Southwest Louisiana CVB

Positioning • Quantitative • Strategy

According to its website, “Contraband Days is one of Louisiana’s largest festivals and the City of Lake Charles’ oldest festival.” The 12-day festival traditionally has been scheduled on the first two weekends in May produced on the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds with some events occurring throughout the city. The website reports that over 100,000 people attend close to 100 events. With half a century under its belt, the themed pirate festival has not been gaining in number of visitors.

In recent years, the visitor profile reportedly had changed from a throng of young families to a slightly rowdier – and smaller – crowd. Suggestions to change fees, length and timing of the event have been voiced. And festival leadership does not have available a visitor profile  (to help market the event to potential sponsors) or an audience profile to determine who is attending the event demographically and what motivates their participation.

The quantitative study of 300 current, former and prospective visitors was designed to discover and define beliefs and attitudes of those who enjoy attending festivals and similar entertainment venues. The client wanted to better understand the attractiveness of services as well as barriers to attendance at this historic event.



Careful and thorough analysis of perceptions about the event alongside festival attendance patterns directed a new way of thinking about the event and its appeal. Pricing research allowed the client to craft tiered pricing that matched perceived value. Decisions regarding time of year and length of festival were established. Finally, marketing strategies and messaging were designed to reposition the festival to attract former and potential visitors while adding value for regular visitors.

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