Marketing the 18th century experience is old hat to the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance. Now they’re jumping years ahead – to the 19th century.
The Civil War Sesquicentennial is this year, and the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Williamsburg will be observed May 5. Alliance Vice President for Tourism Bob Harris says his organization has been working on various ways to market the Civil War in the area because “this will offer something different for visitors to do in the area… both Civil war enthusiasts and also the typical tourist.”
The Alliance has been working on the Historic Triangle Civil War Committee, made up of members of the Historic Triangle Collaborative, since the group was created in 2009. One of the main ideas that is driving marketing of the Civil War in the Triangle is the notion that “this is a place that has been able to market history, and tell the history story well,” Harris says.
“It’s something different to do in Williamsburg that will add to the experience.”
Part of the marketing strategy includes paid print ads in various history magazines, including “Civil War Times,” “American History Magazine” and “America’s Civil War magazine.”
Also, the Alliance distributes other print material such as a Civil War brochure for the Triangle that the Alliance pays to locate at 15 state Welcome centers, as well as and other brochures and planners with Civil War material inside.
The Alliance contributes to the Civil War Trails Program (along with other organizations in the state), which prints a Virginia Civil War Trails guide and Civil War Signs around the state.
Group tours are another way to drum up visits, Harris notes, and the Alliance has been sharing a Civil War-themed group itinerary called “Shades of Blue and Gray” to offer a new twist to tour operators looking for ideas for visiting.
“Visitors can see the regular attractions, but with a twist on the Civil War,” he says, and this could help encourage visitors or groups to extend their stays.
The Alliance’s website includes a Civil War page with a Civil War events calendar, a list of trails and programs, and Civil War stories from around the area as well as an online copy of the Civil War Williamsburg brochure.