The Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association (TCLA) was formed when a large group of accommodation facility owners were concerned that they didn’t have enough funding to adequately advertise and promote The Lake of the Ozarks. After receiving the proper legislative authority and establishing the Business Districts in each of the Counties, the accommodation facility owners presented an initiative to the voters on June 8, 1993, asking them to approve a three percent lodging tax, for overnight visitors that stayed less than 31 nights in any calendar quarter in one of three Business Districts, surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks, throughout Camden, Miller and Morgan Counties. Before the lodging tax was passed, the Lake Association had approximately $150,000 per year to promote and advertise the Lake of the Ozarks area. Over the past several years, the TCLA Board has appropriated between $1.5 and $1.7 million annually to promote and advertise the area.
Since 1993, the Tri-County Lodging Association has purchased millions of dollars of advertising in magazines, newspapers, television, radio, web site development, search engine optimization, retargeting campaigns, content story campaigns, digital billboard advertising, special events and festivals, mobile web sites, exhibiting at 12-14 Sport & Travel Shows, vacation guide fulfillment, postage and distribution. According to our visitor surveys, most of our overnight guests reside in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Indiana. TCLA also uses the funds to sponsor special events and festivals that attract visitors to the Lake. TCLA can potentially provide promotional startup funding for new events and festivals in hopes that the event or festival will sustain itself financially over a two or three year period. Special events and festivals are major reasons why our visitors choose our area over other resort destinations. TCLA also supports two group, convention and reunion sales managers, both responsible for initiating group, convention and reunion business “request for proposals” which are distributed to Lake-area accommodation facilities. TCLA also contracts with a professional Public Relations Firm that writes numerous press releases and contacts editors of major publications to encourage them to write travel related stories about the Lake of the Ozarks. Statistically, when an editor writes about your destination, it’s four times more impactful than placing a paid advertisement. TCLA continues to invest in Advertising Effectiveness research programs that assures the most efficient use and highest return-on-investment for every advertising dollar appropriated.
TCLA also partners with the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). The CVB is the primary fulfillment arm of TCLA, providing hundreds of thousands of Vacation Guides to potential visitors requesting information as a result of TCLA’s advertising. The CVB also developed, markets and maintains the website www.funlake.com, produces the artwork for the many advertisements placed each year and manages the social media aspects of TCLA promotional efforts. With more than 90% of all travel being planned online, the website and social media components are an integral part of TCLA’s comprehensive marketing plan. The CVB also attends upwards of 12 Sport and Travel Shows throughout mid-America answering questions about our destination and distributing Vacation Guides to potential visitors.