Greetings Industry Insiders,
Arkansas is a cozy place to give thanks and spend time with family and friends during the holiday season. The winter air turns just chilly enough to give Southerners a reason to light a fire and linger over a warming mug of hot cocoa or cider. Another holiday tradition is piling in the car and traveling to see lighting displays.
Arkansas is once again coming aglow with millions of lights during the 17th annual Trail of Holiday Lights. The trail has been named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association and is a great way to encourage travel during this otherwise slow vacation time.
We’d like to thank each of the communities working hard to make the trail possible. Be sure to visit the “Enter Your Event” page on Arkansas.com to submit holiday events to get your city on the Trail of Holiday Lights online map. Also, share photos and comments on Facebook/ArkansasTrailofHolidayLights and on Instagram with the hashtag #arklights.
Also, guest service and social media tips are available to help make the holidays brighter for your guests and greener for your cash registers. Read below for the details.
Joe David Rice
Save the Date
It may be hard to believe but it’s almost Governor’s Conference on Tourism time. If you haven’t already done so, mark these dates on your 2013 calendar now. The 39th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism is March 3-4 in Hot Springs. Online registration will be live January 2.
Welcome to the Industry
On Tuesday, the Museum of Discovery's board of trustees announced Kelley Bass will become the facility’s next chief executive officer. Bass will assume the role held by Nan Selz, who will retire at the end of this year. Selz has been executive director for the past nine years.
Bass has served on the board of trustees for the past three years. He has been assistant dean for external affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology since February 2008.
Since reopening in mid-January 2012, the Museum of Discovery has welcomed more than 140,000 visitors, almost double the year-to-date visitors in 2010.
The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock has a new Museum Program Assistant: Nic Clark. Clark comes to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History with an extensive background in history and interpretation. Originally from the St. Louis area, he obtained his degree in history from Centenary College of Louisiana, in Shreveport, and has worked as a tour guide, historian and interpreter for major corporations, state and federal parks. Most recently, Clark worked as an assistant director for a museum and cultural heritage center in Louisiana.
Among his job responsibilities are assisting in the creation and implementation of all future events and programs that take place at the museum and will also serve as the resident educator for the museum.
Hospitality Hot Tip: Be Positive
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
A positive attitude is key to exceptional customer service. People remember how it feels to be treated well. Visit the Hospitality Hot Tips blog for pointers to help you step up your positive personality. It pays.
Social Media Savvy: Picture Social Media Success
It’s official: We’rein the age of “visual” social media. Data shows that images are growing in importance for social media users and marketers. It’s such a big deal, in fact,that Fast Company Magazine declared that “Facebook,Instagram and Pinterest have ushered in visual marketing as the breakout trend for 2012.”
According to research recently released by Facebook, users are uploading approximately 300 million photos to Facebook per day, up 20 percent from earlier this year. A study from analytics firm Simply Measure shows that, on Facebook, photos are liked two times more than text updates, while marketing firm Hubspot conducted research that revealed photo posts attract 104 percent more comments than the average post. Meanwhile, usage of the photo-sharing tool Instagram, purchased by Facebook in April, has increased an astounding 1,179% in six months.
In case you haven’t guessed, this all means that sharing images should be a critical part of your social marketing plan. However, other research shows that you shouldn’t abandon non-photo posts. Hubspot experts have shown that asking questions of followers or simply requesting “likes” and retweets can, in fact, lead to more interaction, likes and retweets.
So, get started posting images and monitor your social media to see how it works. Then experiment with questions and direct appeals.