Little Rock, Ark (March 11, 2022) — Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) has released its 2021 annual report, reflecting the city’s performance as a leisure and business travel destination in the wake of a global pandemic.
Though 2021 began on the heels of the greatest disruption to the travel industry in decades, the advent of vaccines allowed for a resurgence of leisure and business travel. Little Rock advertising & promotion (A&P) tax collections rose to $14.8 million, a 23% increase over 2020.
Throughout the year, the marketing & communications team continued to position the city as a leisure destination but put additional focus on cyclists, LGBTQ, and Black travelers. These three niche markets were supported by targeted campaigns that were constructed with input gleaned from LRCVB-led focus groups. The use of these local focus groups gained national attention for their ability to grow community engagement.
The operations division continued to juggle covid-related event cancellations but welcomed the return of many in-person events. Keeping client safety at the forefront, the team offered customers an array of pandemic-related safety protocols to ensure the safest environment for each attendee and event.
Though the pandemic never fully stopped the LRCVB’s sales efforts, 2021 saw the Bureau’s sales team return in-part to their busy schedule of attending face-to-face sales events and trade shows on behalf of the city, an effort that was rewarded with numerous bookings for future business.
These efforts set Little Rock on the road to full economic recovery. Compared to 2020, total lodging tax revenues grew 48%, and prepared food tax revenues increased 18%. Lodging is now only 21% behind 2019’s numbers, while prepared food collections were up 4%. While LRCVB facility management revenues were up 44% year-over-year, this category is still lagging $2.3 million behind 2019. While these are tremendous strides forward, a complete recovery will take time. Download the full annual report here. An overview video may be viewed here, as well.
2021 Key Highlights:
- 351 events held at LRCVB managed facilities – up 135% from 2020
- $14.8 Million in A&P prepared food and lodging tax collections – up 23.3% from 2020
- 114 future meetings secured with an estimated $17.3 million direct spending impact
- 10,500+ fan and follower growth on social media
- 1.1 million unique website visitors
Little Rock Awards & Accolades:
- MOST ADMIRED CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU – Arkansas Money & Politics
- PLATINUM CHOICE AWARD – Smart Meetings
- BRONZE ADRIAN AWARD – Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International
- 2021 READERS’ CHOICE AWARD (9X WINNER) – ConventionSouth
- LITTLE ROCK METRO NAMED TOP 10 (OF 100) BEST SUMMER TRAVEL DESTINATIONS – WalletHub.com
- HILTON GARDEN INN LITTLE ROCK DOWNTOWN RECEIVES
- 2021 READERS’ CHOICE AWARD – ConventionSouth
- MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY #6 OF TOP 10 BEST CHILDREN’S MUSEUMS – USA TODAY/10Best
- LOBLOLLY NAMED BEST DESSERT IN ARKANSAS IN “BEST DESSERT IN EVERY STATE” LISTING (CHOCOLATE LOVERS BROWNIE SUNDAE) – EatThisNotThat.com
- PYRAMID ARTS BOOKS & CUSTOM FRAMING LISTED AS ONE OF 10 BEST’S “20 UNIQUE BOOKSTORES” – USA TODAY/10Best
- 8 OF 10 OF “THE BEST FIRST-TIME MARATHONS” – Runner’s World
- ARKANSAS FOOD HALL OF FAME WINNER STAR OF INDIA – Department of Arkansas Heritage
- CAPITAL HOTEL RECEIVES 2021 READERS’ CHOICE AWARD – ConventionSouth
- FITTEST CITY IN ARKANSAS - INSURIFY’S FITTEST CITIES OF 2021 – Insurify
- WILLIAM J. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER RECEIVES 2021 READERS’ CHOICE AWARD HONORABLE MENTION – ConventionSouth