traffic, then there needs to be something to attract 1000’s of artists to Crisfield each week, advise current business owners and encourage new businesses to offer products and services relevant to artists, and do so in a way where there is traffic during the weekdays so businesses can remain open and provide full-time employment opportunities.
Since the traffic facilitator will have to be built from the ground up, there is a freedom of building the CTI to produce the type of traffic that has the greatest possibility of reaching the overall objective. Below are some traffic types, categorized first by age groups, then by the length of stay, and a few details about each.
Youth-16 (Y-16): The majority of time this traffic is accompanied with one or more persons from the 30-44 age group. Y-16 produces a great amount of economic opportunity, especially since parents are not very frugal when it comes to spending money on their children.
17-29: This group is attracted to events, nightlife, dance clubs, bars, etc. Large amounts of this traffic will require additional law enforcement efforts and will often cause damage to hotel rooms, etc. Attracting this group may not be desirable.
30-44: The data produced from my research shows that this traffic group travels the most, stays the longest and spends the most money during their trips. However, this type of traffic should be targeted using a ‘family vacation’ strategy that targets the Y-16 group as well.
45-64: This group is experiencing the kids going to college, paying off debt and preparing for retirement. This type should be targeted, though it’s not feasible to establish a means to produce a heavy amount of traffic around this age group.
65+: The walking traffic produced is limited, especially during the summer months. There is, however, a large market for this age bracket though it’s specialized. Good models for targeting senior citizen traffic are American Cruise Lines and the Roads Scholar Program. One method to tap into this age bracket could be Christmas, religious or similar themed initiatives.
Summary of Targeting Traffic Types: According to the data that I’ve collected, the traffic facilitator should target Y-16 because it will also reach the 30-45 group without any additional marketing effort.
Categorizing Traffic by Length of Stay – To more thoroughly gauge the economic activity that can be produced from the various traffic types, it’s beneficial to categorize the traffic types according to their length of stay. These categories will be identified below as either ‘Day-Trippers,’ ‘Weekenders’ and ‘Vacationers.’ A summary of each is as follows:
➢ Day-Trippers: They will likely do the following:
-Arrive and leave the same day.
-Eat one meal, maybe two.
-Generate retail sales.
-Engage in recreational/cultural service or activity.
-Attend event if available.
Notes on Day-Trippers – The majority of the traffic produced by the Major Attraction proposed herein will fall under this category. There is also additional potential to generate Day-Tripper traffic, most of which will predominately be from Delmarva.
A significant portion of this traffic will be generated from a spontaneous decision, and Crisfield must target, and plan for this. Methods to do so requires proficient internet presence where all information is available – on one website – that provides all of the services, activities, etc. that can be done on that particular day.
Additionally, it’s critical that all of the information on the website is accurate and updated daily. One of the most negative situations possible is for someone to see an available service/activity/etc. for Crisfield on the internet, drive 1.5-2 hours to get here, and find out that it’s closed or not available when they get here. I personally know of this actually happening on multiple occasions.
The above negative experience will result in at least two things; those people will likely never visit Crisfield again, and they will likely share their experience with family and friends decreasing the probability of those people visiting Crisfield as well.
➢Weekenders: They will likely do the following:
-Stay one to two nights at a hotel/B&B.
-Four or more meals per person.
-Generate retail sales for one to two days.
-Engage in multiple recreational/cultural services and activities.
-Attend events if available.
Notes on Weekenders – Weekenders will be coming for a ‘get-away,’ and predominately come in on a Thursday or Friday evening, do something during the days spent here, relax in the late afternoon, and then venture out again for dinner and engage in sightseeing, amusement and entertainment activities.
Weekenders are also spontaneous at times, but most often plan in advance. One way to increase Weekender traffic in Crisfield is to offer highlighted events every single weekend that are attractive to a variety of interests. As time passes, more and more people will become aware that there is something happening in Crisfield every weekend and begin looking here first when planning a weekend getaway.
I have an extensive amount of additional information on this not included in this report.
➢Vacationers: They will likely do the following:
-Travel in numbers (husband, wife & kids).
-Stay a half to whole week in a hotel/B&B.
-Over a dozen meals per person.
-Generate retail sales for a half to whole week.
-Engage in recreational/cultural services and activities.
-Attend events if available.
Notes on Vacationers – This group provides the longest and the opportunity for the greatest amount of economic activity. The optimal environment that Crisfield could provide – in addition to activities and services of interest for the entire family – is offering specific things for the husbands to do, and specific things for the wives, with everything being youth friendly as well so the father could take the kids some of the days, and the mothers on others.
For example, many women enjoy ‘laying-out’ in the sun, on those days the kids could go with the mom to a beach and/or water-park (both proposed – more info below), which would give dad a free-day to go play a round of golf or a similar adult-type activity. On another day, mom could go to a spa, get facials, or they could take a cruise to Smith Island for a cake-baking class while dad takes the kids out fishing and crabbing on a charter boat.
The opportunity to do these could be achieved by offering ‘all-inclusive’ vacation packages. I have more information on this not included in this report, but in essence, the CTI needs to give significant attention to booking Vacationers far in advance, and at the same time having them commit to as many additional services as possible.