Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

Time is running out to register for the 39thAnnual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. This year’s event will be packed with spectacular seminars and networking opportunities.  Don’t miss the excitement!  Clear your calendar for March 3-5 and make your way to Hot Springs!

To register, click here. Once you’ve completed your registration, be sure to contact one of our partner hotels to seal the deal with accommodations.  The Embassy Suites and the Austin Hotel are already sold out, but there are still rooms at the following properties:

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa:  $110/nt 1-4 people 501-623-7771 or800-643-1502

Comfort Inn & Suites:  $109.99/nt queen/queen or standard king,501-623-1700 or 877-682-444

Comfort Suites:  $114/nt standard, $119/nt upgraded, 501-624-3800

Clarion Resort on the Lake:  $95/nt single or double, 501-525-1397 or800-432-5145

Country Inn & Suites:  $99/nt, 501-525-2225 or 866-430-2692 

LaQuinta Inn & Suites:  $99/nt, 501-520-6400

Hampton Inn: $114/nt king or two full, 501-525-7000

Read below to check out some of our speakers – and learn a little more about why Hot Springs is called the Spa City.

Head Honcho on Highways

This past November, Arkansans passed Issue 1, which directly supports highways, roads and streets throughout the state. At the 39thannual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Hot Springs, Scott Bennett, director of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department will discuss Issue 1 and how it affects us all. Join us for “Breakfast with Bennett” at 7:45 a.m. on March 5 for the update. To find out more about Mr. Bennett and Issue 1, check out the blog on

Bring In Bike Business

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 47% of Americans would prefer more bike facilities in their communities.  Bicycling is the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States.  For Joe Jacobs, it’s become more than a hobby. He’s provided technical assistance in the creation of the Bicycling in Arkansas brochure and recently began representing the department on the Governor’s task force on cycling, a group with the goal of improving the bicycle friendliness of Arkansas through state agency cooperation.

Jacobs will speak at the conference on the subject of how to become a bike-friendly business. Learn more about the marketing and revenue manager for Arkansas State Parks on our Travel Arkansas blog.

Turning a Small Budget into Big Returns

Figuring out how to target and reach a wide range of people across many changing demographic groups with a limited budget can be a daunting, yet necessary task. In the age of social media, finding the right balance between online marketing formats and traditional marketing platforms is important as well. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Learn about proven models for successful marketing from a panel of experts at one of two consecutive sessions on Monday at the conference. The discussion will cover marketing options and ideas for businesses with smaller budgets. “The Right Media Mix for Small Marketing Budgets” will feature Lynn Berry, director of public relations at Branson CVB;  Regena Bearden, vice president of marketing and public relations at Memphis CVB; Amanda Keeney, account executive at Mitchell Communications; Scott Crider, founder of Watchdog Causes; and Jim Karrh, president of The Marketing Doctors.The panel will be moderated by Brian Clark, a vice president with Cranford Johnson Robinson and Woods.  Find out more here.

Meet Miss Laura

Very few communities can say their visitor center is a former bordello.  In fact, Fort Smith maybe the only one in the country.  Miss Laura’s, originally Miss Laura’s Social Club, has gained notoriety of a different kind since it became the officially welcoming center in 1992.

Miss Laura is once again on the premises, this time portrayed by Carolyn Joyce, manager of group sales and marketing for the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission. Her portrayal of the frontier madam is a promotional tool used to introduce visitors, in a lighthearted and entertaining way, to the rich and important history of the building and the town of Fort Smith.

Miss Laura will be a part of a living history panel during presentations during the 39th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, March 3-5 in Hot Springs.  Don’t miss the opportunity to meet this colorful character from Territorial Arkansas.  Learn more about Laura – and Carolyn – here.

Lots of Ahhhhhs in the Spa City

Travelers have come to Hot Springs for decades and even centuries to experience the healing waters. Consider extending your trip by including a visit to one of the famed facilities on Bathhouse Row for a mineral bath or a spa service.  Zoie Clift shares some of what’s close at hand here.


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