The Ole Seagull has seen Branson shows fail because they did not have a product that met the expectations of our guests, let the quality of their show deteriorate, did not have the financing to either market or keep the show going until it grew to maturity within the Branson market, poor management decisions and, marketing funds or not, simply had an inadequate marketing program. He has never seen a show fail because of Branson Landing or the “free shows” it offers.
There were those who took umbrage with the Ole Seagull’s statements in a recent column about Branson Landing. Specifically he said, “To an Ole Seagull, it’s heart breaking to see theatres, and for that matter other businesses, having to compete against “free shows” at the Landing or a project made entirely possible because of a government subsidy, but that’s the way it is and it’s not going to change.”
It is against every fiber in the Ole Seagull’s body for public tax payer dollars to be used to subsidize the building of private businesses to compete against the very businesses that created the customer base that the success of the government subsidized private businesses will have to depend on. That said, the only words from the statement that have current applicability are “but that’s the way it is and it’s not going to change.”
And “the way it is,” is that a majority of the visitors coming to Branson end up making Branson Landing part of their Branson experience. That’s right folks, according to the official marketing figures of the Branson Lakes Area CVB, 62.2% of all the visitors who visit Branson visit the Branson Landing and 45.1% of the visitors who come to Branson “were aware of the Branson Landing before they came to Branson.”
The same figures indicate 85.5% of our visitors go shopping, 85.1% see shows and, of those who see shows, see 3.84 shows per visit. The 85.5% shopping figure should surprise no one because just about everyone shops when they travel, but the fact that 62.2 percent of all the people who come to Branson end up visiting one shopping place is significant, especially when one considers that 17% of them did not know Branson Landing existed prior to coming to Branson.
The answers to the following questions are relevant.“How much time do the 85.5 percent of the visitors who shop while they are in Branson spend in Branson’s shows while they are shopping?” “How much time do those visiting Branson’s premier attraction “Silver Dollar City,” celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, spend in Branson shows while they are at Silver Dollar City?” “How much time do those fishing, boating, swimming and having fun in Branson’s Lakes spend in Branson’s shows while they are engaged in such activities?” The Ole Seagull’s going to risk it all here and say the answer is about as much time as the 14.9 percent of the people coming to Branson who don’t visit Branson shows do, “None.”
The thing is that even with all the time people spend taking advantage of all the exciting activities and things there are to do in Branson, an amazing 85.1 percent of everyone that comes to Branson sees 3.84 Branson shows on each visit. That’s not surprising as Branson’s shows, along with its lakes and natural beauty and Silver Dollar City are, in the opinion of an Ole Seagull, what makes Branson unique. All the rest of the Branson experience sets on top of that “tripod” and without them Branson would just be another “cornflake” in a box of “cornflake destinations.”
Now this is Ole Seagull math and statistics, but let’s just subtract the 14.9 percent of the Branson visitors who don’t go to shows from the 62.2 percent of the Branson Visitors who visit Branson Landing. That leaves about 47.3 percent of Branson Landing visitors that are not only going experience Branson Landing, but attend an average of 3.84 shows every time they visit Branson.
“But Seagull, what about the free shows at Branson Landing and the impact they have on the revenue of Branson’s shows?” An Ole Seagull would simply reply, “The impact of the “free shows” at Branson Landing on the revenues of Branson shows, on balance, is about as much as the loss of a hair off an 800 pound gorilla.” In his opinion, among other things, Branson shows should be concerned more about the loss of revenue from not meeting or exceeding the expectations of their guests, inadequate marketing, and the “dummying down” the prices of their tickets through “two for one marketing” and discount coupons.