The Loudoun Bed and Breakfast Guild held its annual meeting on March 9 hosted by Bluemont Station Brewery and Winery in Bluemont.
With over 80 members, the group includes overnight lodging businesses as well as related tourism contributors who listened to a keynote presentation by Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson.
Erickson presented recent data regarding the tourism economy in Loudoun County, including what visitors are interested in, popular activities and what is contributing to the industry’s continued growth.
“Self-care experiences help with COVID fatigue,” Erickson said, noting that people are traveling to relax and recharge from the stress of juggling “all of the pains of the pandemic.”
Related to self-care are outdoor activities such as golfing, canoeing, fishing, biking and hiking which are all popular experiences in Loudoun, she said.
She said the craft beer industry continues to be a growth driver and beer drinkers are becoming more diverse and increasingly female.
“70 percent of Americans have traveled to a destination specifically to sample the alcohol in the region,” Erickson said.
In a recent survey of 1,309 visitors and residents, Visit Loudoun found that 81% would recommend a trip to Loudoun County and 82% would return again.
Survey participants cited more accommodations, closer distances between destinations and a greater diversity of restaurants would improve the visitor experience.
The survey also found that visitors are most interested in vineyards, cultural attractions and dining when traveling to Loudoun County. Also mentioned were shopping, historic sites and breweries as popular activities.
Erickson encouraged Guild members to use social media and to connect it to Visit Loudoun for greater visibility.
The Guild’s President Leslie Tharp, owner of Stone Gables Bed and Breakfast in Leesburg, presented several awards to members for their service including Hillary Coley of Dominion Tea and Alta Jones of AltaTerra Farm Bed and Breakfast.
The Jean Brown scholarship award was given to Doug Fabbioli and the New Ag School which provides exposure to the farming industry and an introduction to running a business.
In addition, the group donated $500 to the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) and Tree of Life Ministries from the money they collected at the annual B&B Guild Open House in December.
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