Just in time for Spring and Summer vacation planning, a recent segment of “NBC Investigates ” on the NBC “Today Show” reinforces something we have all been warned about, travel scams involving making vacation plans on line. The segment entitled “Beware of Travel Trickery,” was presented by David Rossen. In introducing the segment Rossen said, “But, this time it’s different; our investigation found that it’s the hotels, restaurants and resorts themselves that may be misleading you.”
The report showed what were alleged to be actual photos of rooms, beaches and other scenes used in advertising that it alleged were either deceiving or outright false, sometimes referred to as “Photo-Fakeouts,” bogus reviews submitted to travel web sites and other questionable practices. One “insider informant” said they were speaking out because, “The consumer deserves to know what is truthful and what’s not truthful.” Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson, Missouri’s largest and most respected providers of travel services, show and attraction tickets and lodging, said, “I couldn’t agree more and that’s the great thing about selling Branson, Missouri, it is truly one of the most unique vacation destinations in the world and that truth needs no embellishment.”
Johnson said, The mission of BTC is to ensure that “our customers have a great Branson experience” and that starts by ensuring that the information we give them is as accurate as possible. BTC provides the bulk of that information through one of its three major Branson destination websites. WWW.Branson.Com is Branson’s first and most trafficked website and is one of the most complete Branson informational sites in existence; www.BransonTourismCenter.Com is the BTC Site used in conjunction with the toll free number 800-785-1550 to provide its free personal flagship concierge service via telephone with the assistance of a trained BTC Branson Vacation Planning Specialist and www.BransonOnTheWeb.com, is a transactional site for those who want to do their own research and ordering on the internet.
As one of the primary content writers for BTC’s websites, I strive to tell the Branson’s story as accurately and interestingly as possible. Whether it’s one of Branson’s great live shows, restaurants, attractions such as Silver Dollar City, fishing on one of our pristine lakes or something as simple as shopping or taking a walk on the Branson Landing Boardwalk, my goal is to paint a word picture that tells the story of what you will experience in Branson. That story is so exciting, varied and unique that no exaggeration or hype is necessary.
Pictures and videos are another way to communicate all that Branson offers. The pictures with the vast majority of the articles that I write are taken by me with a Cannon EOS Rebel T2i using available light or the on the camera flash through a Cannon EFS 17-55 mm Zoom lens and are simply shots taken to illustrate the story being written. There is no attempt made to make something bigger or seem closer than it actually is or any other type of “Photo-Fakeout.” What you see is what I saw. Some pictures I use are provided by the hotel, show or attraction, but they are used only if they accurately represent what is being presented based on my 20 plus years of covering all that Branson has to offer.
BTC has its own videographer, Chris Canote and makes extensive use of videos on its websites in an effort to provide potential Branson visitors with as realistic and exciting view of what they will experience in Branson as possible. Chris said, “When I go and film a Branson lodging establishment such as the Grand Plaza Hotel I do not do any polishing, except for some color correction during editing, but other than that, I point and shoot multiple angles of the room types, the lobby, and amenities. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do some fun shots to make the video enjoyable to the eye, but there is no doctoring of these videos. We believe a customer wants to see what they will get and to the best of my ability that’s what we provide.”
“In addition, our free personal concierge service, via a toll free telephone call to 800-785-1550, provides the assistance of a trained Branson Vacation Planning Specialist who lives in and is familiar with the Branson area and all it has to offer,” said Branson Tourism Center’s Johnson, who has over two decades of experience in helping Branson visitors have a great Branson experience. “Our excellent relationship with our vendor lodging facilities, shows, attractions, restaurants and other Branson activity partners puts us in an excellent position to not only get our customers exactly what they want and save them money at the same time, but to help resolve any problems that might arise,” she continued.
Johnson said, “It’s not only that people are investing their hard earned money and precious time into a vacation that causes us to do business the way we do, but that we want our Branson visitors to not only return to Branson, but to do business with us again when they do. The best way to accomplish that is by making sure they get what they expect when they come to Branson and have a great Branson experience.”
As this writer was reviewing the video of the NBC show he was so thankful that he lives in Branson, Missouri, a place so unique, naturally beautiful, overflowing with talent and the spirit of hospitality that it is the epitome of genuine friendliness, fun, entertainment and excitement with no “travel trickery,” required or needed.