by: JonChristopher Collins
On Tuesday the Branson Chamber of Commerce/CVB presented the Marketing Plan and Budget for 2021 to the Board of Aldermen.
Chief Marketing Officer Rachel Wood presented the 2021 marketing plan to the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday. “Before COVID-19 upended the tourism economy around the globe, Branson had set an all-time visitation record in 2019 and was on track to achieve another record-breaking year in 2020,” Wood said.
Wood said that in spite of 2020’s challenges, Branson received many praises from sources such as Tripadvisor, USA Today and others. She said Tripadvisor listed Branson as the nation’s number 18 top destination. “In 2021, the overall goal will be to rebuild Branson’s vistitation,” she said.
While discussing strategies, psychographics came up in discussion. “We’ll also enhance our traditional segmentation bases by using behavioral and psychographic data to develop personas. So, we’ll continue the program that we’ve been discussing for the last almost year. The 202One program, the WHYSDOM DATA that basically takes cell phone pings in a certain geographic area.” She said this program helps to provide consumers with the right messaging at the right time.
Wood said another strategy is to grow the City’s position as a multi-season vacation spot. “One of our big focuses since March is focus on that virtual home school family that can travel in any season.” Wood discussed how the website explorebranson.com was rebuilt. She also mentioned how individual media contacts and networks will give Branson placement in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. “When we see those Chicago Tribunes and USA Todays [articles], those don’t just happen. Those are an effort of these PR experts that we use on a day-to-day basis.”
Wood said capitalization on new shows and attractions will be utilized when communicating with writers. “That’s what every writer calls us about whenever they reach out.” Jesus at Sight & Sound, WonderWorks and Aquarium at the Boardwalk are among the many things new in Branson.
Alderman Bill Skains asked Wood to help those unfamiliar with psychographics to explain what it means. “It really goes into what apps do they [consumers] have on their cellphone, how are they engaging with those apps. It basically monitors that entire usage of all of those apps on that person’s device and psychographicly creates the persona that you should market to based on their behavior.” Skains said he appreciated the Chamber’s work on fixing explorebranson.com.
Following the presentation, the Board approved the Marketing Budget year. It passed six to zero.
Alderman Bill Skains asked Branson’s Finance Director Jamie Rouch to provide information for citizens on how this budget compares to previous budgets.
“The 2021 budget for the tourism tax is $1.5 million versus last year it was $2.3 million,” Rouch said. She added that there was also rollover last year close to $382,000. Last year’s total was $2.7 million while this year’s is $1.5 million.
“Obviously, COVID did play a part in that. As we had to reduce our own budgets and watch out for that, that also came with a reduction of all the other budgets as well,” Rouch said. She then read an itemized list of the budget which demonstrated the decrease in the budget compared to last year.