Fort Smith and our region benefit tremendously from conventions and events brought to our area. Attracting and retaining these happenings relies on the efforts of everyone in the hospitality industry.
Our newest Hometown Hospitality Heroes are Bill Ladd, this year’s President of the Arkansas Realtors Association (a native of Fort Smith) and Larry Rhodes, Convention Chairperson for the 2014 ARA Convention, “Saddle Up, Today’s Vision is Tomorrow’s Reality” which was held in Fort Smith September 14-17, 2014.
Bill and Larry are both united in their sentiments when they stated, “This year’s convention was a tremendous success. Many attendees and vendors said it was the best conference they had ever attended.” With 350+ attendees and 64 vendors including remodeling contractors, title companies, banks, mortgage companies and various home improvement craftsmen to say the event was well attended and diverse is an understatement. Larry said, “Our local Realtor affiliates really stepped up too support us, to help make the Fort Smith convention a big success.”
Bill said it was the best attended convention in 10 years and the last time the convention was held in Fort Smith. Bill Ladd was responsible for working with the realtor’s board to return to Fort Smith.
This year’s convention was the first realtor’s convention to provide a mobile app that helped to better connect all the attendees, speakers and vendors. The application included such features as the convention agenda, speaker’s and their backgrounds, an activity feed, awards and recognition, exhibitors list, sponsors, realtor of the year and more. People who downloaded this application can remain in contact via this app until the next year’s convention. This is an element that was so successful; they plan to continue it next year.
The opening night party was a unique affair held in the Park at West End and on the lawn behind 21 West End who catered the event. Both men felt that this was a remarkable setting that set the tone for a festive and productive conference. Everyone enjoyed great food and the “entertainment magic” that the park at West End offers in the evening. The convention agenda also included ARA committee meetings, speakers, vendors, receptions, Realtor of the Year banquet and dance, and the 2015 Inaugural banquet.
Room nights generated by Arkansas Realtors Convention were about 350 which resulted in a Direct Economic Impact of $52,500 the total economic impact created by the convention is approximately $157,500.
Fort Smith thanks Bill Ladd and Larry Rhodes for bringing The Arkansas Realtors Association Convention to our area!!!