Greetings Industry Insiders!
We’re in the middle of winter in Arkansas, but whenever January rolls around, we in the tourism industry are already thinking about the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Maybe it’s because the magazine deadlines for spring ads are already here (now is the time to consider participating in Arkansas’s magazine co-ops, by the way) or maybe it’s plain wishful thinking with all this cold weather.
Regardless, we’re already busy preparing for a successful year. The Commission just granted approval for an online advertising plan that will hit the marketplace in March. Read more details below.
Also, special thanks to the Arkansas wine producers who have been working with the Highway Department concerning the Arkansas Wine Trail. We appreciate your efforts to expand on our unique tourism product by designating various wineries around the state with highway signs.
And just a reminder… rooms at the hotels for each year’s Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism book quickly. Be sure to click the link below and select where you’re staying while we’re all in Hot Springs.
Joe David Rice
Online Registration for Governor’s Conference Underway
Did you know you can register for the 39th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism online? Our newly designed event microsite allows you to reserve your spot at the state’s premier tourism event without leaving your chair. Pay by credit card, check or purchase order and save $30 over at-the-door prices.
While you’re at it, check out a preview of the event! The Conference Preview covers the schedule for the event, including informative speakers and must-attend happenings. Discover the host city of Hot Springs and find out what you need to do to make a donation to the 2013 Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation auction. And while you’re at it, be sure to choose the hotel you’d like to stay at during the conference and make your reservation. You can do that by clicking here. It’s all right at your fingertips, at Arkansas.com/governors-conference.
Governor’s Conference Spotlight: Larry Foley
Arkansas native and Emmy award-winning documentarian Larry Foley has a unique insight into our state. The Henry Award winner’s projects include “The Buffalo Flows,” “Charles Banks Wilson – Portrait of an American Artist” and “When Lightning Struck: Saga of an American Warplane.” Foley will speak at the Arkansas Industry Luncheon on Tuesday of Governor’s Conference about what he’s learned through the documentary film process. To learn more about the University of Arkansas broadcast journalist professor, check out Zoie Clift’s story on the Travel Arkansas blog..
New Marina to Offer More For Arkansas River Boaters
A new waterborne facility will soon expand the recreational resources of boaters on the state’s largest river. The Rockwater Marina is days away from its first phase of construction.
Buoyant modules are on stand-by at the RV park on North Little Rock’s side of the Arkansas River. They’ll be assembled over the next few days under the I-30 River Bridge and pushed upstream to their anchoring destination, a jetty parallel to the Riverside at Rockwater development off Rockwater Boulevard, where that thoroughfare meets the River Trail. Over the next few months, the floating marina will be augmented with boat slips, a store, a fueling station and hookups for city amenities such as electricity, ATT U-Verse and other utilities.
When completed, Rockwater Marina will feature 136 residential slips, which will be able to berth boats up to 90 feet in length. The Marina will also include 32 transient slips for boats that are floating the Arkansas River that want to tie in, allowing those waterway travelers a chance to enjoy the skyline. Concierge services will deliver amenities such as groceries and supplies, and the nearby River Trail will provide users with a chance to explore both sides of the river.
For more information, check out the Rockwater Marina website.
TripAdvisor Honors Two Arkansas Properties With Traveler’s Choice Awards
Two Arkansas lodging properties – the Capital Hotel and 1884 Wildwood Bed and Breakfast — have been named among the best in the nation by TripAdvisor for 2013. The world’s largest travel website chooses their Traveler’s Choice Award winners based on reviews and opinions submitted customers or more than 650,000 hotels in 2012. Read more about the accolade on our Travel Arkansas blog.
Spring Break Dates Announced
Wondering when to expect those out-of-state guests for Spring Break? Here's a handy list of dates.
Texas: March 9-16
Missouri: March 9-16 and March 16-23
Oklahoma: March 18-22
Louisiana: March 23-30 (LSU March 30-April 6)
Tennessee: March 9-16
Mississippi: March 9-16
Here in Arkansas, public schools are out the week of March 18-22.
Arkansas Continues to Reach Potential Travelers Online
The State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission approved a more than one million dollar online advertising campaign for Spring/Summer 2013 at its January 17 meeting.
The ads complement the “Create Your Escape” print and television campaign that will be in the market at the same time.
Ads featuring stunning photography and headlines specifically tailored for online audiences encourage potential visitors to break free from the mundane of the everyday and escape to Arkansas for a vacation.
Beginning in March, ads will appear on general sites ranging from Yahoo! and MapQuest to niche sites including Smithsonian and Gorp. Fifty percent of the campaign is comprised of pre-roll video.
Gain National Exposure with A Small Budget
Magazine cooperative advertising opportunities are still available to the industry in key consumer and group tour magazines this spring and summer. Don’t miss your chance to gain exposure in national, state and regional travel publications for reduced rates.
The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa has participated for several campaigns. Hotel General Manager Bob Martorana said, “The program gave us affordability and tracking on the leisure traveler. The spring/summer campaigns have averaged 1,500-2,300 [responses] each year.” The Hot Springs landmark is already planning to participate in the upcoming co-op opportunities this spring.
To learn more about the magazine co-op advertising options that are available now, please contact Linda Scroggin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-975-7285.
Social Media: What 84% of Companies Aren’t Doing But Should
Are you using social media outlets to stay in touch with your customers and build stronger relationships with them? If you’re not now, you should be, and you probably will be within a few years. A recent survey of 1,700 corporate CEOs by IBM reveals “social media will be the most important technology channel used by companies to engage with their customers within three to five years.” According to the survey results, only 16 percent of companies use social media as their “primary means of interacting with customers,” but that is expected to grow.
What can you do for customers through social media? You can get direct feedback on new products, changes to menus or service offerings, physical facility updates and more. You can respond to requests and questions and, yes, even complaints. A quick response to a complaint can turn a negative into a positive by calming or satisfying the dissatisfied guest and highlighting your business’s concern for customers’ needs. In addition, you can turn a dissatisfied consumer into an online advocate who shares positive service experiences with friends and connections online.