The remarkable thing about the four laning of Highway 65 between Branson and Springfield was that Highway 65 was kept open while the work was being done. It doesn't take a Solomon to figure out what would have happened to Branson's tourism industry if it had been closed, either permanently or for long periods of time, while the construction took place.
In terms of just the four laning of Highway 65, from a pure efficiency point of view, there is little doubt that the project could have been done quicker and cheaper if Highway 65 could have been closed to traffic while the construction was taking place. The reality of the situation was that the Missouri Department of Transportation knew that wasn't an option and, along with budget and other considerations, had to plan to keep Highway 65 open while the project was under construction.
Does that mean that the project was not constructed efficiently? No, it means that, as is the case with a lot of situations in life, that it was constructed as efficiently as the reality of the situation permitted.
Were the efforts effective, did they have the intended or expected effect of making the highway travel between Branson and Springfield safer and quicker? Most people, who have driven on Highway 65 north of Branson before the four laning project was complete, would probably ask, "That's a rhetorical question, right?"
What does the building of a highway have to do with whether or not the marketing of Branson is either "efficient" or "effective?" Well, let's see if there are any parallels.
The remarkable thing about the marketing of Branson is that while trying to attract the new visitors necessary to keep Branson's tourism industry healthy in the long term it has maintained the level of repeat visitations that it has from its loyal customers. Particularly with the rate of new visitors dropping to a dismal 20 percent, it doesn't take a Solomon to figure out what would have happened to Branson's tourism industry if its marketing efforts had ignored the needs of its loyal customers.
In terms of increasing the number of new visitors to Branson, from a pure efficiency point of view, there is little doubt that the rate of decline of the new visitors, necessary for Branson's long term success, over the last ten years could have been reduced if the need to maintain Branson's current level of repeat visitors was ignored. The reality of the situation is that those responsible for marketing Branson knew that wasn't an option and along with budget and other considerations, had to plan to keep marketing to those who had visited Branson before while trying to increase the number of new visitors to Branson.
Does that mean that the marketing of Branson under the control of the City of Branson's marketing contractor, the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB has not been conducted efficiently? No, it means that, as is the case of the four laning of Highway 65, it was conducted as efficiently as the reality of the situation permitted.
Have the marketing efforts to attract the new visitors necessary for Branson's long term success been effective? Most people who have been watching the decline of Branson's first time visitor rates over the last ten years to its current dismal rate of about 20 percent would probably ask, "That's a rhetorical question, right?"
The Highway 65 project had a sufficient budget to keep the road open and to effectively complete the project. Branson's limited marketing budget does not, and has never had, the funding to effectively maintain the levels of repeat visitors necessary for Branson's current survival as a viable tourist destination while simultaneously generating the additional new visitors necessary for it's future success. Just once in his lifetime an Ole Seagull would like to see what would happen to the new visitor rate over a period of five years if there was enough funding to market Branson effectively, just once.