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Gretchen Hall Leaving LRCVB for National Role

3 min read

After more than 20 years with the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, President and CEO Gretchen Hall has announced she will be departing the organization, effective March 22, to take a national role.

Hall is leaving to join Destinations International as its chief operating officer. She will oversee marketing, communications, membership, partnership and global development divisions for the organization.

She joined LRCVB in 2001 in its Event Operations Division and was named the president and CEO in 2011.

Hall told Arkansas Business by phone Thursday morning, “I describe it as bittersweet. And I mean that there’s never a great time to leave a job that you love, and a team that you value and appreciate as much as I do here. But this opportunity just came when the recruiter called and asked me to consider it. And, as I did, I just decided that was a great opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.”

She also said she’s excited to further her work with Destinations International; she’s been a member of the organization for most of her career and has served on its board as well as numerous committees for years. Hall most recently chaired the organization’s board.

“So I truly believe in the work that they do and how they provide services and education and professional development for individuals in the DMO [destination marketing organization] space or CVB space,” Hall said. “So now I’m going to get to, you know, help CVBs and destination marketing organizations across the world to try to make an impact in their local economy. So it’s going to be a totally new challenge.”

She said Destinations International has been focused for the past 12-18 months on strategic planning, on how to grow membership globally and what services to provide in the future. In her new role, she will be helping implement the strategic plans she has helped make, Hall said.

More specifically, she will help guide the organization in providing new equity, diversity and inclusion education and growing globally. Destinations International launched a Canadian Alliance division last year and Hall believes Canadian membership will more than double in the next 12 months. Destinations International also hired a director of European development, she added. “As we figure out what services and tools we can provide to assist some of our European partners, I’ll be part of those conversations as well,” Hall said.

On LRCVB, she said in a news release, “The work of LRCVB transforms our city in many ways. From driving a huge economic impact through travel spending, to advancing the quality-of-life offerings for our residents through the management of our event facilities along with investments in infrastructure and destination marketing.”

Hall also said in the release that the past two years, the pandemic, has been difficult for the industry but she feels the sector is “poised for a rapid rebound and extraordinary future” with a master plan project underway at LRCVB.

Jim Keet, chairman of the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission said in the release that Hall had done an “exemplary job.” He also said a transitional plan to replace her is underway.

During Hall’s tenure, major renovation of the Robinson Auditorium was completed, along with upgrades to the Statehouse Convention Center, and the city acquired the Cromwell building. She has also chaired Destinations International’s board of directors.

Hall will remain in Arkansas for the near future after starting her new job; she’ll be working remotely.

On how her taking the national role will reflect on the state, she said, “I hope it is good, that it is beneficial for Arkansas. Arkansas is home. For me, I definitely want to empower all of our DMOs here in Arkansas, with the tools and the resources that they need to make their local communities better through tourism spending. So I will certainly be engaged from that aspect.

“And then, of course, Arkansas will always be home. So that’s always going to be part of my resume, as I’m out in this role speaking on behalf of Destinations International.”

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