Destination Meetings-Eureka Springs
It seems as though the term “destination meeting” has been over- and misused much like the term “supermarket” being used by anyone who sells grocery items. However, one Arkansas Ozarks community is truly the “supermarket” of destination meetings in this region: Eureka Springs.
“You may have the finest, most unique structure anywhere,” explained Jodie English, director of sales here for the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America, “but if once you step outside that structure there is nothing to do -no nightlife, no shopping, etc.- the word ‘destination’ is misused. That’s why we can honestly say that a meeting here is indeed a ‘destination meeting’.”
Eureka Springs has been for more than a century a mecca for travelers to come and experience a variety of sights and activities. In fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Eureka Springs as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.
Today, local hotels like the Crescent are surrounded by abundant nightlife, more than 100 unique shops and working art galleries all in Eureka Springs’ historic downtown; not to mention the natural beauty of such “attractions” as The Ozarks, two huge lakes and three popular rivers one of which being the White River, known nationally for its trout fishing. For meetings requiring air service, two nearby airports, Northwest Arkansas Regional (XNA) and Branson Airport (BKG), serve the town and both only an hour away.
“Meeting planners are finding that by choosing a meeting destination like Eureka Springs, they have better attendance because delegates want to come to Eureka Springs as well as needing to come to the meeting itself,” said English. “This makes for more successful and productive meetings as well as making the meeting planners look like they really care for the people in their company, group or association; a real win-win situation.
“Furthermore, the Crescent, like the community, is a weekend resort destination for the individual traveler. This means the rates tend to be lower on weekdays while the same level of excellent service is provided; another plus for meeting planners. For those government meetings, most properties, including the Crescent, participate in the government per diem program, an additional savings opportunity.”
Eureka Springs has also recently become the epicenter of a new Northwest Arkansas dynamic: The Arkansas Art Trail. This trail, promoted as “where nature inspires art”, takes visitors in several different directions to see artfully picturesque natural beauty, art being created and performed, and the world’s greatest collection of American art at the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, only 45 minutes from downtown Eureka Springs. Numerous sites along the trail offer memorable day trips or off-site receptions.
“Besides being a mountaintop spa resort, our hotel, as several others in town, provides twenty-first century technology, meeting accoutrements and fabulous food service, all vital elements for the meeting itself. And, with all local properties being 100 rooms or less, a small meeting does not get lost in the echo chamber of a convention hall sharing space and attention with several other meetings going on at the same time. In other words, a small meeting gets exclusive treatment as ‘the only game in town’.
“The village of Eureka Springs has been carved out of natural, wooded, limestone hillsides, so adjacent outdoor settings are utilized rewardingly for breakouts, team building and casual gathering places. Our experienced meeting and convention properties here can also serve as the as the hub for in-town fun as well as excitement and adventures that surround this distinctive destination,” concluded English. “It only takes a meeting planner one visit to Eureka Springs to recognize and appreciate us as bona fide destination meeting site.”
For more information, one may go to arkansasmeetings.com or call English at 800-903-4940.