Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

Late Summer Value Campaign Begins

On Monday, July 30, a new effort designed to build your business during the last two weeks of August called "Grown-up Getaways" launches. Parks and Tourism is investing more than $257,600 in cable television and radio messages inviting grandparents and couples traveling with or without grandchildren/children to visit for limited time offers and special packages.

Take advantage of this opportunity to build business in what has tradionally been a slow time for the industry by creating packages on For Grown-up Getaways, tailor your packages to appeal specifically to grandparents and/or couples traveling without children. Visit today to post your new packages.

The campaign starts July 30 and will run through August 12 on television and through August 26 on radio. Check out one of the TV spots.

Fayetteville Ranks 8th Among Best BBQ Cities developed a list of "Top 10 Best BBQ Cities," and the Ozarks college town of Fayetteville is number eight. The article says, "when residents aren't cheering for the hogs, they're eating them," referencing Bikes Blues and BBQ and the 14 barbecue restaurants listed on as support for this city's mouthwatering distinction.

Sassy's Red House, Lucky Luke's BBQ, Penguin Ed's and Whole Hog Cafe made the site's "don't miss" list. is a comprehensive online resource on more than 500 of America's Best Places to live, visit, work, play and explore. The staff of Livability has spent more than 20 years finding the good stuff in small to mid-sized communities all across America.

Online Information Travelers Find Useful

The U.S. Travel Association "Travelers' Use of the Internet" study that was released in May 2012 revealed how useful travelers find specific online information. Participants rated the following information "essential" or "useful:"

  • Where to stay overnight          79%
  • Which routes to take               74%
  • Attractions to visit                   73%
  • Places to visit                         70%
  • What to do                             69%
  • Choice of destination             67%
  • Where to eat                          64%
  • Where to shop                       56%

Keep these topics of interest in mind and take inventory of the data currently on your website, making sure the content travelers use for trip planning is front and center for site visitors.

Hospitality Hot Tip

"Look through someone else's eyes. Walk in someone else's shoes. Put yourself in their place." These ideas are vital to facilitating pleasant and effective business transactions. Visit the Hospitality Hot Tips blog to learn how to put yourself in yoiur guest's place.

Social Media Savvy

If you're a business with a social media presence, it will happen to you eventually:someone will post a negative, angry or even inappropriate comment. How you deal with this situation is critical and will go a long way toward determining how your business is perceived both online and off.

Connecting and engaging with customers highlights the "human side" of your company and helps establish trust and loyalty. Unfortunately, that means dealing with the challenges that come with such an approach. Also unfortuante are the ways many companies currently deal with negative posts: ignoring or deleting them. The mistake of thses "just go away" approaches is that it will likely anger or energize teh negative posters, ensuring that they will either return to cause more trouble or share their complaints about your company with all of their followers (it is worth noting that the average Facebook or Twitter user has 100+ friends or followers.)

The first rule for dealing with negative comments or complaints comes from Olivier Blanchard, author of "Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization," and it is a basic, well-known customer-service maxim: "The customer is always right." You can't "win" a battle with a Facebook discontent. In fact, you don't even want to fight, as this will only prolong the agony of a bad situation.

Other key rules that Blanchard suggests businesses follow in social media: Treat every customer like royalty, despite their behavior; the most effective weapon aginast angry customers is a calm, generous demeanor; the most effective weapon against a rude customer is politeness; and recruit your customers to help you craft a solution. Shifting an upset customer/follower from "complaint mode" to solution mode can change the conversation and show others how serious you are about social media and satisfying customer needs. In many cases, a negative post is an opportunity to build your following and customer loyalty. Responding properly the first time can mean that your fan or follower base may speak up on your behalf the next time.

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