The Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association was formed when a large group of accommodation facility owners were concerned that they didn’t have enough funding to adequately advertise and promote our destination. 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 our area. Over the past several years, the TCLA Board has appropriated between $1.5 and $2.0 million annually to promote and advertise our area.
Since 1993, the Tri-County Lodging Association has purchased millions of dollars of advertising in magazines, newspapers, internet web sites, television, radio and billboards throughout mid America in our primary markets. According to our visitor surveys, most of our overnight visitors 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 provides start up funding for new events and festivals in hopes that the event or festival will sustain itself financially in two or three years. 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, one in the St. Louis marketplace and one in the Kansas City marketplace, both responsible for bringing in new group, convention and reunion business to the Lake of the Ozarks each year. 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 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 initiate research programs that assures the most efficient use of every advertising dollar received.
TCLA also partners with the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau. 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. With more than 85% of all travel being planned on line, the website has been an integral part of TCLA’s comprehensive marketing plan. The CVB also attends upwards of 16 Sport and Travel Shows throughout mid-America answering questions about our destination and distributing Vacation Guides to potential visitors.