The new year will bring change for the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). And it’s all good.
A new look
As the destination marketing organization for North Little Rock, we are excited to announce that we will debut a new brand in January 2020, hitting the ground running with a new creative direction on all marketing and advertising materials. The CVB is planning a brand announcement for mid-January. The new logo will be seen on the North Little Rock Destination Guide, a new brand video, North Little Rock CVB’s website, trip-planning app, in-market and out-of-market print and digital advertising, social media, and in the new North Little Rock Welcome Center at 600 Main Street. The welcome center, which will have local and North Little Rock branded items for sale, is slated to open in February 2020.
“We’ve already been working with the interior designers on ways to show off the new look in the CVB offices and welcome center,” said Karen Trevino, Senior Vice President & COO. “We will be visible and eye-catching to drivers and pedestrians along Main Street. We will attract foot traffic in the doors, help visitors and fill the need for more retail options downtown.”
A new perspective
It’s more than just a new logo: the new brand will help the CVB to introduce and reintroduce North Little Rock as a destination for visitors. The new brand comes after a year-long destination market research project with Gray Research Solutions out of Nashville, Tennessee, and a six-month rebranding process with Stamp Idea Group out of Montgomery, Alabama. The research and branding processes included interviewing guests at North Little Rock lodging properties, visitors at local attractions, focus groups with CVB stakeholders, confidential surveys and analyzing industry trend reports.
“Everyone was so open about sharing their perceptions of North Little Rock, what our strengths and opportunities are as a destination,” said Stephanie Slagle, Marketing Director. “Just having everyone in the same room, to bounce around ideas, was incredible. We really do have some of the most passionate, creative people on the North Little Rock tourism team – not just our staff, but hotels, restaurants, attractions, community members and local leaders. Together, we’ll accomplish some amazing things to enhance visitor experience in 2020 and beyond.”
A new strategy
The North Little Rock CVB markets and promotes North Little Rock as a destination for leisure travel, reunions, meetings, sports events through marketing, advertising and direct sales. For example, in 2018, the CVB assisted in bringing more than 50 sports events to North Little Rock with an economic impact of $6.75 million. In 2020, North Little Rock CVB will have a stronger focus on attracting and assisting high school and class reunions to North Little Rock.
Did you know? The tourism industry in North Little Rock employs more than 3,400 and visitors spend almost $500 million annually. Every year, visitors save each North Little Rock household $314.49 in county taxes and $700.49 in state taxes.
The new brand is the latest in a series of updates from North Little Rock CVB in its efforts to attract and engage visitors. In early 2019, the CVB launched a new, mobile-friendly site with comprehensive events calendar and engaging content. The website saw a 549-percent increase in new users over 2018, particularly users outside of central Arkansas. Six months later, the North Little Rock CVB launched a new trip planning widget and app with VisitWidget to better assist visitors looking for information online. The app is free and available for download in Apple Store and Google Play.
A new venue
Also new for the North Little Rock CVB in 2020: managing the newly opened Argenta Plaza in downtown North Little Rock, just a block from its new offices. Erica Goss, the CVB’s Sales & Events Director, will be responsible for programming and scheduling public and private events in the 31,000-square-foot space.
“We have many many years of event experience under our belt,” Goss said. “We’re already working with organizers for 2020 events and beyond. Especially after the highly-successful Northern Lights Festival this past November, people have seen firsthand the opportunities the space offers. The stage, lighting, layout, the unseen conveniences like tent tie-downs, were all carefully designed for events.”
The Northern Lights Festival, held Saturday, November 30, brought an estimated 10,000 attendees to downtown North Little Rock to experience Argenta Plaza and the Argenta Arts District.
All in all, 2020 will be a year of positive change for tourism in North Little Rock, with an influx of new and improved dining; a packed event calendar; and more synergy between lodging, attraction, entertainment and restaurant partners in North Little Rock. The new brand, which will be shared with partners before the January 2020 launch, is the metaphorical string tying it all together into a cohesive experience.
“North Little Rock is unique in many ways and the CVB’s new logo captures the spirit of our city,” said Bob Major, President & CEO. “We are up to something and want both visitors and locals to be a part of the fun things happening in North Little Rock.”