elkintribune.com

Wine festival draws tourists in hotel sellout

By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

May 16, 2014

The Yadkin Valley Wine Festival, a signature event operated by the the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, not only provides a boost to regional wineries seeking to sell their merchandise, but benefits local hotels, too.


Many hotels rely on special events like the wine festival to increase their occupancy rate.


“We’re sold out on Saturday,” said Brandon Dudley, director of sales for the Elkin Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. “I would say roughly 80 percent of our hotel guests will be in town for the wine festival.


Across the river in Jonesville, the Hampton Inn only has a few rooms left, according to hotel manager Debra Clark of the hotel. Clark said the wine festival held in the region is important.


“The festival adds to the flavor of the region and its greatness. They do help to fill rooms,” she said. Clark also indicated that because of the proximity to the interstate that many rooms are filled by guests traveling through this time of year.


“We’re part of the Jonesville Tourism Development Authority (JTDA). The TDA gave money to the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI) for offsetting costs associated with shuttle service to the festival,” said Clark.


Back at the Fairfield Inn, Dudley noted the YVEDDI service making way to the hotel, but added that other transportation opportunities will be available, too. “Jimmy Chapel is also providing shuttle service as well. Chapel said that for an extra $10 per person he’ll be able to transport guests to multiple destinations such as a place to eat,” said Dudley.


According to all hotels, wine enthusiasts staying at a hotel also depends on its relationship with the customers.


“We get return guests. Many have come over the last few years. They come back,” said Best Western Yadkin Valley Inn General Manager Anita Darnell. “We also get people coming in for graduations, ball games, a car race in Virginia is going on, and people just travel through.”


Darnell, who is also a commissioner for Jonesville, is the chairperson of the JTDA.


“There are a lot of choices with coming and lodging here. The wine festival is special. Clearly, it helps the region. Guests attending also know of the shuttle service that takes them to the festival and back to the hotel. They like the shuttle,” said Darnell.


YVEDDI declined an opportunity to weigh in on wine festival coordination, nor would the organization allow for its drivers to comment.


Jimmy Chapel of Shuttle Service located in State Road said, “I’ll do what I have to do for guests coming into the region. I’ll take them where they need to go safely. I love meeting people. I see the value of festivals and wineries…I know I cost a bit more compared to an organization that is subsidized, but that’s what’s great about this area. It’s about hard work, and hospitality,” said Chapel.


While many hotels in the area are almost filled, not all hotels are. One hotel did not see much effect of the wine festival, while another has seen its potential.


Angelica March of the Days Inn in Jonesville said, “People are welcomed to stay with us. We have a weekend rack rate at $85 plus tax per night. We have a lot of rooms available.”


The Elk Inn located on North Bridge Street in Elkin said only a couple of rooms are left. “We have lots of people staying with us,” said Manager Lucy Sanchez.


Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.