Maybe you could boil the tourism industry down into two segments: where you’re going and how you get there — the journey and the destination. Between the two of them you have the “why question,” as in, “Why bother leaving your house?”
For Louisiana and Acadiana particular, the allure to travelers is an exotic land within reach. The region is unique. And if you land in the right spot — a coffee shop with a French table perhaps — you can be transported without going too far.
It isn’t as organic as it seems. It’s taken years to claw back this area’s French language from the brink of oblivion, and that work is far from done. If it disappears, that’s one less reason for folks to travel here.
Will McGrew has taken up the baton of decades of preservation work but with a for-profit twist. His company Tele-Louisiane is part production house, part content platform. It creates and distributes French-language content from across the state and aims to grow the broader cultural economy in Louisiana French dialects. In a sense, he’s seeding the market. Both creating and meeting a demand for Louisiana French film, shorts, documentaries and other media created in Louisiana.
Louisiana is the center point here. And Will intends to build a company that sources content from all the language cultures that make a home here. He founded Tele-Louisiane in 2018 and has steadily built a portfolio of original content for commercial and noncommercial partners. In 2021, he’s launching two new educational series marketed at the state’s French immersion programs.
Of course for a lot of people, it’s not about where you’re going, it’s how you get there. RV travel isn’t just a means of conveyance, it’s a way of life. And one that commands a surprisingly lucrative segment of the travel economy. The RV industry accounts for roughly $50 billion in economic activity in the United States. And about 9 million Americans own RVs.
The sector is also starting to get a bit younger, as those bellwether millennials have begun to buy the appeal of traveling the open road in what can amount to a studio apartment on wheels. But the RV industry has been missing the connective tissue that makes hotel travel easier in the information age. Apps like Kayak.com or Travelocity don’t exist to centralize booking for the RV market. And that’s problematic for travelers who, by nature, go with the flow and often need a place to anchor down at the last minute.
That’s where Spot2nite comes in. Created by Terry Broussard and his son-in-law, Spot2nite offers both RV parks and RV travelers a convenient way to connect and manage bookings. Unlike the centralized booking apps in the hotel and resort industry, Spot2nite allows site operators to keep their existing booking systems. Spot2nite has park clients in 11 states and is developing an Apple iOS based mobile app that will accelerate the company’s growth.
You can find photos by Jill Lafleur from this show at our website. Here’s some more lunchtime conversation about Acadiana tourism.