Case Study: Williamsburg attractions link to draw in family vacationers

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When tourist venues around Williamsburg, Va., decided to co-market themselves as a family vacation destination, they turned to Frederiksen Group, Falls Church, Va., for a long-form infomercial.

The ad promotes the Revolutionary Fun pass: a four-day, three-night package to the area that includes free parking and unlimited access to Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlements, Water Country USA and Yorktown Victory Center. Instead of calling numerous tourist sites and hotels, consumers using the pass -- this year priced at $663 for a family of four -- can organize their trip by calling the 800-number in the commercial.

The ad has become the backbone of the group's marketing efforts since 1994.

The 122,740 visitors who came last year as a result of the Revolutionary Fun campaign spent about $35.5 million in the Williamsburg area, said David Schulte, executive director of the Williamsburg Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Since the infomercial began airing on national cable, the visitors bureau has noticed tourists from states west of the Mississippi that had never before generated business for the area. While the average family visiting Williamsburg stayed 2.5 nights, people using the Revolutionary Fun package stay an average of 4.2 nights.

Revolutionary Fun Partners -- which includes the five venues as well as the Williamsburg Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and Williamsburg Hotel & Motel Association -- spends $6.2 million marketing the package each year.

"We have our share of 30- to 60-second spots, but this is a better way of promoting the five attractions," said Phyllis Terrell, director of sales and promotions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. "This complements and supplements what we do."

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