On March 23, the Lakeway City Council and Lakeway Visitors Commission unanimously agreed to endorse a brand statement prepared by marketing firm Northstar Destination Strategies.

Commission members selected the Nashville-based firm on July 8 to develop a branding campaign that would define the city's unique features.

Following about five months of research, Northstar proposed targeting an audience of families who are well-educated, affluent and enjoy an active lifestyle to visit the city, said commission chairman Sandy Cox.

She said the firm solicited resident input and proposed a high value, low volume approach to the campaign—focusing on the high quality consumer as opposed to bringing in buses full of tourists to the area's sites. Northstar also proposed a philosophy for the city—One Lakeway, one lake way, Cox said.

"We want to shift from looking at the sheer volume of visitors that are coming to Lakeway each year to looking at the benefit of a high value visitor," Northstar Community Brand Coordinator Kelley Brackett said. "We are seeking high yield guests that will spend more money, stay longer and make less of an impact on Lakeway's resources and also residents."

Stakeholders, including Erin Randell, Lakeway Resort and Spa marketing manager, discussed with commission members whether the lake should be the focus of the campaign due to its current low levels.

"Their platform is very similar to what the resort has in mind going forward," Randell said. "[Low lake levels] are a challenge the resort faces on a daily basis."

Northstar will develop concepts for the campaign, including a logo, before presenting the final brand report.

Convention/event center location proposed

During the March 23 meeting, Lakeway City Manager Steve Jones presented a proposal to negotiate with Stratus Properties, developer of the city's downtown center Oaks at Lakeway, to purchase all or a portion of a rear 8-acre site that may become a convention or events center.

He said staffers will review appraisals to determine a mutually agreeable price for the property and will continue to look for other sites as well.

The convention center, estimated to cost between $10 million and $12 million not including a land purchase, will be funded by the city's hotel occupancy tax but additional debt or bonds will need to be issued for the project, Jones said.

He said he has set up conferences with consultants to perform a market analysis to determine the type of programming that would fit the center and help in the facility design.