Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter
Greetings Industry Insiders,

Create Your Escape contest winner Kim Price of Illinois had a great time in Arkansas visiting attractions such as the Little Rock Zoo, Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Mountain Harbor Resort and Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines in Mount Ida, Magic Springs and Crystal Falls in Hot Springs and more.

Kim was impressed by The Natural State and thankful for the generosity our industry members showed her.   She says, and I quote, “[The vacation] was more than I ever expected… everyone was great… and we really enjoyed all the places we visited.”  In fact, Kim was so impressed that she is already planning a return trip in August. This is just the kind of visitor we’re after – one who is satisfied and plans to return -- a win-win for Arkansas.

Kim wasn’t the only special visitor we welcomed in June.  The Society of American Travel Writers’ Central States Chapter held its annual meeting in Little Rock, with the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism hosting – and they went away with a fantastic impression of our great state.  We hope they’ll spread the word about what Arkansas has to offer.  Learn more about their visit below.

Joe David Rice

SATW Central States Comes to Arkansas

The Central States chapter of the Society for American Travel Writers held their annual meeting June 18-21 in Little Rock.  Thirty-one journalists – along with spouses, photographers and associates representing travel in the United States – toured the city and participated in professional development seminars at the newly rebranded Marriott Little Rock downtown.

Twelve SATW members also joined pre- and post-event tours through sections of Arkansas.  Various trips guided by members of ADPT’s Communications section were conducted, including a journey through the River Valley and Ozarks (through Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Eureka Springs and Altus), a stint in the Arkansas Delta (Paragould, Stuttgart, Marianna and Pine Bluff) and a Ouachita and Timberlands circuit (Hot Springs, Mt. Ida, Murfreesboro, Hope, Texarkana, El Dorado and Bismarck).

The earliest stories from the conference and the tours are just now arriving.  Check out this online article by Diana Lamdin Meyer of Mojo Traveler on Jones’ Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna  and an article by Betsa Marsh of on Hillary Clinton’s fashion legacy in Arkansas.

Robison Named New Director of PCCUA – Grand Prairie Center

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas has announced Renee Robison as its new director.  The former group travel manager for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism started July 1 with the center.

Robison -- a 28 year veteran of the Arkansas tourism industry who has previously worked with the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce, the Pine Bluff Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Arkansas Hospitality Association – says she is very excited about her new role.  

The Grand Prairie Center is a mult-use facility that hosts cultural, social, civic, business, entertainment and educational events with an auditorium that seats 1300 before a state-of-the-art performance stage, and several salon- and classroom-style spaces for meetings.  For more information about the center, visit this website. 

New Water Park Open in Texarkana

Holiday Springs Water Park opened July 2 in the new Crossroads Business Park along Interstate 30.  The aquatic attraction is centered on the property, surrounded by six new hotels and plenty of space for future development.

The hydro-activity destination consists of a quarter million gallon wave pool (the largest in a 75 mile radius), the 42-foot high Texarkana Splash Mountain water play structure, five slides, a lazy river, the kid-friendly Monkey Island basin and an adult lagoon partially constructed from Arkansas-native stone.

While Holiday Springs is open, some areas are still closed to construction.  Future expansion has already been considered and planned.  For more information, check out the park’s website

Read About Arkansas

Here are some of the top stories in tourism as reported by the press.

Arkansas to Engage Fall Visitors Online Once Again

Starting in August, fall-focused online spots inviting visitors to enjoy Arkansas’s spectacular foliage will be running on outdoor and multicultural ad networks, general consumer sites such as Yahoo! and more.  The State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission approved the online campaign for Fall/Winter 2013-14 at its June meeting.

The campaign consists of 49% pre-roll video, 47% mobile advertising and 4% behaviorally targeted ads and text links.   In addition, Arkansas will receive 4.1 million no-charge bonus impressions, a value of more than $40,000.

Memorable Moments in Hotel Customer Service

Check out the Arkansas Hospitality Hot Tips blog for a roundup of great moments in guest service. While these examples relate specifically to hotels, they will get you thinking about how to have fun serving customers no matter what business you’re in.

While on the blog, feel free to share your stories about going the extra mile for your customers, or if you have been on the receiving end of truly exceptional customer service, tell us about it in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

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