Branson App–Branson & Beyond Traveler–is Out!

My iTunes app on Branson is finally out, and to my surprise, it’s selling better than my Hong Kong app! Of course, that may be because there are literally hundreds of apps already out on Hong Kong, but my Branson & Beyond Traveler app is one of only a handful, and the only one that isn’t tied to a specific corporation or business trying to sell their resort, show or other property. I’d had my doubts about Branson, for the simple reason that some of the people I talked to there didn’t know what an app was, and many of the visitors (many of whom are elderly) didn’t look like they used a cellphone, much less an iPhone or iPad. But the demographics of Branson’s visitors is changing, with more and more families and couples finding it an affordable and easy escape. In fact, the first time I went to Branson on assignment in the 1990s and was asked whether I wanted to see any shows, my answer was “Hell, no!” But Branson has changed a lot since then, and so have I. It’s no longer a country music destination for retirees. There’s comedy, magic acts, acrobatics, hits of yesteryear, impersonations, and family entertainment. A bonus: the Ozarks countryside.

My Branson app covers a wide spectrum of lodging, dining, entertainment and attraction options, from camping to resort living, cheap eats to fine dining,  unique museums to Silver Dollar City. Jack Graham took most of the photographs; they really add to the experience. It was a fun app to write, and it’s great having a work destination so close to home rather than on the other side of the world.

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2 Responses to Branson App–Branson & Beyond Traveler–is Out!

  1. John Hunkins says:

    Beth,

    I have a suggestion for your Branson app (beyond adding content); that is to add a section about handicap accessibility in lodging. Sure places will advertise handicap accessibility but what does that mean – could mean they have some grab bars in the bathroom and could loan you a toilet seat riser.

    People have specific needs that fall within “handicap accessible”. My wife as an example needs the higher toilet, and a roll-in or low entry shower with a shower chair and grab bars. A shower in a bathtub eliminates many motels from consideration. We found a motel that has a room with a roll-in shower; we make reservations for next year before we checkout. It is the only motel we have stayed in more than once.

    We are going to Branson on Sunday and the motel called a little while ago asking if we really needed the roll-in shower; someone else had called seeking it. Their other handicap accessible rooms all have the shower in a bathtub. So I know there is a need for low entry showers. Lots of ads for them on TV – removing the old bath tub.

    Lots of motels advertised whirlpool tubs but none advertise low entry showers. I only found about this motel is an 0n-line entry by someone complaining about another motel. If I owned a motel, I would be ripping out bathtubs during refurbishments and installing low entry showers, and then advertising them.

    • Beth Reiber says:

      John, Thanks for taking the time to write. You have a very valid point, and it’s one that will become increasingly important as our society ages (I cover Japan for Frommer’s, and as you might know it has one of the fastest-aging populations in the world). While it is sometimes difficult to consider adding content about accessibility in accommodations because it would require more on-site inspections (sometimes rooms advertised as handicap-accessible really aren’t because of door widths, etc.) Branson justifies it for the simple fact that the average age of visitors (around 56 years old) is higher than for many other destinations (like my Hong Kong app). I have made a note to myself to add an entry next time I update content about accessibility and to find out whether there’s an accommodation that stands out. As you say, low-entry showers should definitely be one of the first things hotels consider. Thanks again, Beth

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