For nearly 150 years, the most important industry on Florida’s Historic Coast has been hospitality. And frankly, we’re very good at it. Why? Because we give our visitors what they want in a unique and memorable setting. That has been our mantra from the days before Henry Flagler’s magnificent hotels were built here in the 1880s and it continues today.
Of course, COVID has been one our biggest challenges. Fortunately, our years of experience allowed us to quickly recognize that not only did we need to continue to meet and exceed our visitors’ expectations, but it was also imperative that we ensure safety and peace of mind for our visitors – especially meeting planners!
While incorporating COVID information into meeting planning has been challenging for everyone, the safety protocols on Florida’s Historic Coast are the same as in other major destinations throughout the United States. What that means is that the protocols for a Hilton property in St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra are the same as those encountered in a Hilton in New York City or Atlanta. Of course, that is equally true of branded properties like Sawgrass Marriott and Embassy Suites as well as resorts such as the Casa Monica Resort & Spa and the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club on Florida’s Historic Coast.
Florida’s Historic Coast is also particularly well suited as a meetings destination during a time of public health concerns. With a population of about 14,000 in St. Augustine (roughly the same as it was in 1788), the destination is not an urban center, nor does it have the crowds encountered by meeting attendees in larger metropolitan locations. In addition, meeting properties in Ponte Vedra and the Renaissance at World Golf Village are largely self-contained in resort communities. Plus, there’s more than 40 miles of beaches that are wide open and unobstructed by high rise buildings or urban sprawl.
We also know what it takes to plan a successful meeting. Plus, we are committed to pro-actively addressing COVID in ways that allow meeting planners to confidently choose our destination as the setting for their next corporate or association function.
How successful have we been? Well, less than one year ago, Smart Meetings magazine awarded their prestigious Platinum Choice Award to our own St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau, as well as the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. In presenting these awards, the publication stated that winners “have gone above and beyond during these difficult times and moved to the top of readers’ lists by delivering professional, creative and thoughtful service.”
Finally, there are the hosts on Florida’s Historic Coast who know the most important factor is ensuring guests are safe, comfortable and confident that they have chosen the right meeting destination. Our past meeting attendees have personally experienced our hospitality and know our commitment is real. Today, despite COVID’s challenges, meeting planners can continue to confidently choose St. Augustine | Ponte Vedra for a successful meeting in a unique, memorable, and safe setting.