The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) awarded Visit Lake Charles (VLC) the Shining Example Award for Best Niche Marketing campaign during the organization’s annual Shining Example Awards Dinner during last week’s STS Connections Conference in Jackson, Mississippi.      

Each year, the Southeast Tourism Society judges the Best Niche Marketing campaign on the ability to show niche market viability and a distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought. The submission must also show how the destination used research, creativity, demographic targets, strategy, execution and impact of the marketing effort. Visit Lake Charles captured the award for its Austin Integrated Marketing campaign.     

“Tourism is vital to our region, and our team’s dedication to identifying areas where we can continue to enhance our efforts to spotlight Lake Charles and draw new or repeat visitors makes a real difference to our local tourism economy,” said Visit Lake Charles President/CEO Kyle Edmiston.  

During the spring of 2022, Visit Lake Charles identified a surge of interest in the Lake Area from the Austin market. Through marketing channels curated to maximize impact and engagement, VLC amplified its message to potential Austin visitors. The campaign resulted in a 65% increase in web visitors from the Austin DMA compared to the previous year. The City of Austin, not including the surrounding areas, generated an overall lift in its share of visitation within Southwest Louisiana by 11%, with a share of total overnight visitors increasing by 8.5% YOY. Additionally, the culinary message hit home, with Austin travelers’ spending in the food category increasing by 8% YOY. 

“This campaign is driven by data,” said Visit Lake Charles Chief Marketing Officer Timothy Bush. “We used the data to understand which touchpoints were driving Austin visitors to Lake Charles and created a campaign that would speak to their specific interest in the outdoors, music and culinary. Winning this award was a collaborative effort, and I am extremely proud of our team.” 


About Visit Lake Charles:  
Visit Lake Charles, the official destination marketing organization for Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana, is the only organization in Southwest Louisiana providing advocacy, promotion, and education for the tourism industry. For more information on Visit Lake Charles and things to see and do in Louisiana’s Playground, log on to

About Southeast Tourism Society (STS):  The Southeast Tourism Society is a not-for-profit membership association dedicated to the development of travel and tourism professionals and organizations within the Southeast region. STS’ mission is to strengthen the economic vitality of the region by uniting all segments of the travel and tourism industry through the four pillars of education, advocacy, recognition, and networking. Member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.