Savannah pitches 'Bromantic Nights' for guys

Cobblestone squares. Lush gardens. Carriage rides.

Savannah is just so ... bromantic?

Tourism officials in Georgia’s historic coastal city seem to think so. And they hope male buddies targeted in a new marketing campaign will, too.

In an effort to create a new niche during a slumping economy, the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is pitching “Bromantic Nights,” hoping to inspire flocks of guy pals to plan male-only bonding retreats. Some Savannah spots are offering special bromantic packages mixing golf, pub crawls and cigars.

The campaign aims to capitalize on “bromance,” a term coined in recent times to convey a close but non-sexual relationship among men. The moniker got more buzz with the recent movie, “I Love You, Man.”

“The romance theme is a big deal in Savannah. I suspect the guys weekend is going to be a tougher sell,” said Justin May, corporate revenue manager for Charlestowne Hotels, a company that manages 22 hotels, including two in Savannah. “But with the economic times as tough as they are, hotels have been hit hard, and everyone is trying to find a niche and try new and cool stuff.”

The Hamilton-Turner Inn has created a $779 (for two guys) “Men Overboard” package that includes a two-night stay, 18 holes of golf for two, a day at the spa and two locally made cigars. Meanwhile, The Planters Inn has put together the $229 (for two) “Bros, Burgers and Baseball” package,” which includes a two-night stay at the Planters Inn, tickets to a minor league baseball game and two tickets to the “haunted pub crawl.”

“Diva Days” are also part of the marketing blitz, but marketing gurus say getting groups of women to escape to Savannah is easy.

“ I see groups of women shopping downtown, and they have specially made T-shirts like they are part of a cohesive group. I have never seen that with a group of guys,” said Lindsay Whitaker, communications assistant, who came up with idea to showcase Savannah’s bromantic side.

The idea for bromantic getaways stemmed from a brainstorming session where the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau staff jotted down ideas on poster-sized sheets of paper. Staff then sent the marketing pitch to 65,000 potential tourists via e-mail.

The key to creating bromantic buzz in Savannah is emphasizing the golf courses and riverside pubs, and downplaying carriage rides and other romantic trappings of this historic town, according to May.

Getting a group of male BFFs to think about Savannah for their next dudes-only weekend may be a long shot. But, in these economic times, it’s a shot worth taking, according to May.

“I haven’t seen up until now a big push for the guys weekend theme,” said May. “We want to show that Savannah can be that perfect bromantic getaway.”