1 pm: 62°FPartly Sunny

3 pm: 68°FPartly Sunny

5 pm: 71°FPartly Sunny

7 pm: 68°FPartly Sunny

More Weather

Greenbrier packages now more affordable

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 10:24 PM

Dreaming of a first class vacation at reasonable rates? The Greenbrier, one of America's oldest resorts, introduced the "Discovery Series" as part of its overall campaign to increase first quarter revenues. That provides more people with an opportunity to afford a trip to the legendary resort just a few hours southeast of Huntington.

The collection of eight weekend events, January through March, offers guests affordable luxury ranging from interior design to the culinary arts, blues music to craft beer brewing, and from antiques to wellness.

"We are thrilled to be launching this dynamic series of weekends of fun, learning and entertainment at America's Resort," said Jeff Kmiec, president of The Greenbrier, in a press release.

Dr. Robert S. Conte, the resort's resident historian since 1978, said the events will address the fiscal challenge faced by The Greenbrier during winter months.

"What we are trying to do in the big picture, of course, is to turn this into a 12-month operation," he said. "You have all these incredible facilities here that are heavily used seven months in the year. In terms of the profitability of the resort, one of the real problems is that you start out the year well behind because January, February and March are so slow."

The themed weekends coincide with the resort's popular Tribute to the Virginias, which offers room rates starting at 59 dollars, plus resort fees (West Virginia or Virginia residency is not required).

The Tribute package is an annual special that allows people to sort of break the ice, Conte added. "The Greenbrier has the reputation of being extremely formal, and people are intimated," he said. "We like to maintain the elegance, but I think people are fairly surprised that this is a relaxed place. I think it is a big surprise for a lot of people how friendly the staff is."

Reduced room rates and increased activities entice returning and new guests to sample a winter version of Greenbrier's "traditional way of doing things." When people who would never consider coming here look at the Tribute to the Virginias' rates, it becomes affordable.

The resort announced many of its discounted package rates through social media to capture a broader audience, said Sarah Hastings, marketing assistant. New marketing strategies also include the Loyalty Rewards pre-registration outreach using QR code access. The enhanced marketing campaign is reaching families and younger people, she added.

A previous conference attendee at the resort, James Nester, of Charleston, booked a return stay for early January after receiving an email about the lowered prices. His wife, Diane Nester, and their daughters, Kaitlin, 11, and Abbie, 5, said they looked forward to all of their favorite activities available during the inclement season, including swimming in the indoor pool and watching their favorite family movies at the resort theatre.

"My daughters especially love ice-skating and Tea Time," he added.

The Greenbrier's focus on family gatherings has produced the "Kids Play Free" at "America's Family Resort" initiative where children ages 12 and under can join their parents in many activities at no charge. The Adventure Zone, the resort's children's program, caters to kids ages 3 to 14, with day and evening programs. For Greenbrier loyalists, the sight of so many young people at the resort comes as a pleasant surprise, Conte said.

"I was just talking to the Adventure Zone, and they were talking about how they had so many kids," he said.

Recent holidays were an indicator of the influx of youth at The Greenbrier, he added.

"Thanksgiving is always really popular around here, but this year we had one of the highest house counts we have ever had, which was 1,450 people, and 295 of them were children.

"The fact is one of our former presidents, Ted Kleisner, used to say 'The Greenbrier has three problems - January, February and March,'" Conte said. "That's why Mr. (owner Jim ) Justice calls it the Tribute to the Virginias. It is something he is doing for the people in this area, offering some affordable rates. He started doing that during the off-season as soon as he bought it."

For more information about The Greenbrier's special events, including the Discovery Series (www.greenbrier.com/discovery) and The Tribute to the Virginias (www.greenbrier.com/tribute), visit www.greenbrier.com or call 1-877-780-3356.



The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.