Hundreds of Branson businesses rely on Lianne Milton’s company for tourism marketing efforts.
Branson Tourism Center is a key player in getting theater seats filled in the town billed as the “live entertainment capital of the world” – to the tune of over 4.5 million show and attraction tickets sold through the agency. As CEO, Milton leads the company in promoting the Titanic Museum and National Tiger Sanctuary attractions, and shows headlined by Tanya Tucker, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy when they come to town. Branson Tourism Center packages together holiday deals, golf getaways and family fun trips, including accommodations at the Radisson Hotel and Chateau on the Lake, among others.
And the work to create “one-call” visitor experiences has grown Milton’s company to 100 employees from just three about a dozen years ago.
A partnership with California-based Welk Resorts is a recent addition and should lead to wider opportunities, she says. Still, Milton’s pulse is on the local theater and lodging scene. “We have seen a significant portion of tourism marketing dollars in the area gradually moving away from marketing live shows in favor of other Branson attributes,” she says.
Milton acknowledges Branson doesn’t own the market on scenic beauty, outdoor activities, popular retailers, fine dining or award-winning golf.
“What sets Branson apart from any other destination is the number and quality of our live entertainment offerings,” Milton says. “Only our live music, comedy and magic shows make Branson the unique place that it is.
“We, too, actively market everything Branson has to offer, but we always put Branson’s biggest asset first, and that’s our live show industry.”
In the community, she and husband Larry, a company co-founder, have made an impact by starting a ceremony for Purple Heart veterans.
“We invite them to Branson for a three-day event where they are honored for their service,” Milton says of the organized entertainment, guest speakers and even post-traumatic stress disorder counseling available.
She’s observed veterans just enjoy being together, catching up with old friends and sometimes reconnecting with buddies they never thought they’d see again.
“I lead the company in supporting the community on a charitable level, and charity begins at home – meaning both Branson and the employees of Branson Tourism Center,” Milton says.
The company matches financial contributions of staff members participating in weekly jeans days at the office. There’s also a fund available to employees in need.
BTC also uses the services provided by sheltered workshop Tantone Industries and supports highway cleanup projects by Relay For Life teams. She’s watched this rub off on employees through board and committee work.
“BTC has proposed programs to help fund cooperative marketing efforts on behalf of our theater industry, provided resources above and beyond anything requested to facilitate significant events in the area and consistently provided financial and in-kind support to community functions,” she says. “You don’t necessarily need to be the boss to be a leader. BTC boasts a significant number of leaders, and I’d like to think they’ve learned some of their ability to lead from the examples I’ve set.”
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