Earlier this month, the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitor’s Bureau announced a new branding effort for the region.
The resulting tagline which will be used to promote the area in print media, broadcast and social media platforms is “Visit Lake Charles: Louisiana’s Playground.”
Visit Lake Charles staff worked with Miles Partnership, a top notched strategic marketing firm that specializes in travel and tourism, to research what makes this region different today.
“It is so important to completely assess branding creative and messaging for every destination. The assets of an area evolve and develop over time, and along with that, the messaging needs to shift to align with the reality of the destination’s offerings, attractions and experiences. Miles Partnership did a thorough evaluation, and the research speaks for itself for the new brand and direction for marketing southwest Louisiana,” said Kyle Edmiston, President/CEO of Visit Lake Charles.
Miles Partnership assessed marketing efforts at Visit Lake Charles, interviewed locals and oversaw focus groups in Houston and Dallas. There was one constant that surfaced from the Miles’ examination. Our area is a mixture of contrasts, according to Visit Lake Charles officials.
Casino-resorts, plate lunches, big industry, small business, Creoles to Cajuns (and everything else in between), wildlife, waterways, etc. were all identified as pieces of the Lake Area story. One person interviewed during the study even said our region is “a little black dress paired with flip flops.”
Jay Salyers, Senior Vice President at Miles Partnership thinks the new branding effort will have a positive impact on tourism visits and revenue generation.
“The most remarkable observation with the research study was that the logo and brand essence both surfaced in an obvious way for Visit Lake Charles. The focus groups almost unanimously chose the new logo design from a pool of selections, and that means that the new direction for the brand is solid and has a high probability to strongly resonate with target markets. The idea of the juxtaposition of nature compared to luxury rang true with frequent travelers to Lake Charles,” he said.
Hospitality in Lake Charles generated $732 million in revenue during 2017. There are approximately 11,000 employed in the industry which has seen an increase in job opportunity.
More money is being dedicated to help prepare local hospitality professionals. For instance, the State of Louisiana is providing $10 million for the construction of a culinary, gaming and hospitality center at SOWELA Technical Community College’s main Lake Charles campus.
“Southwest Louisiana is becoming more of a tourist destination. However, in order to remain viable and successful, there has to be a workforce available and at present no one is focusing on the training needs of this expanding industry,” said school Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “The new facility will help SOWELA provide the programs and services needed to build and sustain this much needed workforce.”
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Industry Employment Projections for 2024, the Lake Charles region’s gaming industry will increase 15.7 percent compared to the petroleum and coal manufacturing industries which should increase 2 percent.
Those statistics prove these are exciting times for the local tourism and hospitality sector. New businesses and employment possibilities have yet to even be scratched.
Assets in this part of the state are abundant.
Both Visit Lake Charles and the Alliance/Chamber SWLA are at the tip of the proverbial spear in spreading the message to locals and the world of the greatness residing in our region.
Growth is occurring. It may not be comfortable all the time, but it is the harvest that results from planning, leadership, and hard work.
This may seem redundant, but all of the professionals working inside tourism and economic development agencies want locals to take advantage of the increased visitors and business developments occurring.
SWLA is in high gear, enjoy it.