Meeting planners who bring a group to Colonial Williamsburg find an easily accessible and ready-made destination that offers up plenty of activity options for delegates with the family in tow and is also investing in a foundation that provides history education programs for students throughout the U.S.
“One of the biggest differentiators for us is the fact that our owner is the nonprofit Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, so all of our proceeds go back to the foundation to help offset the education that the foundation undertakes,” says Perry Goodbar, vice president of hospitality sales and business development for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “For example, one of the things we help fund is electronic field trips, which are beamed into classrooms across the country and oftentimes for free to school districts because of donors giving to the foundation in combination with proceeds from the hotel company from people who do meetings with us.”
Aside from the corporate social responsibility benefits afforded by booking a meeting in Colonial Williamsburg, Goodbar sings the praises of his destination in terms of a great range of hotels and meeting facilities, a highly walkable core that plops attendees down within two blocks of some 20 restaurants and 50 retail shops, and easy accessibility due to being within 25 to 45 minutes of three international airports.
Because the destination is operated by one entity, meeting planners benefit from a centralized sales force that handles all six of the properties. Board meetings can be handled in a higher-end venue such as the Williamsburg Inn and a sales meeting that needs a much larger ballroom can meet at the Williamsburg Lodge. The more-moderately priced Williamsburg Woodlands is another option.
The destination also offers a dedicated conference center with a residential feel, as well as side-by-side golf facilities that are frequently cited as one of the top two or three in Virginia, and which are designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr., and a spa that celebrates five centuries of wellness as its theme.
Of course, mention Colonial Williamsburg and the first thought that comes to mind is probably the period actors that dramatically tell the story of the area’s history, along with a wide array of museums. But Goodbar says the amount of history relayed to attendees is at the discretion of the meeting planner.
“You can bring in history or not,” Goodbar says. “You can have as much immersion into history or none at all—it’s all about your preference.”
Getting there: Williamsburg is located in the Tidewater region of Virginia, an hour’s drive from Richmond or Norfolk, Va., and is 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off interstate 64.
Airport: Williamsburg offers more than than 200 flights, including nearly 30 nonstops, arriving daily to three international airports located 25 to 45 minutes away: Newport News-Williamsburg (PHF), Norfolk (ORF) and Richmond International (RIC).
Rail: Amtrak serves the Williamsburg Transportation Center with a connecting train from Washington, D.C.