The Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau received four honorable awards at the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus Idea Fair during the organization’s recent annual conference in The Woodlands.
The bureau took home People’s Choice Awards for cooperative marketing, convention promotion, website and National Tourism Week in the category for bureaus with budgets under $350,000.
Tara Watson-Watkins, executive director of the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, explained what the bureau demonstrated in each category.
“In cooperative marketing, we showed how we partnered Pineywoods Purgatory with Lufkin’s Bistro,” Watson-Watkins said.
“We showed how we took a one-day event and turned into a weekend stay-and-play special. In convention promotion we showed not only how we bid on a convention, but all of our beautiful brochures that we used, the partnership between the convention center and LCVB, and how the two organizations work to make an event seamless.
‘‘For National Tourism Week, we showed the impact that tourism makes on the local economy. We showed the difference between our old website and new website and the content marketing and content applications that are on our website. We were really proud to win in those four areas.”
Conference attendees take part in an “Idea Fair” competition where each city presents idea boards displaying the different programs and campaigns they have created over the past year to promote their city to leisure travelers and meeting planners.
Members then vote on a winning entry for each of the eight categories including advertising, convention promotion, mobile site/app, website, local awareness campaigns, cooperative marketing, National Tourism Week, tourism promotion and sports marketing.
Watson-Watkins also participated at the event as a guest speaker and was selected as best speaker by conference attendees.
“I was honored to be chosen as the people’s choice for best speaker at the conference,” she said. “We talked about ‘piggybacking,’ making a one-day event into a weekend stay-and-play. We showed how Pineywoods Purgatory had been around for 25 years. We turned Bistro to the same weekend and we marketed it to our out-of-town riders. We give them a stay-and-play package and offer discounts for Bistro tickets. We showed how we turned this into a weekend event, where people are coming in, staying two nights in our hotels, shopping, eating and enjoying what Lufkin has to offer. Those same people who come in for Bistro now also come in for Corks and Forks in February.”