Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

Greetings Industry Insiders!

The 39th Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism is less than two weeks away, and we hope to see you there for a great lineup of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.   Have you made your reservation?  Why not?

This year, we’ll be in Hot Springs, which was just named the tenth most romantic city in the United States by We hope the atmosphere moves you to share the love with aspiring hospitality students by participating in the Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation’s auction Monday night. We hear some highly sought-after items have been donated, so get your checkbooks ready.  

Also in this edition, there’s something we can learn from retailing giant Amazon’s first-class customer service efforts.


Joe David Rice

Tourism Director

Where Are You Going To Stay?

Rooms are quickly being snatched up by Governor’s Conference attendees.  Make sure you have a bed for your head and a landing spot – by clicking through and selecting your hotel here.  The Embassy Suites and the Austin have already sold out, by the way.

Bass Reeves Visits Hot Springs

Do you know who Bass Reeves is?  If you don’t, you’ll have a terrific opportunity to learn more about this larger-than-life lawman at the 39th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Find out why he is legendary in both history and law enforcement and his connection to Arkansas. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to meet Reeves’ alter ego, T. Baridi Nkokheli’s at the conference. His living history interpretation comes complete with full period clothing and deputy gear, including a Colt .45 holstered on his hip and an 1873 Winchester rifle in his hand.  In recognition for all his hard work, Nkokheli is a Henry Award finalist this year in the Outstanding Volunteer Service category. Learn more about the man and the legend he portrays, here

What’s the Economic Forecast, Jeff?

Jeff Collins has worked for the last 14 years in the State of Arkansas to promote economic development. The co-founder of Streetsmart, a real estate data research company that works with state banks to mitigate risk from commercial and residential real estate lending, also authors The City Wire’s Compass report and works with Fortune 1,000 companies to uncover profit opportunities.  Find out what he has to say about Arkansas’s economy and how tourism figures in, at Monday’s partner’s lunch.

Support Hospitality Students While Snagging Sweet Auction Items

In conjunction with the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the Arkansas Hospitality and Tourism Education Foundation Auction will take place Monday, March 4 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Bid on items ranging from airline vouchers to Arkansas getaway trips to advertising opportunities for your business. Last year’s auction was one of the most successful to date raising more than $80,000 to fund scholarships for deserving hospitality and tourism students.

What’s in this year’s auction?  Everything from Native American arrowheads to golf balls, rugs to jewelry and even a loaf of bread delivered to your home every day for a year.  Check it out!

To attend the Governor’s Conference and auction, register here. To donate auction items, complete the Donation Registration Form by Friday, February 22.

A Look at Amazon’s Customer Service Strategy

When it comes to implementing a customer service strategy that pays, one online retailer has done it very well. With CEO Jeff Bezos captaining the ship, Amazon keeps customers top-of-mind and costs to a minimum – and in some cases, takes extreme measures to do so. What does the e-commerce giant have to show for it? For starters, its stock is up 397% in the last five years.

What does this have to do with you? While Amazon is vastly different from an Arkansas vacation hideaway, there’s a lot to be said for a mentality that puts customers first every step of the way. And like Amazon, your business will most likely reap the monetary rewards of having its focus in the right place – on the consumer. Take a look at the full article for details on how Amazon actually puts the customer first.


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