Visitors and locals already "EatLafayette" and "Fly Lafayette." And a new holiday season campaign hopes they’ll also "ShopLafayette."

This initiative is a bit different from the previous eat and fly campaigns, both of which have enjoyed tremendous success, as it aims to increase top-of-mind awareness for Lafayette as a travel destination.

ShopLafayette promotes shopping at Lafayette area stores while increasing business at hotels and bed and breakfasts. The campaign targets out of market media to encourage new dollars and overnight stays, especially during the weekends when hotel occupancy is at its lowest.

“It is a natural extension of our marketing efforts,” Ben Berthelot, executive director for the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission, sponsor of the lafayette.travel website, says in a press release announcing the campaign. “When people travel they usually include shopping as part of their activities in a new town or region. ShopLafayette will promote the diversity of retail, overnight accommodations and events during the holiday season.”

The visitor to Lafayette is on average 45 years old, has an annual income of more than $77,000, and is married with children, according to the release. The top two activities Lafayette visitors enjoy is visiting with relatives and shopping, according to the Calendar Year 2011 Louisiana Travels America Visitor Profile Report.

The history, culture, food and music have been the central core of the Lafayette .travel efforts since its inception. The success of its EatLafayette campaign inspired the development of the Shop Lafayette initiative.

“We are launching a website, shoplafayettela.com, to be the central warehouse for listings,” says Berthelot. “This season it is free to all retailers so we can plant the seed for a bigger rollout in 2013.”

The campaign expects to increase overnight stays and help raise retail sales for local hoteliers and retailers. It promotes the various districts throughout the parish that showcase the variety and diversity of retailer establishments.

Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, will be leveraged to increase visibility for the campaign. The website and all social media will be maintained year round.

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