Branson packager showcases booking tool at ASTA


MONTREAL -- A new packager of the Branson, Mo., travel product hopes to roar onto the industry stage with a high-profile and very audible role in the ASTA Congress trade show here this week.

The wholesaler is, which launched its business along with its Web site last month, said Jess Coker, vice president of marketing.

It aims to be the key booking engine for Branson, he continued, and will initially put land programs on the site that it then plans to link to retailer sites. When bookings come via a specific agencys site, the agency will earn 15% -- even if the clients booked in the middle of the night.

That is the short version of the message the company will bring to retailers at the ASTA Congress, and the message will be delivered in the most visible way possible: The company will bring a number of Branson entertainers, including Bob Anderson as host, to Montreal aboard a charter aircraft on Nov. 7, to entertain delegates during the trade show in the early afternoon, Coker said., which has taken nine booth spaces on the trade show floor, will put a motorcoach in the booth. Coker said it will be one of the vehicles specially outfitted for Branson entertainers who make road trips to honor successive entertainment obligations.

This kind of vehicle, he said, looks much like the inside of an executive airplane but has a bedroom, as well. At the trade show, the coach will serve as the booths hospitality space and, as needed, as a dressing room. The wholesaler will give away Branson packages every hour and CDs featuring Branson entertainers every five minutes.

The money behind the new entrant is Illinois-based real estate firm Rubloff Development Co. Its aviation arm, Rubloff Jet Express, owns charter carrier Ryan International Airlines. Coker said air will be added to packages next spring with the launch of Ryan charters into Branson from Rockford, Ill.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send email to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].

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