The 65th annual Arkansas Hospitality Association 2009 Convention and Trade Show, Wild About Arkansas, is the state hospitality industry’s leading event to explore the hottest trends happening now, as well as the trends of tomorrow. A myriad of hospitality product innovations will be showcased throughout the exhibit floor, in interactive culinary demonstrations and education sessions led by industry leaders and the businesses that cater to this industry, September 23-24 at the Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center. Attendees will get a year’s worth of ideas for their businesses that will be sure to wow the guests in their dining rooms, hotels, accommodations, private parties, weddings and any other restaurant, lodging or travel venue.
"The AHA Show is the best event in the Arkansas hospitality industry to spot the hottest up-and-coming industry trends," said Montine McNulty, Executive Director of the AHA. "To stay ready for action, this industry must satisfy consumers’ constantly changing needs by keeping their menus fresh, their accommodations inviting and tourism appealing. Wild About Arkansas will offer attendees ideas and products they can take home and apply to their own businesses, to keep tourism in Arkansas exciting and competitive."
“In Arkansas, we believe we’ll start seeing some distinct trends in the hospitality industry within the next six to twelve months, in response to consumers’ changing needs,” continued McNulty. “We expect to see more and more people staying closer to home for vacation due to lifestyle changes influenced by the current economic situation, which makes it even more important for our state to offer fresh and helpful ideas for ‘stay-cations’. To attract more attention, businesses should expect to respond to consumers’ increasing interest in food trends, offer fun, seasonal and holiday inspired drinks, increase awareness regarding the natural local beauty to be enjoyed, accent properties with vibrantly colored art, and support the local economy by incorporating fresh and locally grown products into menu items.”
Many free education sessions at the Trade Show and Convention will focus on capitalizing on these and many other trends for the coming year. Attendees will receive exclusive access to top industry and industry supporter experts who will deliver advice on leading food and beverage, travel and tourism, promotion and exposure, equipment, and accommodation trends and culinary techniques. Included in these sessions will be:
• Food and Wine Technique;
• Budgeting in a Recession;
• Group Travel Trends;
• Welcome to Arkansas Campaign Overview;
• Public Relations for the Industry;
• Food and Wine Pairing;
• GM Roundtable Discussions.
Not only will the show’s participants gain knowledge and resources to respond to industry trends with aggressive business decisions, they will also be entertained. Highlighted on the Tradeshow floor will be a variety of live demonstrations and exciting competitions, including the annual Iron Chef Competition, a bed making competition, bartending competition, ice sculpting demonstration and much more. The first day of the show will culminate with the annual AHA Awards Gala, where the Arkansas Hospitality Association will install the new officers for the 2010 board and present awards to recognize the show's top exhibitors. Ticketed guests will enjoy a delicious dinner and live music entertainment by Sean Rock Trio. Wine will also be served, courtesy of Glazer's Distributors.
The 65th Annual Arkansas Hospitality Association Trade Show and Convention, Wild About Arkansas, is the largest hospitality event in the state. Joining together to create this event are the Arkansas Lodging, Travel and Restaurant Associations to support these important industries. Showcased at the event will be the newest products and services available, educational seminars to gain new skills and explore new business opportunities, and entertainment. Attended by thousands of delegates, the Arkansas Hospitality Association Trade Show and Convention is the premier briefing destination for suppliers of industry products and services and those who want to learn about the current happenings and future trends in the industry. All participants, including businesses considering their first steps into exhibiting their competitive value, will benefit from participating in this exciting program and showing their support of Arkansas tourism.
As in previous years, AHA’s Trade Show and Convention attracts an impressive group of sponsors and exhibitors. This year, the Wild About Arkansas Show is sponsored by Partners in Hospitality Penman PR, Sysco, Coleman Dairy, Delta Supply Co., Ben E. Keith, snerQ Productions, Glazer’s Distributors, Arkansas Business, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, DoubleTree Hotel and Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, and by the Convention Sponsors North Little Rock Visitor’s Bureau, Southland Gaming and Racing and the Arkansas Beef Council. A growing number of industry leaders are already slated to exhibit and space continues to go quickly.
About Arkansas Hospitality Association (AHA)
The Arkansas Hospitality Association (arhospitality.org) is the official voice of the restaurant and entertainment, hotel and lodging, and travel and tourism industries in the state of Arkansas. The association serves as an umbrella organization for the Arkansas Lodging Association, the Arkansas Restaurant Association and the Arkansas Travel Council. Members include restaurants, bars, hotels, lodges, resorts and other businesses related to travel, tourism and entertainment, as well as companies who do business with them.