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Businesses get creative to draw customers

Discounts, special promotions are directed at visitors and locals

Bailouts. Stimulus. The stock market. It’s hard to go anywhere these days and not hear about the state of the economy.

The good news is many businesses are listening and acknowledging that consumers are spending differently. When they do spend, it’s deals and discounts that lure them in. For instance, many business are offering deals through M Specials in this magazine (see page 18).

“Residents and visitors alike are looking for value now more than ever,” said Charlie Clark, vice president of communications for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

For locals, the chamber has created “The Upside,” a compilation of discounts and valueadded deals and promotions offered by chamber members. “The Upside,” which features dozens of regularly updated deals, is accessible via the chamber’s website, hiltonheadisland.org.

“It’s been a great success,” Clark said. “It’s a great place for discounts on everything from restaurants and retail to printing services and auto repair.”

For visitors, the chamber established the “Hilton Head 09 Card,” a free card that offers the chance to “become a Hilton Head Island insider” with access to travel packages, promotions and offers for visitors looking to stretch their travel dollars.

Information about the card and how to sign up is available on the chamber’s website in the “Vacation and Visitors” section.

Often in a down economy, consumers will cut back on non-essential spending such as dining out and entertainment. In a local economy with so many businesses that depend on these dollars, many have implemented creative solutions. Ann-Marie Adams-Arrington, executive director of the Hilton Head Hospitality Association, said hospitality industry businesses have made changes to how they approach local and visitor business.

Local bars and restaurants have amped up features like early-bird specials and two-for-one promotions, Adams-Arrington said, as well as creating wine clubs and cooking classes. And, it’s not just visitors who can take advantage of local travel packages. Hilton Head’s Westin resort recently offered a low rate for locals promoted as a “Staycation” package.

Find local deals online

Looking for local deals can be just a click away. Here’s a sampling of sites to check out when deal hunting:

  • hiltonheadmonthly.com
  • hiltonheadisland.org
  • merchantcircle.com
  • valpak.com
  • tripadvisor.com
  • facebook.com