$6.7 Million Advertising Budget Approved for Arkansas Tourism

Sep 28, 2015

The Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission unanimously approved the 2016 Spring/Summer Advertising and Marketing Proposal presented by CJRW, the advertising agency of record for the Department of Parks and Tourism, and Aristotle, the interactive agency of record.

The comprehensive $6.7 million plan includes television, online, radio, magazine, out-of-home and newspaper advertising, as well as public-private partnerships, public relations support and industry outreach.

This plan represents the majority of the department’s spending on advertising for the year to bring visitors from out of state into Arkansas for vacations. Most of the planned ad buy will run in the spring months, when travelers are typically planning summer vacations.

Neighboring states remain the primary out-of-state target markets for visitors: Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Particular urban markets do well and will remain a focus: Dallas/Fort Worth, Springfield, Shreveport, Memphis, Kansas City, Chicago and Tulsa.

Because the plan calls for increased spending in “newer” advertising channels, the Commission saw research on travel consumer decision-making that reflected:

  • 60% of travel decision makers are female
  • 49% use print collateral and magazines
  • 40% use social media in trip planning
  • 41% seek reviews/ratings from user-generated content
  • 41% use smartphones to access travel information
  • 31% use official destination websites
  • 28% use tablets to access travel information
  • 21% use official visitor guides

Television ads will run on broadcast and cable in targeted markets, and will also run on Hulu digital television, PBS digital television, and connected television, like Yume, Roku, Crackle and Centro Video Audience Targeting. Magazine ads that include partnership opportunities for private operators will continue to be part of the media mix, along with radio and newspaper inserts. Digital engagement continues to grow in importance.

Because the groups of people who travel in Arkansas are becoming increasingly fragmented or niche audiences, there are both general interest ads that will run in these channels as well as ads targeting bicyclists, motorcyclists, outdoor enthusiasts, and arts and history lovers.