Hotel Week kicks off Sunday with discount lodging in O.C.

Every year toward the end of August, when summer is almost over, Ocean City looks for new ways to encourage people to come to the beach one last time. So why not a little financial incentive?

Beginning Sunday, the town kicks off Hotel Week (Aug. 18-29 - really, a week and change), a time when people coming down in the waning days of summer can save on a place to stay.

“It’s a promotion we designed with those dates specifically in mind,” said Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association. “Business tends to fall off after this last weekend [August 17 and 18] because kids go back to school.”

For many students in Maryland the first day of school will be Aug. 26 this year - just enough time for a last minute visit, if the price is right.

The Hotel Week program started in 2011, and Jones said it has been successful so far. This year 34 hotels will be participating.

Discounts fall into two categories- either a free night is offered, or a hotel can offer "beach bargains," which cut 15, 20 or 25 percent off your bill, depending on how many nights you stay. Of the hotels offering specials, only OC Weekly Rentals, Plim Plaza, Seabonay Motel and Sea Bay Hotel, will be offering free nights, according to a list provided by Jones.

No matter what deal you opt for, there’s no doubt that going to the beach late in the season is the best. Not only do you avoid the crowds, you get beach days that aren’t sweltering. Plus the ocean has been warming up all summer- the frigid temperatures of Memorial Day weekend are long forgotten.

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