- The Washington Times - Monday, January 1, 2007

Charlottesville is hoping Washingtonians “pursue” a visit under a new marketing plan.

The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CACVB) is tapping into Thomas Jefferson’s phrase of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in a renamed marketing campaign, “Pursue Charlottesville.”

“It still permeates the community,” Mark Shore, director and chief executive officer of the tourism group, said of Mr. Jefferson’s legacy. “We have the historical presidential homes, the foundation of the spirit of the founding fathers that still permeates the community.”

The organization has set up a Web site, pursuecharlottesville.com, and created a new logo, with homage to the Monticello dome and a “V” for Virginia. It has placed advertisements on the Internet for the first time and is exploring radio ads for the first time, he said.

A marketing study conducted for the organization has found that visitors prefer long weekends and that wineries are especially popular. Washington, about a two-hour drive away, is its top market.

“We tend to have the affluent travel from the Washington area with country pursuits, the rolling hills and the mountains in the background and open space, but still not giving up the convenience and pleasures of a metropolitan area,” Mr. Shore said.

The bureau’s goal is to increase the conversion rate: the number of people who ask for information about Charlottesville and follow through to make the visit. Mr. Shore declined to identify the current rate.

Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week will be held Jan. 8 to 14 in participating D.C. restaurants, where three-course lunches will be $20.07 and dinners will be $30.07. A complete list of the 170 participating restaurants is available at restaurantweekdc.org.

Previous events have sent restaurant sales up 15 percent to 200 percent, according to the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corp. and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. Both groups produce Restaurant Week.

Participating diners should make reservations early because top restaurants fill quickly.

In other news …

• The Georgetown Business Improvement District has overhauled its Web site, georgetownDC.com. The new site includes listings of 125 restaurants, 350 shops, 50 spas and salons, and 100 services such as dry cleaning and workout facilities.

• Johnny Rockets has opened a restaurant at Kingstowne Towne Center, near the intersection of Kingstowne Boulevard and South Van Dorn Street in Alexandria. It’s the old-fashioned hamburger chain’s sixth location in the Washington area.

• Potbelly Sandwich Works opened its latest restaurant in the Washington area at 409 Third St. SW. About 20 Potbelly restaurants are in the Washington area.

• Washington Dulles International Airport has a few new restaurants, among them: Harry’s Tap Room in the main terminal, the only sit-down restaurant before security; Mexican restaurant Tequileria and Harry’s Tap Room in Concourse B; and Gordon Biersch in Concourse D.

Retail & Hospitality appears Mondays. Contact Jen Haberkorn at 202/636-4836 or jhaberkorn@washingtontimes.com.

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