| Jun 09, 2005

Feature article, June 9, 2005, 2005

Feature article June 9, 2005

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Making the Land O Lakes into a recognisable brand: Tourist Association adopts a five-year strategic plan

by Jeff Green

After an exhaustive consulting process, which included not only the organizations membership, but township councillors, media representatives, and non-member businesses, the Land O Lakes Tourist Association (LOLTA) identified five priorities for their efforts in the coming years.

Five priorities are identified in the Strategic Plan, but they all flow from the first priority: branding and visibility of the Land O Lakes region.


I view this as an acknowledgement that this particular region has the potential to be identified as prominently as the Niagara region, the Ottawa Valley, or the Muskokas. We could be referred to as the Land O Lakes Region from a great distance. There isnt any one community that can hold the interest of a visitor for several days on its own. We need to be able to expand on the diversity that this region offers, said LOLTAs Executive Director Terry Shea of the branding priority in the strategic plan.

Among strategies noted for increasing branding and visibility are: developing a storefront strategy for the Association; upgrading the website; creating a slogan; increasing the number of tourist booths by 1 per year for several years to cover all corners of the region; enhancing brochure and map racking; and increasing signage by two signs per year.

The second priority identified by the plan was to increase membership of LOLTA by 25% by the end of next year. Strategies for accomplishing this goal include developing a comprehensive benefit package for members and developing a recruitment plan.

The third priority, fostering cooperation throughout the region, ties in directly with the branding initiative. To accomplish this priority, LOLTA has set for itself the goal of entering into 15 joint initiatives per year involving partners, and finding Directors for the organization that represent a broad range of constituencies.

The fourth and fifth priorities are finding new funding sources and evaluating the organizations performance.

The strategic planning process was financed through a grant from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation under the Eastern Ontario Development Fund.

The strategic planning process was structured around three consultation sessions, two in Kaladar and one in Sydenham. A consultant from Queens conducted the sessions, wherein participants entered their responses to a series of queries into a networked laptop computer. The responses were compiled on the spot by the consultant and projected as slides as an impetus for discussion among the group.

The money we received allowed us to do an in depth study, allowed certain stipulations to be put in place for the process, so every consultation had the same structure as the others. It gave us solid results, said Terry Shea.

In the end, Terry Shea concludes, The board was not surprised by the findings. The real exciting thing is that with everybody working towards these same goals everyone feels its possible for this area to evolve and to be truly understood as the Land O Lakes.

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