Courtesy The Grand Hotel
Although their popularity may be based in large part on a legacy of luxury and well-loved surroundings, these resorts still look to enhance groups’ experiences with new shopping, dining, programming and other offerings.
“We’re working on enhancing our retail experience for customers,” Brody said. “That’s really important to the groups coming in. We’re also going to put in a high-energy entertainment with a bar and restaurant. We’re trying to enhance that strength that has always been part of the inn.”
The Greenbrier has updated its offerings to keep up with the times. In 2010, the resort opened its Casino Club, a nonsmoking gaming facility that is open only to overnight guests. Nightly champaign toasts and classical waltzes attract many group travelers to the casino after dinner.
Dinner and other food experiences have become increasingly popular with visiting groups.
“We set up a lot of culinary demonstrations that groups ask for,” Furlong said.
Culinary activities are also catching on with group guests visiting the Grand Hotel.
“We’re finding that people want things like wine tastings and cooking demonstrations,” Hayward said. “We’re adding those to the agenda to make more specialized programs for groups. We know that travel groups are out there competing against one another, so we like to help them do things to add to their experiences a little bit.”