Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

New Arkansas Marketing Campaign Approved

The State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission approved a $6.2 million advertising and marketing campaign for Spring/Summer 2013 at its September 20 meeting.

The new branding effort titled “Create Your Escape: Marketing Arkansas to Today’s Traveler” is dynamic, comprehensive and innovative, using traditional and cutting-edge approaches to reach our consumers.

Ads featuring stunning photography and video encourage potential visitors to break free from the mundane of the everyday and escape to Arkansas for a vacation.

“Arkansas has mapped out the perfect escape route with our latest marketing campaign,”said Tourism Director Joe David Rice. “ Consumers will be engaging with our brand through television, online, magazine and radio ads like before, and for the first time ever, we’re giving potential visitors platforms to interact with our brand.”

Marketing recommendations were based on research that pointed to the changing way consumers are receiving messages. New media were proposed including Engage TV,which allows audiences to interact with the Arkansas tourism brand through their cable boxes.

An exciting new social engagement strategy involving a series of tightly targeted video messaging to involve and entertain those looking for a unique, authentic and memorable vacation experience was also approved.

Through this engaging video promotion, consumers will be invited to vote for potential trip itineraries and then enter to be selected for one of the winning trips. Documentary-style footage of the winning contestants filmed during their prize trip to Arkansas will be hosted online and shared through multiple social platforms to promote the “Escape” messaging and engage followers/fans.

And point of view videos on will be available for those who need a vacation but have been unable to make a physical escape. These first-person videos will show different activities in Arkansas ­– taking a boat ride, traveling on a scenic rural road, hiking/biking in the mountains – and will allow users to choose the direction the action takes next.

“Even if travelers can’t get away this year, we hope they’ll have fun and feel rejuvenated by our brand through the point of view videos. We suspect they’ll remember how Arkansas made them feel and consider us when it comes time to book a trip,” said Rice.

Arkansans Work to Keep Arkansas Beautiful

Arkansans have reported more than 55,000 incidences of littering since the 2004 inception of the Arkansas State Highway Department’s toll-free Litter Reporting Hotline (866-811-1222),averaging more than 6,000 calls a year.

“Reporting an observed litter violation is quick, simple and anonymous,” said Robert Phelps, director of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, which helps promote the Litter Hotline.“With the help of conscientious individuals, we can continue to raise awareness about the impact of littering on our environment and the quality of life in The Natural State.”

Motorists who spot littering in Arkansas are encouraged to report the situation by calling the 24-hour hotline.Callers will be asked to anonymously provide the license plate number, make and color of the vehicle, location of the incident and type of litter involved. The Governor’s Council on Litter Law Enforcement will send a letter to the vehicle’s registered owner reminding them of Arkansas’s litter law, informing them of the consequences to our state and encouraging them to properly dispose of trash.

Keep Arkansas Beautiful has recently hired Elizabeth “Liz” Philpott as volunteer services coordinator.Philpott will manage, develop and implement programs and events to inspire and educate individuals to help reduce litter and recycle.

Plant Trees to Grow Tourism

Research from the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University, along with the Division of Forestry at West Virginia University, shows that urban trees can enhance an individual’s tourism experience by helping generate a positive image of the city. Landscaping was also shown to affect tourists’ consumption behaviors and visitation intention.

The Arkansas Urban Forestry Council (AUFC) is holding an all-day workshop Thursday, October 11 in El Dorado to share how properly selected and placed trees can attract businesses and visitors, encouraging economic development and ultimately increasing a city’s tax base.

Attendees will learn how to develop a landscape ordinance, design streetscapes and implement tree projects similar to successful examples from several Arkansas communities.

The workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at El Dorado’s City Hall. Registration is open through October 4 and is $20 for AUFC members, $35 for non-members and $10 for municipal representatives. Lunch is provided.

To register or learn more about the AUFC, visit or contact Cathy Slater at 800-958-5865 or


Garvan Woodland Gardens will Sparkle with the Unique Art Glass Creations of James Hayes

From May 1 through September 30, 2013, Garvan Woodland Gardens will sparkle with the unique art glass creations of James Hayes splashed across the 210 acre peninsula on the shores of Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs. Hayes, a Pine Bluff native, will begin in January 2013 to create approximately 225 pieces of multi-colored art glass in a myriad of shapes and styles to adorn and delight visitors to the Gardens.

The installation will occur during the second week of April, with a host of grand opening events to follow. Many of the art pieces will be available for sponsorship or purchase. Contact Garvan Woodland Gardens at 501-262-9300 or 800-366-4664 for more information.

Social Media Savvy

Earlier this year, Google commissioned Ipsos MediaCT, an independent marketing research company, to conduct a study of U.S. travelers. That report, “The Traveler’s Road to Decision,” was released in August and highlighted the importance of the Internet and online video.

The study revealed that 83 percent of leisure travelers and 76 percent of business travelers plan their trips online. It also showed that 89 percent of leisure travelers watch online video when travel planning, and an amazing 93 percent of business travelers watch online video. In fact, travelers watch online video in all phases of travel planning. Some 66 percent watch videos online when they are “thinking about taking a trip,” and 64 percent watch them when they are“choosing a destination.”

In addition,research has shown that pairing a television advertising campaign with online video advertising boosts the reach and efficiency of television advertising. A study by ratings agency Nielsen and online video network YuMe revealed that a combination TV and online video advertising strategy can increase the number of people reached by brand messaging by as much as 14 percent and the frequency with which they are exposed to a brand’s message by 18 percent.  A separate survey showed that the average TV campaign has about 50 percent reach, but that the addition of online video placement increases this reach to almost 60 percent.

So, those in the travel industry should strongly consider the use of video in promoting properties, services or destinations. Tips and advice for creating online video are easy to find through online search, and offers a few helpful ideas here.





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