By STEVE KNIGHT/The Lufkin News | Posted: Friday, September 26, 2014 1:00 am
Officials with the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau hope online surfers will find a redesigned website touting the city’s attributes more user-friendly and search engine-friendly.
Tara Watson-Watkins, the LCVB’s executive director, said when creating the updated website with representatives from Nacogdoches-based Point A Media, it was important to look at aspects that drive tourism.
“We wanted to use search engine optimization to it’s fullest potential, so when people put in ‘wine festival,’ then Lufkin’s Bistro pops up,” Watson-Watkins said. “When people put in ‘sports tournaments,’ then all of our sporting events pop up on visitlufkin.com. We’ve tried to build on sports marketing and our meetings and conventions. It’s being built so those keywords are searchable and easily found.”
Members of the LCVB Board of Directors got a sneak peek of the website during their meeting Thursday. According to Watson-Watkins, the site could go live as soon as the week of Oct. 6.
Watson-Watkins gave board members an update on upcoming conferences in Lufkin. Those conferences include the Texas Forestry Association Conference next month, the Texas Conservation Fund annual board meeting in April, the Texas Big Game Awards in May and in July, the Genealogical Association annual conference and the Texas Junior Brahman Association/American Junior Brahman Association show.
“I’ve never had so much fun in my life,” Watson-Watkins said. “That’s where my competitive streak comes out. I love to showcase what Lufkin has to offer. So many people think that Lufkin is ‘podunk East Texas,’ then we show them we’re a one-stop shop — the most important thing that sets us apart from other (convention and visitor bureaus) across the state.”
When bidding with the likes of Laredo, El Paso, Amarillo, Tyler and Nacogdoches, Watson-Watkins said it’s important to show that the LCVB takes care of all details so convention organizers don’t have to worry.
“We are capitalizing on the fact that we have a beautiful new convention center and great hotels, but the organizers don’t have to worry about that,” she said. “We take care of the hotel room blocks, all of the rentals, all of the catering bids — you arrive and it’s all set up and it’s done. That’s really important, and that’s what is setting us apart from the competition.”