Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

The Art of Arkansas: Little Rock Hosts the 31stAnnual Travel South Showcase

The Travel South Showcase will be held on February 17, 2013 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Travel South Showcase is a  regional appointment-style marketplace focused on increasing travel to and within the southern states. Showcase offers the most targeted opportunity for tour operators / wholesalers and travel service providers to meet face to face with southern travel suppliers.

Little Rock will host tour operators and travel leaders from 32 states. Before the Showcase begins, buyers will embark on different tours throughout the state. The Art of West by Northwest, The Art of Soil to Soul, and The Art of Natural Springs are the three pre-FAM tours that will be offered. The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau have composed 5 different city tours for the Travel South Showcase, The Art of Progress, The Art of Architecture and the Arts, Taste of the Rock, Little Rock at Your Leisure and Little Rock…with a Twist. For further information on the 2013 Travel South Showcase, you can visit .

Contact Renee Robison at Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1219 or

COVER’s First Activation a Success

Hurricane Isaac brought rain and wind to Arkansas.  It also brought the first emergency activation of the COVER program by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.  COVER – which stands for Communication of Vacancies Emergency Response Plan, was created in response to the influx of travelers during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  The system is activated when an emergency forces evacuation from surrounding areas into Arkansas.

With the threat of a large storm on the horizon, COVER was activated on Monday, August 27th.  Over the next four days, 85 lodging partners offered vacancies at hotels, motels, cabins, lodges,campgrounds and RV parks across the state. 

Through the week of activation, saw 11,067 page views, with 6,398 hitting the main page.  The remaining page views were click-throughs to different entrance points around the state,where lodging options were arranged by distance from each Arkansas Welcome Center.

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism shared COVER information with media in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Missouri. Coverage of COVER was picked up by all four Central Arkansas television stations; by television stations in Memphis and Shreveport; by print outlets; by the press associations and broadcast associations of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi; by the Louisiana Radio Network and by large and small market broadcasters over several states.  Broadcast interviews were recorded with KARK, Today’s THV, KARN and the Arkansas Radio Network, Grenville station WDMS, KASU and the Associated Press. 

ADPT also alerted evacuees and the press via a Twitter feed(@ArkCOVER) to vacancies at participating properties, best routes into Arkansas, construction updates, severe weather updates and general information with 189 Tweets.  The feed earned 68 followers and hundreds more via retweets and hash tag searches.

While the number of evacuees that took advantage of the system was small, Isaac gave the Department a chance to see just how well the program works.  If you have comments or suggestions on how to improve COVER, contact Kat Robinson at kat.robinson@arkansas.govor call (501) 682-7606.

Top Events Sought in the Southeast


The Southeast Tourism Society is looking for events to include in its Top 20 Events publication. Through a nomination process, the society chooses the top 20 events going on in the Southeast for each month of the year. The list of winners is published quarterly and distributed to more than 300 newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV stations, as well as 125 AAA publications.

Festivals and events in Arkansas are eligible for submission. Requirements include:

  • ·       1,000 in attendance
  • ·       3rd year in existence
  • ·       Payment of $20 nomination fee per event

The society strongly recommends providing supporting materials such as images, posters, brochures, press releases, news clippings and volunteer programs.

To submit an event, download a nomination form.  If you have questions, contact Suzanne Moon at 770-542-1523 or

Top 20 Events has been published for nearly 30 years. Current “Top 20 Events”are listed online.

Fayetteville Farmers Market Named a Nationwide Favorite

The Fayetteville Farmers Market has been recognized as the top market in the largest of four categories in American Farmland Trust’s fourth annual “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” contest.

Out of47,275 votes cast, the winning markets for each category are:

 Large Markets

Fayetteville Farmers Market, Fayetteville,Arkansas (1,439 votes out of 14,839votes cast)


Medium Markets

Winter Garden Farmers Market, Winter Garden, Florida (1,999 out of 12,667 votes cast)


Midsize Markets

Sulphur Springs Texas Farmers Market, Sulphur Springs, Texas (3,061 out of 14,503 votes cast)


Small Markets

Arlington Farmers Market, Arlington,Washington (325 out of 5,266 votes cast)


“The America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest is about celebrating the unique qualities of farmers markets throughout the nation and the important role that these markets play in keeping family farmers on the land,” said American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl.

The winners will be featured on and Food Network’s “FN Dish” blog. For more information, visit

Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau(LRCVB) Recognized

Meetings & Conventions magazine has awarded the LRCVB with a Gold Service Award. This prestigious honor recognizes convention and visitors bureaus that have excelled in the following areas: professionalism of staff, support on hotel and site inspections, assistance with ground transportation planning, guidance on local attractions and liaison with local vendors and services.

“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized as a 2012 Gold Service Award winner,”said Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Gretchen Hall. “We have a wonderful staff of professionals that work hard each day to make a difference in our local community through tourism promotion and the operation of our city’s public meeting facilities.”

M&C readers awarded 84 domestic and16 international CVBs and tourism boards with the Gold Service distinction.  

“To continually provide quality service to clients sets these superior bureaus apart. All of our Gold Service-winning CVBs know the value of creating a lasting impression can never be understated,” said Kirk Lewis, Meetings & Conventions’ publisher.

Winners will be featured in M&C’s Gold Awards issue published this November.

Online Content: Write it Right

Interactive Marketing Manager at Park City Mountain Resort and author of the “Resort Marketing” blog Eric Hoffman shares an infographic in a recent post that illustrates “15 Grammar Goofs” to avoid when writing for the Web. The article titled “Write it Right” is a great reminder that online content can be conversational and informal but still needs to be grammatically correct. Take a look.

Hospitality Hot Tip

Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and provide them with what they want. It makes sense.

-Robert Bowman, CEO Major League Baseball Advanced Media

Looking for a little inspiration or direction for your business? As Robert Bowman acknowledges, one of the best places to start is with your customer.

Domino’s Pizza took this idea to heart with their “Think Oven” campaign that launched earlier this year encouraging customers to submit suggestions on Facebook.  Find out more about this customer-driven,idea-generating promotion here.

Social Media Savvy

Exactly how do you view your mobile device (or, if you prefer,“cell phone,” though they are usually much more than phones these days)? Is it a way to keep in touch with friends?  A tool for doing business? A glorified Web browser?

New data released this summer at Blogworld & NewMedia Expo reveals that you may answer this question differently depending upon your gender.  According to a recent general U.S. population survey by IncSlingers and Qualtrics, women see their mobile devices as an “enabler for social interactions,” while men view it as a“practical tool.

Other interesting study findings:

·       58% of men use their mobile device in bed.

·       71% of men use their mobile device while watching TV.

·       53% of men use their mobile device while eating.

·       55% of women use their mobile device in bed.

·       64% of women use their mobile device while watching TV.

·       Men are more easily influenced by brands to download apps than women,

who are more influenced by friends.

·       Men are very likely to make a purchase via mobile based on ads they see on TV or on their mobile device, while women are less likely to do so.

·       In general, women use mobile devices to create and share social content, and they are less influenced by brands than men.

So, what does all this data mean for businesses? It means that business owners and managers should consider mobile when planning their advertising and marketing. Ask yourselves these important questions: Does your website work on mobile devices? Should you consider a mobile app? Should you explore ways to tie your traditional TV advertising to your online or social media presence?

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