Branson, especially for the many agents who have not been there,
can be a challenging sell. With so many theaters and other
attractions in the destination, putting together a customized
package for a client or group would take many calls.
Fortunately, a thriving receptive industry has grown up in the
town, complete with an association that maintains strict standards
for member. According to Buddy Diebold, president of Branson Area
Receptive Association (BARA), membership has been growing steadily
to include about 30 receptive operators and more than 100 associate
members--including theaters, attractions, restaurants and
To qualify active members must:Either have been in business for a year or have two years
experience with another receptive company.Supply references from another receptive operator and five
suppliers.Be approved by three quarters of the current active
"We are kind of the Better Business Bureau of receptives; we
police ourselves," said Diebold, president of Branson Music
Member operators work with travel agents and negotiate
commissions or net rates on a case-by-case basis, said Diebold.
Active members can do everything from arranging motorcoach
transportation to scheduling clients' meals (for which a reserved
time and reserved seating are usually required).
Past-president and current member Jane Eblen, who owns and
manages Branson Country Tours, said agents can obtain timed
itineraries for clients, laying out an agenda for each day.
"An experienced receptive operator knows the old roads and the
new roads, knows how long it's going to take to get someplace,"
Eblen said. "And if there's an emergency we can cope. Not long ago,
an entertainer got sick and we had a large group booked into his
theater. We got refunds and got tickets to another show for that
same night. We were able to do that because of our network of
contacts," she said.
Agents can contact BARA at (800) 339-2216, fax (417)