SOURCE: Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Arkansas The Natural State

October 16, 2009 15:24 ET

Technology, a Natural for Arkansas Tourism

LITTLE ROCK, AR--(Marketwire - October 16, 2009) - The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has embraced cutting edge technology by utilizing the latest in mobile linking software. On Oct. 1, 2009, the Tourism Division introduced Quick Response (QR) codes into all social marketing efforts. QR codes, or mobile tagging, allow visitors to take advantage of URL shortcuts to travel information on travel in The Natural State. QR code technology originated in Japan in the late 1990s and is primarily used in the promotion of retail products. American businesses are starting to realize the benefits of using mobile tagging applications. Recently QR codes appeared on billboards in New York City's Times Square, and were seen on the scoreboard during an NFL football game.

QR Code Technology: How It Works

This code uses two-dimensional graphics to form a bar code image. Information such as Web addresses, text, pictures, and maps are encrypted into the image. This image, a black and white patterned square, is placed in the print or Internet advertisement. Consumers scan the image via a mobile smart phone, using free code reading software such as BeeTagg or QR APP. The scan opens a Web page. The link is then saved into the software's memory for future use, allowing vacationers to easily reference Arkansas tourism and destination information while traveling.

In the United States, this mobile tagging application has primarily been used by the retail industry as a means of offering discounts or supplying specific product information. However, some cities have started using the system for directional maps and informational signs. Recently, the airline industry started realizing mobile tagging technology as an alternative to paper boarding passes, believing it will speed up the check-in processes. Several airlines are now offering this paperless option.

The Arkansas Tourism Division is now using these codes to create shortcut links to various Arkansas.com pages and niche Web sites, scenic driving ideas, and maps. "The possibilities are endless," said Joe David Rice, Director of Tourism for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Codes have already been created to link suggested driving routes and day trips for the "would be" traveler. One code directly links consumers to fall foliage updates. Arkansas.com can still be browsed for information from a personal computer, but now offers a quick reference shortcut via a mobile phone.

"We are minimizing some of the stress associated with vacation planning," said Rice. Arkansas.com already offers driving routes, itineraries, maps, city dining and lodging information, and hot deals and packages, but a visitor must know the URL code or click through several pages to find that information. QR codes have been created for these niche sites to offer a direct path to this information. "This mobile shortcutting method will enhance the already interactive, marketing initiatives and make everything more efficient," said Rice.

The codes not only make travel planning less time consuming, but they convert print media into an interactive experience. Consumers can see a beautiful advertisement in a magazine, newspaper, or brochure, scan the code and be connected to a Web site where they can search for more information.

By utilizing QR codes technology, the department blends mainstream marketing efforts with immediate electronic information. "It's simple. You see an ad, you scan the code, and a world of information is at your fingertips. Arkansas is taking the consumer from print to Internet in one click," said Dena Woerner, Communications Manager for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. "We are very excited about this new information offering. Arkansas is on the forefront of using technology to increase visitor awareness."

Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    Dena Woerner
    Communications Manager
    Email Contact
    501-682-7606

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