Author Topic: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations  (Read 7258 times)

DianaGail

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2019, 09:26:09 AM »
Tony and I would be considered ďmillennialsĒ, albeit old ones. Lol. We have 3 kids, 11, 11 and 7. We live on a tight budget, mainly due to our kidsí traveling sports.

We buy passes to sdc each year. We go at least once a month if not more often. When do we go in to the city of Branson?  When white water is open. I can add ww season passes to our sdc passes for minimal cost. Both are a great value for us. We live an hour and a half away from Branson so itís an easy day trip.

For me to take my family to go karts, itís $50 for 10ish minutes of fun. Mini golf, depending on the course, is $8-12. So, another $50 on average. A day at Fritzís adventure will cost us $140.00 without food or drink. If we stay the night, we have 2 options: a suite or a rollaways. Most places no longer have roll always or they are taken. So we are at around $100 a night for a hotel.

Branson has little to do for free. Unless you want to hike, you pay for every little thing you do. If you want to attract millennials and their families in to town, affordable options is what the town needs. Donít build an aquarium thatís going to cost me $30-$50 to walk in the door. Because, to be completely honest, we can drive to Galveston, spend more days there and spend less money.

palallin

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2019, 11:36:21 AM »
There is wisdom in DianaGail's post.

Irrespective of age, cost is a significant deterrent.  We have seen no shows in the last 4 or 5 years for that reason.  We went to only two other places in that time, the Toy Museum and the Ducks.  My wife shops from time to time at Tanger.

Honestly, SDC is the big draw to us, and our season passes + the SDC rate at a hotel make that an economical proposition.  I'd actually like to spend time on the lake, but that, too, is pricey.  (I could buy a boat for the price of a couple rentals, but the definition of a boat is "a hole in the water into which the owner pours money.")

Nobody in my family does coasters or other thrill rides.  My younger son likes go karts, but, as DianaGail notes, they are really pricey.  The appeal of the city is ambiance, not the fast rides.

As for free:  well, the town of Branson can't survive on free, BUT there is such a thing as loss-leaders. 

Obviously, the town will change--Heaven knows, that is its one constant.  Plenty of folks can afford a great deal more than I can.  But, for some of us who visit, spending money is a necessary evil, not the object of the exercise.

sirwillow

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2019, 02:39:53 PM »
Cost is a huge thing for a lot of people.  Since I don't work at SDC anymore, I'm continually looking for the local specials to see the shows, so Spring and Fall are the main time when we get to go, since we can get area appreciation tickets around that time to several of them for around $10/ person.

I think that was actually one of the reasons the car show was such a huge event in town.  It would bring in a ton of people for the "free" event, but they would spend a good bit of money around town on other things as a result.  I wonder how that turned out last year.  I know they get a pretty good turnout at the Landing on the 4th for the free concert there.

As others  have said, maybe having a couple of music or other event festivals in town would be a help to draw people in.  And tied in with them, perhaps some discounts on other things to make them more affordable...

But I also think that a lot of families/ millennials don't realize the variety of things there are to do in town.  Better marketing would help with that.

It's not any one or two things, but a variety of different things to addresss.  It's great that they've been attracting record crowds, but I think they need to look at multiple ways to appeal to and bring in the crowds they are wanting to.  Marketing, events, music style, cost, affordable things to do, variety...  All of it plays a role.
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mhguy77

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2019, 06:46:25 PM »
Quote
Branson has little to do for free. Unless you want to hike, you pay for every little thing you do. If you want to attract millennials and their families in to town, affordable options is what the town needs. Donít build an aquarium thatís going to cost me $30-$50 to walk in the door. Because, to be completely honest, we can drive to Galveston, spend more days there and spend less money.

Woman after my heart here!  TRUTH

I am always considering what the cost of things are because I hate to feel like I wasted money.
Some of the stand alone attractions can really sting you.  Its a tough sell to get me to throw out 20 bucks for a ride.  I have done the mountain coaster and it was fun but full confession it was during a Coaster Christmas event so it was $5.  I would have done it but not as soon probably.  I feel the SDC pass is worth it for me but I skipped this year due to construction and change of scenery.  Looks like with Wonder Works and other new attractions  opening next year is was a good timing choice. 

Okiebenz

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2019, 07:29:37 PM »
you can go to Galveston and spend less?  Maybe I have been looking at the wrong things there but it sure seems a whole lot more expensive to me than Branson.  I only go down there when going on a cruise though.  When we go to Branson, we usually just hit SDC a couple of times and stay at the cheapest hotel I can find in town, unless I happen to be "working" in the area as well then I stay at one of the Hilton properties in town.

Tony and I would be considered ďmillennialsĒ, albeit old ones. Lol. We have 3 kids, 11, 11 and 7. We live on a tight budget, mainly due to our kidsí traveling sports.

We buy passes to sdc each year. We go at least once a month if not more often. When do we go in to the city of Branson?  When white water is open. I can add ww season passes to our sdc passes for minimal cost. Both are a great value for us. We live an hour and a half away from Branson so itís an easy day trip.

For me to take my family to go karts, itís $50 for 10ish minutes of fun. Mini golf, depending on the course, is $8-12. So, another $50 on average. A day at Fritzís adventure will cost us $140.00 without food or drink. If we stay the night, we have 2 options: a suite or a rollaways. Most places no longer have roll always or they are taken. So we are at around $100 a night for a hotel.

Branson has little to do for free. Unless you want to hike, you pay for every little thing you do. If you want to attract millennials and their families in to town, affordable options is what the town needs. Donít build an aquarium thatís going to cost me $30-$50 to walk in the door. Because, to be completely honest, we can drive to Galveston, spend more days there and spend less money.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 07:33:17 PM by Okiebenz »

HumphreyHawk

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2019, 01:56:45 PM »
Being 40 with kids.....i feel like I'm between generations....and always left out of being marketed to.  But I also seem to 'get' both generations around me.

The folks my age and younger are very niche in what they want to spend money on.  They will go where they want to see the specific people they want.  They aren't going to book a vacation and hope some act is going to be entertaining.   With tech these days....most people my age and younger have already youtubed entertainment before we decide to go....so the pressure of being good enough for our money is pretty high to actually expect a ticket sale.  They have to prove themselves before they even perform.

Most my age and younger have done most of Branson already.  Go Karts, putt putt, wax museums, IMAX, stampede, tribute shows.....we did that with our parents.  Sure we'll take our kids at least once....but what else is there?  If there is not more than that.....we aren't just going to do it again and again.

We are looking for more and new experiences.  Ziplines, mountain coasters, play places, escape rooms, etc....  Always looking for new experiences that can't be done on or through a screen.  Almost everything that is done on a stage can be watched on a screen....even some rides don't need to be done because they can be done on a screen.  I don't mind spending money any almost anything as long as it has the potential for real interaction between me and my family.  Paying for shows is just getting harder for me to do unless someone in the family is just really want to see it.

This is why SDC is actually positioned pretty well with all generations right now.  Even though you can ride every ride on a screen - they are visually enough for everyone to know that you have to come experience them.  Plus they have the stage shows....food....shopping...etc all in one place that everyone can do and experience together.

imo.....Branson needs to shift its marketing to show all the experiences that it offers....especially the new ones.  Focus more on the outdoor adventure stuff....the interactive things you can do together as a family.  Everyone knows it has the country comedy shows, girls with flags on horses, and roller coasters.  Run an ad showing a family at a cabin, ziplining, hiking, eating together without phone. 

I think they are slowing trying to do this.....but I got a feeling some of the old guard might have a strong influence on the tourism board. 
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runner1960

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2019, 02:22:52 PM »
 My kids were home last weekend so I asked them this question.What would would make Branson more appealing to the younger generation. I posted some in a earlier part of this thread.

More Air BNB choices. Millennials would prefer ABNB over hotels and condos. The old pull up to your room motel model is fading fast.
Branson is lacking in good independent coffee shops and more importantly Micro Breweries.
The adventure parks interest them but it is not enough to plan a entire vacation around.
They have no interest at all in shows period.




shavethewhales

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2019, 09:00:15 PM »
Oh man, I always love this conversation. So much I want to say about Branson evolving and how to develop a city that actually attracts people, but I am studying for a massive professional test on Friday and can't spend too much time expounding.

I will say that there are obviously a lot of forces in Branson trying right now, but there's not enough political clout going yet to really push a solution. The tabled Spirit of 76 project would have been a great incremental start in the right direction. There's already incremental steps being taken to make it a reality with more places building better street faces and sidewalks, but we need the large scale push of a comprehensive project. Branson has a lot of nice things here and there, but the 76 crawl is a problem that should have been better addressed decades ago and will kill off a lot of interest from younger generations.

I think SDC and Branson in general has enough critical mass to sustain itself for a long time into the future, probably beyond the millennial generation, but it will be a fight to keep the same kind of spirit alive when all the Boomer-generation music theaters and eateries inevitably go under.

The focus should be on attracting major transformational projects (like the massive water park that got voted down for tax incentives), and simultaneously re-building the city to be both walk-able and mass-transit capable. Otherwise it will just slowly dissolve into a tattered mess of run-down hotels and scattered tourist traps... you know... more than it already is, lol.

HumphreyHawk

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2019, 10:24:16 PM »
The traditional motels are actually not bad if they are restored, have basic modern needs, are clean and hip.  By hip....I mean a modern theme....not the same old branson themes (rt 66, 60s, country, Merica, etc).

It's the 90s and 00s style hotels that with 2-5 floors of drap indoor hallways, lobbies, and rooms that could be in any city in the country that millenials find boring.  Unless those hotels offer really good on-site entertainment, clubs, waterparks, etc.....they need to go off the strip.  Leave them for the business travelers.

They need to level all the old theatres.....it's time to face reality that the nightly live show business is shrinking....get rid of the eyesores as they go and open room for other options.

Large scale development of a festival grounds seems like a no-brainer.  Multi purpose grounds for concerts and festivals that would let Branson host all kinds of events.  Could also include convention center like meeting spaces. Branson needs to create weeklong events and themes to help create those millenial experiences.

Branson needs to turn all those empty timeshares into more airBNB choices.

I frankly don't know how to solve the traffic issue.  Its an issue but probably irritates the older generation more than they younger generation. 

Another one that is hard to solve:  Need more homegrown eating options around town.  Focus on the non-chain resturants and ones that create unque experances.  Food truck courts?  tax breaks for local owners?  Food tours of local spots? 
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palallin

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2019, 09:13:59 AM »
The Generation Gap rears its head.  Absolutely NOTHING in any of these suggestions has any appeal for me.  But Branson doesn't want me--I don't spend enough money.  And I avoid ALL marketing to the extent I can.

I get it:  I am a dinosaur.  I don't want what will bring money to the area, and few others want what I do.  I don't expect the world to cater to me, but, just so the other folks in the world remember there are a few who like what I like and will maybe avoid deliberately trampling on us in their headlong rush to the future, I'll share what *I* would like to see.

My family moved from Branson in 1971-'72.  I want to return to it.  There were two shows in Branson (I hadn't seen either of them yet).  The lake was still relatively new and THE big draw.  (Oh, what it was like to live on the lakeshore!)  SDC was still running the stagecoach, and even FITH hole hadn't been built.  Life was slower, the place was not crowded, and we once missed school almost all of January because a New Year's snow that left 32" (by the yardstick) in our front yard, and there was no way that the road departments could cope with it quickly.

Again, I know that most--the vast majority!--folks do not want to return to that place.  But I do, and every trip there is an attempt to recapture as much of that as I can, doomed to failure but much desired, bittersweet.  There are almost certainly a few others in the world like me.  Please try not to deliberately squash us--we'll die off soon enough.

Gilligan

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2019, 12:20:09 PM »
Well, I asked my upper 30'something son what would bring him to Branson.  He said lake activities would come first. Then, he'd go to SDC, Taneycomo, fishing, the Landing (maybe once to look around and eat), trail riding, 4 wheeling, a zip line (once), and scuba diving. He'd look to stay at a place that had on-site activities such as Big Cedar for the boat/gear rentals, spa, restaurants, night entertainment.  Would he keep returning to Branson? "No, why would I want to do the same thing over and over?" I'd rather do the things I like in new and different places." He likes coming here to do things with us, but he'd rather dive, fish, hike, trail ride, cycle, and "adventure" in new places all the time. That makes a lot of sense to me.

cheesehead57

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Re: Branson Losing its Attraction to Younger Generations
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2019, 01:08:38 PM »
Palallin....my husband are like you....we must be dinosaurs to like the old ways. We very rarely see shows other than Terry Sanders charity ones and SDC or off park that the Homestead Pickers do..