The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center hosted the 3rd Annual Diamond Lakes Region Hospitality and Tourism Conference at DeGray Lake Resort State Park.
The conference, co-sponsored by the Diamond Lakes Travel Association, was a great opportunity for local leaders in the recreation and travel industry to connect and work on growing the industry in the region.
The conference began Wednesday evening with an interactive networking reception. The conference continued Thursday morning with registration and a keynote address which updated everyone on work within the Diamond Lakes Travel Association.
Jim Shamberger with Diamond Lake Travel Association and Lauren Euseppi with CJRW presented a review of what the area has to offer and a look at the visitor’s guide to be distributed next year. The new guide will feature two covers in an effort to focus on different aspects of seasonal tourism in the region.
The first cover focuses on Oaklawn Racetrack and will be distributed from January through March. The second cover features a smiling youth enjoying the activities at Mid America Museum in Hot Springs. This is the first year the visitor guide has featured two covers.
Diamond Lakes has printed 150,000 guides this year and has an aggressive social media presence as well with over 902,000 people reached so far this year. They also sponsored a fishing contest and a Summer Getaway Giveaway. There is also an upcoming Weekend Warrior Getaway planned for later this year.
In 2020, they are partnering with the Arkansas Bass Team Trail to sponsor a Diamond Lakes Tournament Series. They will also serve as a sponsor for a Big Al fish in the Big Bass event held annually in the area.
The first panel featured representatives from all five counties that make up the Diamond Lakes Region. Gail Pitts-Holloway, General Manager of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce, represented Montgomery County on the panel. She was joined by Clark County Judge Troy Tucker, Steve Arrison with Visit Hot Springs, Jennifer Eubanks from Hot Spring County and Will Martin who represented Pike County.
Each panelist spoke on what their county has to offer to the tourism and travel industry. Pitts-Holloway focused on the outdoor events featured throughout the year in Montgomery County.
Dave Meyer spoke to attendees about Google business services and how to optimize a business online.
A marketing panel featuring Chelsea Goza, Keegan Wright, Jennifer Hoyt and Ellen Stifler was also held.
The conference wrapped up with attendees breaking up into smaller groups for panel discussions focused on food and beverage, events and attractions, and lodging. Bill Barnes, owner of Mountain Harbor Resort was a panelist on the lodging panel.
For more information on the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center visit http://asbtdc.org.