By Timothy Bolger ~ Visitors to Fire Island can save money at Ocean Beach restaurants, shops, riding Fire Island Ferries and touring the Fire Island Lighthouse, which have all joined the Downtown Deals Mobile Travel Pass program.
Discover Long Island, the region’s tourist destination marketing agency, developed the free-to-use, mobile-friendly promotion that offers itinerary suggestions and deep discounts to participating local businesses.
“We are so thrilled to add Ocean Beach, Fire Island to our Downtown Deals Travel Pass,” said Kristen Reynolds, president and CEO of Discover Long Island. “This community is truly unique, and I encourage Long Island residents and visitors alike who have yet to visit to take advantage of the exclusive discounts that are now available to you with this mobile pass.”
Discover Long Island devised the promotion during the coronavirus pandemic to support the hard hit hospitality industry, which generated $6.3 billion in visitor spending in 2019. The promo was previously rolled out at more than 100 businesses in Bay Shore, Farmingdale, Greenport, Huntington, Patchogue, Rockville Centre and Port Washington.
“The charm of this barrier island and idyllic beach resort community will offer a refreshing change of pace for visitors with its carefree, no-fuss atmosphere,” said Laura Mercogliano, owner of The Palms Hotel Group, CJ’s Restaurant & Bar and the Fire Island News. “There is a sense of exclusivity once you land by boat and experience the true sense of community.”
Mercogliano helped bring the travel pass to Fire Island in her role as a board member of Discover Long Island and head of advocacy for the Ocean Beach Chamber of Commerce, which represents the businesses in the tight-knit waterfront community accessible by ferry, boat, or water taxi only. Local businesses were eager to collaborate in the promotion.
“Maguire’s Bayfront Restaurant is always striving to engage with our customers in new and innovative ways, so we are thrilled to be a part of this program,” said Alexandra Mattson, assistant general manager of one of the participating eateries. “We hope that the offer we contributed to the pass shows our dedication to keeping our customers happy and returning to enjoy the unique atmosphere. We look forward to continuing this partnership and serving the community with all our special offers.”
Discover Long Island made the process user friendly, with no downloads required. All deal seekers need to do is sign up for a Downtown Deals Travel Pass is visit discoverlongisland.com/deals, which sends a link that opens the passport and directs the user to add the button icon to their home screen. When the user is ready to redeem their discount, they simply show their phone at the ticketing or checkout counter to access their deal.
A dozen Fire Island entities are participating in the program. Most of them are restaurants in Ocean Beach, but Fire Island Ferries is offering $1 off a child ticket with purchase of an adult ticket Tuesdays through Thursdays, and Fire Island Lighthouse visitors can save 20 percent off the tower fee in July and August with the pass. An Ocean Beach-based clothing shop, Hanalei and Kula’s, is giving 10 percent off purchases of more than $100 and daily new FarOut Sales starting in August, and The Palms Hotel Fire Island boasts 20 percent off mid-week stays in September.
The remaining eight participating businesses are eateries. The Albatross is offering 15 percent off mid-week bills and 15 percent off lunch on Saturdays, Beacheria Pizzeria is giving 15 percent off orders of $50 or more, and CJ’s Restaurant and Bar is dishing out a free appetizer with purchase of two entrees and a $20 burger and beer deal. At The Island Mermaid, pass holders can get 10 percent off their bill, at Matthew’s Seafood House patrons can get free dessert with the purchase of an entrée at lunch or dinner Monday through Thursday, and at Maguire’s Bayfront Restaurant visitors can enjoy Lobster Palooza every Thursday and sunset Happy Hour. And at The Sand Bar, brunch is served all day Monday through Thursday, and Rachael’s Fire Island Restaurant & Bakery is offering a $30 three-course pasta dinner on Sundays and Wine and Dime Wednesdays, where patrons get their second glass for 10 cents. Updated deals will be found on the website as they are added.
Mercogliano likened the travel pass program to the long-running I Love New York tourism campaign, but with a web-based approach. “It’s about a lot more than a discount meal,” she said. “It’s a day, an experience, a snapshot of Long Island.
“[Fire Island] has so much to offer, but businesses have to combine our resources and join forces to recover from the pandemic,” she added, noting that the travel pass facilitates “greater participation in downtown districts at no cost or hidden fees. How can you not say ‘yes and thank you?’”
Shoshanna McCollum contributed to this report.
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