Branson Web site bonanza: Guaranteed pay

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BRANSON, Mo. -- Agents who want to book a hotel here, reserve seats at a Yakov Smirnoff show or score a couple of tickets for a Silver Dollar City glass-blowing demonstration can do it all on line -- and earn commissions -- through a new Web site, ReserveBranson.com.

ReserveBranson.com is a consumer site but promotes the use of agencies through an agency-locator feature on the home page that agencies can register for at no charge.

Once registered, agents can log onto the site and earn 10% to 15% commission on Branson products.

Commission is 10% for initial sales and an additional 5% if agents sell cancellation waivers.

"We're trying to make all of Branson travel agency-commissionable," said John Johnson, the Web site's owner.

If agencies want an affiliate relationship, putting a link to ReserveBranson.com on their Web sites, they earn 5% commission on resulting bookings.

Some 90 agencies have registered for the locator feature and about 5% of visitors use the service, Johnson said.

Launched in the fall, the site is the first of a planned string of Web sites offering one-stop shopping for domestic destinations under the brand name ReserveAmerica.

"If agents tried to book Branson on their own, it's a tough destination to bother with," said Johnson, who most recently served as director of sales for Great Western Hotels-Branson.

"If they used a local packager, that leaves them with a 24-hour turnaround to see if [the package is] available."

When the season kicks into high gear, the site will have real-time availabilities for 2,000 rooms and most shows and attractions, he said.

"None of Branson's 40 performing theaters are on the CRSs," Johnson noted.

ReserveAmerica and ReserveBranson.com are small operations -- Johnson is the sole employee. He contracts out for customer-service personnel to handle the phones.

ReserveAmerica earns its money through 2.7% transaction fees charged to suppliers, Johnson said.

The site attracts 700 to 800 visitors daily, he added.

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