Atlantic City Insiders, a new unit of The Press of Atlantic City Media Group, wants to give out-of-towners the inside scoop on navigating the resort — from browsing more than 300 restaurant menus to finding hot nightclubs and then getting to the front of the line.
On Tuesday, a partnership was announced between Atlantic City Insiders and Atlantic City Alliance, the casino-funded nonprofit charged with marketing the city as a tourism hub. The partnership involves sharing content, audience and promotions, as well as advertising support from ACA.
AtlanticCityInsiders.com represents a significant shift from the Pleasantville-based media company’s traditional core market in South Jersey.
About three-quarters of visitors to Atlantic City Insiders since June are from the Philadelphia, North Jersey, New York and Maryland areas, company officials said.
“We started with the concept of how do we reach people interested in Atlantic City as a destination, not just for the gaming or the ocean but all the amenities. It grew, and we realized there wasn’t anything specifically targeted to people outside the market until they got here,” said Keith Dawn, publisher of The Press. “In the digital age, how do we bring people to Atlantic City and the region with a product that can help in their planning but is also informative and entertaining?”
The result is Atlantic City Insiders, a continually evolving website on which visitors can book hotel rooms, make restaurant reservations, buy show tickets, get tips on the best places to park, and enter sweepstakes for tickets to concerts, Dawn said.
The product’s theme is, “Where visitors experience Atlantic City like Insiders.”
This site includes a comprehensive listing of restaurants. The effort included digitizing the hard copies of restaurant menus not otherwise available online.
A Press team led by Neill Borowski, executive editor and content director of The Press of Atlantic City, spearheaded the project, Dawn said.
Dawn said Atlantic City Insiders will evolve on a daily and weekly basis, developing new content while adapting to its audience and trying to attract new customers.
“When I look at Atlantic City and the region and competition in the neighboring states, I think the other objective is to help businesses and ourselves bring people to the market,” Dawn said.
Social media have been the driving force behind the venture. Atlantic City Insiders has more than 18,500 people who like the site on Facebook. Those viewers had a combined 5.3 million Facebook friends, according to company-supplied data.
“I think it’s the most ambitious social media effort the company’s ever undertaken,” said Top Insider and At The Shore Editor Scott Cronick.
The site is compiling a list of benefits for Atlantic City Insiders members through partnerships with casinos and area businesses, said Brittany Hurley, membership benefits and sales coordinator.
Atlantic City Insiders is working on benefits in which members could get to the front of the line at area hot spots, exclusive off-menu appetizers at restaurants and other inside information, she said.
Hurley said the Facebook page added nearly 1,500 followers last weekend. Atlantic City Insiders also employed a search engine optimization firm to give the site prominence on Google, Yahoo and others.
About half of the page visits are coming from people using search engines to look for information on Atlantic City, she said.
Hurley, 29, of Galloway Township, called herself “about as local as you get.”
She grew up in Galloway, graduated from Absegami High School in 2001 and then The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey with a bachelor of science degree in hospitality management.
Her parents are retired law-enforcement officers from the Atlantic City Police Department, and she volunteers for local organizations including Gilda’s Club, the Galloway Absecon Mothers Club, and the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Hurley said she sees the growth potential in the area.
“I grew up and remember going to James’ salt water taffy and watching them make it, watching the peanuts be roasted. I have three kids at home now, and I want to be part of taking what we have here, the fun things and the great things, and I want our city and our area to grow,” she said. “As my children grow up and see positive growth, I want them to know I was a part of it.”
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