Thursday, September 28, 2023 to List All Lodging Properties Equally for the First Time currently has enhanced listings for Alliance members, which are shaded differently and include descriptions and pictures. (Courtesy currently has enhanced listings for Alliance members, which are shaded differently and include descriptions and pictures. (Courtesy

Soon all lodging properties in the Historic Triangle will be listed on alongside a picture and description of the property.

The Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee voted Monday to add the “enhanced” information included on some listings for all lodging properties in the area on VisitWilliamsburg, which is used as a joint website for WADMC and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance.

The move will delete all “basic” listings — previously used for non-Alliance member businesses — from VisitWilliamsburg, allowing tourists to view information about hotels, motels, timeshares, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds equally.

“I cannot personally thank you enough. This means a lot to me,” Williamsburg Hotel & Motel Association Executive Director Ron Kirkland said.

At its December meeting, WADMC member Todd Wellbrock, Marriott International general manager and WHMA vice president, said all hotels should be listed equally because all are responsible for collecting and surrendering a special $2 tax WADMC uses to promote the area to overnight guests.

The WHMA, responsible for representing the area’s hotels, motels and any other businesses wishing to join the association, wanted all lodging properties on even footing, as well.

Despite the push from Wellbrock and the WHMA, WADMC voted against changing the listings in December to allow new Alliance President and CEO Karen Riordan a chance to evaluate the issue to make a recommendation.

“Most people did not have a conceptual problem with the proposal and recommendation by the WHMA,” Riordan said. “That was something they wanted me to assess.”

Riordan came to the Monday WADMC meeting and recommended all properties get equal listings on the website.

“I believe it is what’s best for the destination. I believe we should always be customer-centric,” Riordan said.

All members of WADMC voted to make the change in unison, with no member opposing the decision.

In an interview with WYDaily, Riordan said she spent time reviewing meeting minutes from WADMC’s December meeting before speaking with WADMC Chairman Carl Lum, park president of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, WHMA Executive Director Ron Kirkland, Wellbrock and other members of the WHMA.

From her conversations, Riordan determined it would be in the best interest of the Alliance to serve tourists by promoting all lodging properties equally.

“I am of the belief the right thing to do is go ahead and provide an equal, enhanced listing for every single lodging location in the destination. … I think it will make the destination much more inclusive,” Riordan said. “I want [the customer] to see everything that’s an option.”

Staff of the Alliance will begin reaching out to lodging properties that do not currently have enhanced listings to obtain a 25-word description and photo for the VisitWilliamsburg website.

Another layer of Riordan’s decision involves rethinking a vacation planner the Alliance prints annually called “America’s Historic Triangle Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown Vacation Planner.” For the first time this year, the planner included a full listing of all lodging properties in the area, but the paying Alliance members received the same enhanced listings as on the VisitWilliamsburg website. The planner for next year will undergo the same revamping as the website.

Riordan does believe the move to enhanced listings for all properties may cause some unhappiness among members of the Alliance who currently have enhanced listings as a membership benefit, but she plans on working with those members to identify other benefits for their membership.

To appease all lodging property owners, Riordan said she will sit down and have a conversation with anyone who is unhappy to find out what she can do for them.

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