Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

Greetings Industry Insiders!

When we put together this newsletter, we realized it’s all about opportunities. Opportunities for exposure through our “Create Your Escape” campaign which started today, opportunities for recognition, opportunities to provide great customer service even when we’re busy and opportunities to make your brand more visible online.

We encourage you to read about all that’s going on, and then take action.


Joe David Rice
Tourism Director


Create Their Escape: Build Business by Building Visitor Engagement

A new program aimed at revving up interest in Arkansas from out-of-state visitors –and at introducing our new Trip Planner on– has just debuted.  Create Your Escape offers guests the chance to choose their favorite destination, lodging, attraction and dining experience and to win that exact vacation to the Natural State.

Here’s how it works:  A user visiting creates their ideal vacation by entering several variables.  They start with a keyword, such as “lake” or “zipline.”  Or they can choose a specific region or city, followed by a place to stay, the attractions may want to visit and restaurants for dining.  Once the user has made selections (at least three items), they click on the Submit To Win button.  After entering their name, address, phone number and email address, they click submit – and they’re entered to win!  Additional chances to win are afforded entrants who also share the contest on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The contest wraps up April 29th and a winner will be selected the next day.  The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism will arrange for the contestant to receive a two night stay for four at the destination indicated in the contest entry, with meals at the suggested restaurant(s) and vouchers to visit the attractions entered.  The winner and their selected vacation will be publicized via social media both before, during and after the trip, which must be concluded no later than June 3rd.

Now, here’s where your property can shine.  Utilize your own email newsletters, website and social media to create buzz about Create Your Escape.  Encourage former visitors to choose your property in their entry and see if their friends will do the same.  This will increase your chance to be one of the featured properties talked about on social media during the contest and in being one of the selected properties featured in our post-contest promotions!

For more information, check out the contest page at

This is also a great time to update your Deals and Coupons so that participants can find inspiration in prepackaged Arkansas vacations. Visit and look for the Partner Login to enter your deals.

New Museum, National Historic Site focus of April 16th Event in McGehee

Two sites commemorating the internment of Japanese Americans in Arkansas during World War II will be the focus of a special event April 16th in McGehee.  That’s when the new World War II Japanese American Internment Museum will be officially opened.

The museum will be unveiled at 1p.m. with an opening ceremony, which will be followed by a tour of the featured exhibit, “Against Their Will:  The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas.”  At 3:30 p.m., there will be a second ceremony at the nearby Rohwer Relocation Center National Historic Landmark to debut new outdoor interpretive kiosks. 

George Takei, who played Lt. Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek television series, will be a special guest at both events.  Takei was interned as a young boy with his family at Rohwer.  Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has also been invited to attend.

More information is available in the official release here.

Quality Service When You’re Swamped

“When you start viewing your customers as interruptions, you’re going to have problems.” – Kate Zabriskie

It’s easy to become overwhelmed or even discouraged when you have a line of people waiting for your help but keep that chin up. Multiple customers most likely means more money for your company. Check out the Hospitality Hot Tips blog for pointers on how to stay cool when business heats up.


The Basics of SEO

Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, is always a big topic in marketing circles. It’s a topic that a lot of business owners know about but, perhaps, don’t fully understand. You may be aware that SEO is about being found on the Web when people search for a topic, and that it’s important for a business website to be found easily and quickly through search engines. For example, it’s best if a hotel business page in a particular city is found on the first page of search results when someone is seeking lodging in that city.

At the recent South-by-Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, representatives from search engines Google and Bing addressed the issue of SEO and offered some advice. Simply put, they advise that words matter, titles matter, links matter and reputation matters. Be sure the words you use on your website – in body copy and headlines – are the keywords with which your business needs to be identified. In addition, you should try to attract links from other “high-quality” websites to your business site (high-quality sites being such things as media sites, industry sites, professional organization sites and so forth).

The Google and Bing representatives explained that  “reputation matters,” meaning that it is important that a business website have a good record of posting fresh, engaging content. Once you have a website, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. You should regularly look for opportunities to post new information, pictures and videos. Creating a blog can go a long way in helping with this effort, as it provides a place for regularly updated content, such as text, photos and other media.



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