Page 1

Vo olume XX XX XVIII, Number 5 •May/Jun ne, 2017

Route 66 page 4

Southwest Southwe st page 14

Midwest page 17


c on t e n t s

MAY/JUNE M AY AY/ A Y/JUNE J E 2017 Volume XXXVIII, Number 5

4 22

STAFF SST TAFF Editor & Publisher . . . . . . . . . Larry Plachno Business Manager . . . . Nancy Ann Plachno Bookkeeping . . . . . . . . . . . . Dianne Billquist Typesetting/Page Layout . . . . Sherry Mekeel Office Asst.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nicole Fehler Editorial Assistant . . . . . . . . . . . Karla Nagy Bus B us T Tours ours M Magazine agazine 9698 9698 W W.. JJudson udson R Road oad Polo, P olo, IIllinois llinois 661064-9015 1064-9015 ((815) 815) 9946-2341 46-2341 Fax: Fax: ((815) 815) 9946-2347 46-2347 Web Web ssite: ite: w ww.b bustoursmagazine.ccom Advertising Advertising

Features 14



ESCAPE TO THE SOUTHWEST Bus groups traveling through the American Southwest will view both vast deserts and towering rock formations, experience the cultures of Native Indian tribes and explore the country’s frontier past. In between stops, oasislike resorts offer luxurious accommodations, fine dining, gaming, entertainment and more.

ESCAPE TO THE MIDWEST A motorcoach tour through America’s Heartland provides an abundance of experiences for passengers. More than open prairies and farmland, the cities of the Midwest offer opportunities for unique tours, one-of-a-kind attractions, historic sites and even insights into the shaping of our greatest leaders. NEW, IMPROVED AND DIFFERENT

Guides 22

D I N I N G / L O D G I NG Like an army, a bus tour group travels on its stomach, and keeping passengers fed and well rested is key to success. These dining and lodging options will ensure that your tour group is nourished, rest ed and ready t o t ackle t he adventures of the day.

Specials 4

RO UT E 66 T he Mot her Road. W ill Rogers Highway. Main Street of America. By whatever name, the allure and mystique of historic Route 66 still draw motorcoach tour groups to explore its remaining asphalt and the towns, attractions and people that define it.

And More 30

SOCIAL MARKETING FOR TOURISM b y C a t h e ri n e H e e g





by Dr. Charleen Jaeb

Central/International C entral/International – (815) 946-2341 West W est – (815) 946-2341 Midwest M idwest – (815) 946-2341 Northeast N ortheast – (815) 946-2341 SSoutheast outheast – (815) 946-2341

COVER PHOTO Motorcoach tours traversing the 376 miles of Route 66 through Oklahoma will be treated to many sights connected in some way to the historic highway. This Route 66 sign in Elk City is outside the National Route 66 & Transportation Museum. After the sun has set, its bright neon lights shine as a beacon for those seeking adventure along the Mother Road. ELK CITY, OKLAHOMA CVB.

B US T OURS M AGAZINE (ISSN 0199-6096) is published six times annually by National Bus Trader, Inc., 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Subscriptions, $15 (in US funds) annually, Canadian & International $20 (in US funds). Printed in U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at Polo, Illinois 61064 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: P OSST TMASTER: Send address changes to BUS TOURS MAGAZINE, 9698 W. Judson Road, Polo, Illinois 61064. Change C hange ooff A Address: dd drress: Please send old mailing label (or old address and computer number) as well as new address. Advertising: A dvertising: Display advertising rates sent on request. Advertising deadline is the last day of the second month preceding publication. Founded in 1979, BUS TOURS MAGAZINE is the oldest independent magazine in the bus and group tour market. Circulation includes bus and group tour planners in the United States and Canada regardless of affiliation or whether commercial, private or corporate or group leader. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the written consent of the publisher. The name BUS TOURS MAGAZINE and the logo incorporating the passengers, bus and destinations are trade marks of National Bus Trader, Inc.

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 3


o u t e 6 6 , e s t a b l i s h e d i n N ov e m b e r 1926, served as the official road for people traveling between the coasts

via car or bus from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. During the 1930s, the small towns along America’s first official transcontinental highway were important for providing these travelers with food, lodging, gasoline and other important goods and services. Adventures of Route 66 became the stuff of legends, spawning songs, television shows and modern folklore about journeys, people and unique sights along its nearly 2,500 miles. Although it was replaced or entirely removed by the time it was decommissioned as a federal highway in 1985, its allure is as strong today as it was when it began.

Lebanon, Missouri This bus tour-friendly Missouri community along famed Route 66 has long been part of our country’s westward expansion. It began with early hunters and trappers who followed a well-traveled path they called the “Great Osage Trail,” for the local Osage Indians, who had a settlement along the trail called Wyota. In 1820, years after the U.S. government had relocated the Osages to Oklahoma, the first white residents settled on the abandoned site a n d k e p t t h e n a m e Wy o t a ; i n 1 8 4 9 , w h e n Laclede County was officially formed, the town was renamed Lebanon. The trail still served as a main thoroughfare. D u r i n g t h e C i v i l Wa r, a s a b o r d e r s t a t e

with rich resources, river access and industrial strength, Missouri was a strategic asset for both sides. Lebanon was occupied for

Around 1915, Wire Road became a part

idents of several towns in these counties ral-

much of the war, with Union troops arriving

of the Ozark Trail, spearheaded by the Ozark

lied in protest and convinced the Commission

in the summer of 1861. The Osage Trail, now

Trails Association, a group of private citizens

to take the more “direct route,” and the new

wide enough for wagons, horses and troops,

formed to create road systems through the

paved road, which became Route 66, passed

again came to play a key role in the city’s his-

Ozarks. The group successfully worked with

right through Lebanon, aligning with the old

tory, but as “Wire Road,” so named because

local communities to maintain, connect and

Wi r e R o a d . ( I n f a c t , f r o m M i s s o u r i t o N e w

of the telegraph wire Union soldiers strung

map passable roads to facilitate tourism, and

Mexico, much of Route 66 aligned with this

beside it, running from St. Louis to Spring-

Le ebanon’s Wire Road was a part of this net-

Ozark Trail.)

field. The name stayed long after the tele-

work (which predated the federal highway

Over the years, sections of Route 66 were

graph lines came down. The dirt road was

sy stem). When the Missouri State Highway

upgraded or replaced with modern, four-lane

upgraded with gravel around the turn of the

Commission proposed a permanent paved

roads, and by 1957, Interstate 44, one of five

century, and eventually given a route num-

road in 1922 with a route that bypassed

built to replace Route 66, had bypassed

ber, 14, by the state.

Pulaski, Laclede and Webster counties, res-

Lebanon. Remnants and landmarks of the

4 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Special: Route 66 glorious “Mother Road,” as it came to be known, are still visible in Lebanon, preserved

Munger-Moss Hotel

tery, jewelry and inspirational gifts. Lebanon’s downtown boasts unique shops selling gifts,

and chronicled by its residents for bus tour

books, clothing, bridal items, shoes, musical

groups to explore.

instruments and arts and crafts.

Yo u r g r o u p c a n b e g i n a t t h e R o u t e 6 6

For an authentic Missouri Ozarks dining

M u s e u m a n d R e s e a r c h C e n t e r, i n s i d e t h e

experience, take your tour group to Dowd’s

Le ebanon-Laclede County Library, 915 S. Jef-

C a t fi s h a n d B a r b e c u e, w i t h i t s d i s t i n c t i v e

ferson Avenue. It has displays of antique cars,

bayou-themed décor, seating for 280 and two

a collection of Route 66 books, magazines

private dining rooms. The menu includes

and videos, and recreations of a 1950s gas

award-winning favorites like southern fried

station, a classic diner complete with neon

catfish and authentic Ozark barbecue, as well

signs, and a 1940s-era tourist cabin. Bus pas-

as steak, chicken, seafood, burgers, sand-

sengers can take a free self-guided tour of the

wiches, salads and desserts. Dowd’s is open

museum during library hours, and with

daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and reservations

advance notice, the library’s curator will speak

are recommended. Bus groups in Lebanon

with your group for free. Also on site is Kinder-

can also choose among many locally owned

hook Treasures, the museum’s gift shop.

and chain restaurants, serving up a variety

Distinctive motels (a mash-up of “motor”

of American and ethnic fare.

and “hotel”) are a hallmark along Route 66.

Lebanon I-44 Speedway is the state’s only

In Lebanon, at 1336 E. Route 66, bus tours

fed stream, which puts out an astounding

NASCAR oval asphalt short-track, with races

can view Munger Moss Motel, built in 1946

100 million gallons of clear water each day,

most Saturdays during the season. Lebanon

with 14 tourist cabins – pairs of rooms in a

first drew pioneers who harnessed its

boasts nine city parks, and among them,

stand-alone structure with attached car-

power to run their flour and gristmills. Now,

Boswell Park is the most popular. Tour pas-

ports. As traffic along Route 66 increased,

t h e s t r e a m p r ov i d e s s o m e o f t h e b e s t t r o u t

sengers can swim at the aquatic center fea-

more units were built, and then, the car-

fishing in the country. Bus passengers may

turing two water slides, pitch horseshoes,

ports and areas between the cabins were

hike both easy and more difficult trails

picnic in one of the park’s three lighted shel-

walled in to create more spaces for beds.

within the park’s 3,216 acres; view exhibits

ters or traverse its walking trail. Currently,

To d a y, e a c h o f t h e 4 0 r o o m s a t M u n g e r

interpreting Missouri’s springs and natural

Lebanon city officials are working on trans-

Moss Motel is decorated with its own

environment at the nature center; and even

forming Boswell into a Route 66-themed

u n i q u e t h e m e . To u r p a s s e n g e r s c a n a l s o

watch anglers fly fishing, hoping to land

park, with three tiled murals depicting nos-

s e e t h e m o t e l ’s i c o n i c n e o n s i g n a s i t

o n e o f t h e s t r e a m ’s s t o c k e d a n d w e l l - f e d

talgic scenes and other attractions that cel-

appeared during the route’s heyday; it was

trout. Tour operators can arrange ahead of

ebrate Route 66.

restored and relit in 2010, with assistance

time for visits to the park’s trout hatchery

Lebanon, Missouri is about 165 miles

from the Neon Heritage Preservation Com-

or schedule special group programs at the

southwest of St. Louis and 55 miles northeast

mittee of The Route 66 Association of Mis-

n a t u r e c e n t e r. P a s s e n g e r s c a n d i n e i n t h e

of Springfield, Missouri, convenient to Inter-

souri and The National Park Service.

park’s rustic dining lodge, built in 1930 and

state 44. For more information about bringing

open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

your bus group to Lebanon, visit online at

Tour groups in Lebanon can also discover the many wonders of the Missouri Ozarks.

A v a r i e t y o f r e t a i l o p p o r t u n i t i e s aw a i t s

At the Ozark Hills Theater, The Prater Country

tour groups in Lebanon. The Shepherd Hills


Music Show presents Branson entertainers,

Factory Outlet, a 20,000-square-foot mall,

national acts and local talent every Saturday

features the largest dealer of Case knives in

at 7 p.m. Adventurous bus passengers can

t h e w o r l d , a l o n g w i t h L e a t h e r m a n To o l s ,

take a Missouri canopy tour at Lebanon’s

Chicago Cutlery, Denby Pottery and Missouri-

NRO Zipline, open seven days a week and

made Ozark walnut bowls, among other

offering group discounts. or contact the Le ebanon CVB, LEBANON



Be Native Tours Oklahoma City, Oklahoma The culture and history of the south-cen-

brand names. The 40,000-square-foot Heart-

tral U.S. is as rich and diverse as any region

A must-see for tour groups is Bennett

land Antique Mall has more than 250 dealers,

in America, and exciting experiences await

Spring State Park, about 12 miles west of

a cheese store and a Russell Stover outlet.

motorcoach to ur groups through Be Native

Le eb ano n . T h e r u s h in g w at e r s o f t h e sp r in g-

MacCreed’s Art Gallery offers wildlife art, pot-

Tours. Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 5

Getaway Itinerar I y - Leb banon, Misso ouri Friendly People. Friend dlyy Place.®

We have morre to do than one day can n hold. Yo ou may need a we eek! If you love the outdo oors and some Route 66 history as welll as unique shopping, ping racin c g and great home cooke k d food, od you have found your getaway. Be sure to see what festiv vals and events are on ou ur website calendar too. We We may have a gun show or bull riding, a car show w or the county fair a in town. Visit our webs site, g.

Day 1

• Arrive in L Lebanon and check in to o your room. • Stop by the Route 66 Museum & Research Center. (Free) • Enjoy a meal at Dowd’s Catfish & BBQ.

Day 2

• Grab a complimenta ary breakfast at your ho otel (where available) orr stop at Waffle Housse or J’s Family Diner. • A day of Shopping awaits you at the Shepherds Hills Factory Outlets. • On to The Mall to fin nish your shopping experrience. • Stop at T’s Redneck Steakhouse for lunch. • Stop for the afternoon at Bennett State Parrk for an afternoon filled d with great outdoor fun. • Enjoy j y dinner at the Bennett Spring p g State Park Restaurant before returning to your ho otel.

Day 3

• Begin your day with breakfast att La Te ea Da Te ea Room. • Lebanon offers many Antique sh hops, Heartland Antique Mall will keep you busy all day. • Stop St ffor llunch h att Di Dickie ki s BBQ. BBQ • Visit the Civic Center for one of their many performances.     (Visit ourr website for more inform mation of events at the Civi C c Center.) • Complete e your stay with dinner at a the Elm St. Eatery.

City y of Lebanon To ourism Dep partment p 500 East Elm Street • Lebanon, Misso ouri 65536 Phone: (417) 532-4642 Email: g

Route 66

Dining and Lodging (On Routte 66)

Addiitional Attractions

H si

Shopping and Outlet Mall (On Routte 66)

City y of Lebanon To ourism Dep partment p 500 East Elm Street • Lebanon, Misso ouri 65536 Phone: (417) 532-4642 Email: g

Special: Route 66 Be Native Tours is a receptive tour operator company based in Oklahoma City that specializes in group tour opportunities throughout 500 miles in the south-central region of the U.S. From the centrally located headquarters in Oklahoma City, Be Native Tours can help bus tour operators reach any variety of destinations, including exploring such cities as Dallas, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Kansas City, Little Rock, Tulsa and more. Be Native Tours offers an array of tour options, from custom itineraries, step-on guide services and fly-drive tours to one-day excursions and extended adventures, including art and cultural tours, historical tours, holiday lights tours, horse farm tours, presidential museum tours and Native American tours. Themes of the tours range from the Chickasaw Experience, Taste of Americana to Sights and Sounds of the South and Amish and Azaleas Tour. No group is too

a better place to showcase the rich history of Native American tribes

large or too small to book with Be Native Tours.

as well as explore and revile in the history and cultures of the cowboy

Be Native Tours’ goal is to enhance the group travel business within

and the great American West than in America’s Heartland.

the region by offering all travel partners – domestic and international

Popular locations on Be Native Tours itineraries include scenic

– the opportunity to be part of a well-focused and professionally exe-

g e o g r a p h i c s u r r o u n d i n g s t h a t h a v e d r aw n p e o p l e t o t h e a r e a f o r

cuted tour experience.

decades. At the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Okla-

Be Native Tours’ expertise has particular depth when it comes to

homa, visitors can explore and photograph the natural beauty of the

Native American history and culture, and can also develop and deliver

region while birdwatching, hiking or biking along various scenic trails

a customized experience on virtually any cultural, geographic or

the area has to offer. Groups can also experience the natural springs

event-based theme within the south-central U.S. region. There is not

in this area by taking a plunge at Little Niagara.

8 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Special: Route 66 Cities and towns along the Chisholm Trail are celebrating its 150th

video monitors, visitor infor-

anniversary in 2017, and in Duncan, Oklahoma, groups can visit the

mation and a gift shop.

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center to experience what life was like along

The Center is located at

this storied cattle route in the late 1800s. Tour passengers visiting the

2 0 0 N. M a i n S t . , i n s i d e t h e

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center can explore “the lay of the land” by

McLean County Museum of

one of the professional tour guides, the 4-D Experience Theater and

H i s t o r y, a h i s t o r i c f o r m e r

Western Art in the Garis Gallery of the American West.

courthouse built in 1903, on

Among south-central U.S.’s greatest assets are cultural destinations

the square in downtown

included on Be Native Tours’ itineraries that offer in-depth looks into

Bloomington, Illinois. Wel-

Native American life. The Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla-

coming travelers from all

homa is one of the largest tribal cultural centers in the U.S. and is

ov e r t h e g l o b e, t h i s n e w

dedicated to sharing and celebrating Chickasaw history and culture.

attraction serves as a gate-

Groups can participate in an experiential guided tour, enjoy a tradi-

way. The Center is an infor-

tional American Indian lunch and discover the Chickasaw traditions

mation hub about local busi-

for a nominal cost of $10 per person. Groups will learn about the

nesses, destinations and

Chickasaw way of life and experience Chickasaw culture with inter-

points of interest to bus tour groups, including restaurants, historic

active demonstrations.

Route 66 sites, Abraham Lincoln sites, parks and historic communities.

The offerings of Be Native Tours allow motorcoach passengers to

The result of a partnership between the McLean County Museum

enjoy a few hours, an overnight trip or a weeklong stay in the region,

of History, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors

with lodging options that include luxurious hotels and retreats. The

Bureau, the Illinois Office of Tourism and several other county and

Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma is

city entities, the facility features a large kiosk that highlights area

surround by scenic sites and nature surroundings, with 43 rooms to

attractions, many located within walking distance of the Visitors Cen-

r el ax in un til t h e n e xt a dve n tu re . T h e A r te si an Ho t el, Cas ino & Spa

ter. The Museum Square is also the site of the Farmers’ Market, open

in Sulphur, Oklahoma is a boutique-style, four-story hotel with 81

Saturday mornings from May through October.

rooms, where groups can relax and enjoy all the grand amenities

Inside the Visitors Center, 10 billboard-style exhibit panels explore

including a spa, shops, restaurant, bathhouse and indoor and outdoor

dining, lodging and travel in the area, during Abraham Lincoln’s


time along the Eighth Circuit and along Route 66 in its heyday. There

Be Native Tours is the perfect partner for any organization or gath-

are two mini-theaters. One introduces motorcoach tour groups to

ering, including church groups, family reunions and generational

area Lincoln-related sites, and the other shares with them what it

tours. Tour guides at Be Native Tours can create proposals and ideas

was like to travel Route 66 at its peak, narrated by Chester Henry,

for your tour, or create a custom itinerary based on a specific loca-

a retired state patrol officer and Route 66 Hall of Famer. The gift


shop features publications related to Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln,

Be Native Tours is affiliated with the Chickasaw Nation and guided by a skillful team with more than 20 years of tour experience. Be

souvenirs, route maps, snacks and items unique to the area, including local artwork.

Native Tours invites motorcoach groups to immerse themselves in

The Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center welcomes motor-

this rich cultural heritage, relax in the unmatched natural beauty, and

coach tours, and admission is free. Passengers are dropped off and

explore the history and present-day modernity of the land of the

picked up curbside in the designated loading zone on Washington

Southwest. For more information, contact Angelia Green at (405)

Street, and bus parking is available about seven blocks south at the


YMCA. Restrooms are located on the ground level. A limited number


A N G E L I A . G R E E N @ c h i c k a s a w. n e t ,



of wheelchairs and walkers are also available for use. Tour passengers may also take the elevator up to the McLean

Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Bloomington, Illinois

County Museum of History, which has four permanent galleries that explore people, farming, work and politics in McLean County, and

The Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center highlights the her-

two galleries with rotating exhibits. The museum does have a nominal

itage of two important pieces of central Illinois history: Abraham Lin-

admission fee, and with two weeks’ notice, guided tours are available

coln and historic Route 66. Motorcoach tour passengers can compare

for free.

the travels of Lincoln with those of tourists and automobilists during

T h e C r u i s i n ’ w i t h L i n c o l n o n 6 6 Vi s i t o r s C e n t e r a n d M c L e a n

the golden era of Route 66. The Center features interactive exhibits,

County Museum of History are open year-round, Monday and Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 9

Special: Route 66 Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to

recorded histories and personal accounts of life and travels along

9 p.m. (closed Sunday). For information on tour arrangements,

the Mother Road.

p h o n e ( 3 0 9 ) 8 2 7 - 0 4 2 8 , e - m a i l m a r k e t i n g @ m c h i s t o r y. o r g o r v i s i t online at

It also provides an interactive look at the evolution of the automobile. Tour passengers can walk through displays of antique cars and view a short film about the history of transportation. They can

Elk City, Oklahoma A great stop for motorcoach groups traveling Route 66 through

slide behind the wheel of a 1955 pink Cadillac for a virtual ride down Route 66, or climb into the backseat of a 1959 red Impala to watch

Oklahoma is Elk City. Its history stretches from the 1870s, when cow-

classic movie trailers at a Route 66 drive-in theater. “Kids” of all ages

boys drove cattle along the “Great Western Trail,” to its settling in the

can climb into the 1917 Rio Fire Truck, ring the bell and slide down

1890s, to the arrival of the railroad in 1901, when it was established

an authentic firehouse pole.

as an official town. A year later, the population had hit 1,000 and more



than 60 businesses had opened. Soon, Elk City developed into a trans-

To w n M u s e u m

portation hub and continued to grow.

Complex is a

Route 66 reached town in 1926, and residents responded with a

Elk City, Oklahoma

Victorian house

variety of attractions, services and lodging options for cross-country

filled with diora-

travelers. Today, Elk City celebrates its rich heritage with museums,

mas and dis-

vintage sights and historic buildings, which give tour groups a peek

plays of early

at the Route 66 era, the Old West, the state’s agricultural roots and

settlers in west-


ern Oklahoma.

The National Route 66 & Transportation Museum gives bus pas-

The lower level

sengers a unique perspective, as they walk through all eight states

of the house is

c r o s s e d b y t h e h i s t o r i c h i g h w a y. R e a l i s t i c m u r a l s a n d v i g n e t t e s



depict the different decades of the road and the interesting places


t h a t m a d e R o u t e 6 6 s o f a m o u s , a n d ov e r h e a d a u d i o k i o s k s r e l a t e

life, including the


Mention BusTo ours17 to receive 10% offf in our Gift Shop!

10 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Special: Route 66 interior of the Rock Bluff School, the Pioneer Chapel and an earlyday pioneer doctor’s office. It also boasts the Stars & Stripes Room,

Va acuum Cleaner Museum

Native American Gallery and a display about Elk City’s own Susan Powell, crowned Miss America in 1981. The upper level is devoted t o t h e e a r l y c o w b o y a nd r o d e o w a y s o f l i f e. T h e B e u t l e r R o d e o H a l l features rodeo memorabilia from the world-famous Beutler Brothers, one of the 20th century’s premier rodeo livestock producers. The Farm and Ranch Museum, located behind the Old Town complex, celebrates western Oklahoma’s agricultural heritage. Tour groups can view exhibits on early farm life and a large collection of earlyday farming equipment, including windmills, tractors and tractor seats, a broomcorn thrasher and barbed wire. At the Route 66 Blacksmith Shop Museum, bus passengers can see how blacksmiths forged objects from iron or steel. It is the new home for several rare pieces of history from the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

This quirky destination, located off historic Route 66, is the perfect stop for groups heading to or from Branson, or anywhere else on the

The National Route 66 Museum Complex is located at 2717 West Highway 66 in Elk City, historic Route 66. It is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and Monday through Saturday the rest of the

Mother Road. Inside the museum, guests will take a trip through the decades and see how vacuums have changed over time. Exhibits feature working vacuums from among the museum’s col-

year. The museum is closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving

lection of more than 700, representing different eras from throughout

and Christmas Day. The museum welcomes bus groups of all sizes

American history, along with accompanying advertisements and fun

for self-guided or guided tours. Tour guides are available at no extra

facts. The museum includes vacuums from the collection of Stan

cost but must be booked 48 hours in advance.

Kann, the most frequent noncelebrity guest on “The Tonight Show”

Buses can drop off and pick up passengers at the front entrance

with Johnny Carson.

of the museum. A new restroom facility designed to accommodate

The Vacuum Cleaner Museum & Factory Outlet is the perfect blend

large groups is conveniently located adjacent to the museum entrance.

of entertainment, education and nostalgia. Its collection is bound to

Buses may park in the museum parking lot. The facility is handicap-

have a vacuum that tour passengers or their families once owned


and used.

Tour planners should allow two hours for passengers to tour the

After tour groups finish their tour of the museum and its collection

complex and browse the museum’s gift shop. Group rates are $3 for

of old vacuums, they can take a private factory tour to see new vac-

eight or more. Drivers and tour planners receive a complimentary

uums from Simplicity, Riccar and Maytag being made upstairs (Monday

ticket. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted. No on-site dining

through Thursday only).

options are offered, but Elk City has multiple restaurants that can easily accommodate large groups.

Buses will be greeted by the museum curator. Passengers can be dropped off and picked up at the front door, next to a paved, handi-

Contact the Elk City Convention & Visitors Bureau for details on

cap-accessible path. Ample bus parking is readily available. All tours

your complimentary Bus Box Greeting, at (800) 280-0207. For more

are free for groups up to 100. There is no on-site dining, but nearby

i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t E l k C i t y a n d a f u l l l i s t o f r e s t a u r a n t s a n d a c c o m-

restaurants include The Gardens at St. James Winery, Sybil’s Tea Room

modations, go to

and the St. James Public House.

While you are in the area, take your bus group to visit the Stafford

The museum has been listed as one of the 15 Best and Most Offbeat

Air & Space Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Located about 40

A t t r a c t i o n s i n M i s s o u r i a n d h a s e a r n e d ov e r w h e l m i n g l y p o s i t i v e

minutes east of Elk City on Interstate 40, it is another great stop for

reviews on Trip Advisor and Facebook. For more information, contact

bus tours heading through the Southwest.

the Vacuum Cleaner Museum & Factory Outlet at (866) 444-9004 or send an e-mail from the Web site, at

Vacuu um Cleaner Mus seum St. James, Missouri Keep it clean on Route 66, with a stop at the Vacuum Cleaner Museum & Factory Outlet in St. James, Missouri. Motorcoach tour groups will get sucked in at one of the most unique museums in America today.

Coleman Theatre Miami, Oklahoma An important attraction that runs right through the heart of Miami, Oklahoma is historic Route 66, and motorcoach groups Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 11

Special: Route 66 visiting here will receive an authentic

atre, built by local mining magnate George

lians, live music and the latest Hollywood

“Mother Road” experience. Miami boasts

Coleman. From the day it opened in 1929,

m ov i e s . I t h a s b e e n i n c o n t i n u o u s o p e r a -

the longest Main Street on all of Route 66

a l o n g M i a m i ’s M a i n S t r e e t s e g m e n t o f

tion since it opened, although over the

and is proud to serve as the Gateway into

Route 66, this legendary theater has

years, it did fall on hard times and lost

Oklahoma for all those traveling the

enthralled locals and visitors alike with its

some of its original luster. The theater was

Mother Road. Just outside of Miami is the

impressive architectural beauty and pro-

added to the National Register of Historic

last section of the original nine-foot-wide

vided them with quality entertainment.

Places in 1983, and it has undergone exten-

“Ribbon Road” that is listed as an Okla-

D u r i n g i t s h e y d a y, t h e C o l e m a n T h e a t r e

s i v e r e n ov a t i o n s i n c e b e i n g g i v e n t o t h e

homa National Historic Landmark.

was proudly billed as the most elaborate

City of Miami in 1989 by the family of

One of Miami’s most distinctive Route

entertainment facility between Dallas and

George Coleman.

66 attractions is its historic Coleman The-

K a n s a s C i t y, h o s t i n g t r a v e l i n g v a u d e v i l -

12 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Special: Route 66 Coleman Theatre Lobby

Bus tour groups just passing through Miami can also get a unique Coleman experience, by having lunch on the theater’s stage, where greats like Will Rogers, Sally Rand and magician Harry Blackstone have performed. This unique event provides tour passengers with a special experience very few historic theaters offer. C o l e m a n T h e a t r e i s A DA - c o m p l i a n t a n d h a s a n o n - s i t e g i f t shop. It offers groups rates, free bus parking and a group tour r e c e p t i o n . To u r s a r e a v a i l a b l e f r o m 1 0 a . m . t o 4 p . m . Tu e s d a y through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. For information on performances and programs, phone (918) 540-2425 or visit online at Miami, Oklahoma has many other attractions for bus tour groups, from an original Route 66 drive-in and a vintage motorcycle museum to historic homes and its Historic Downtown District.

Designed in the Spanish Revival style popular during the Jazz

The Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has made tour groups

A g e, i t s e x t e r i o r b o a s t s s t u c c o w a l l s , a g a b l e d r o o f , a r c h e d w i n -

a priority, and its expert staff wants to help you to plan your next

dows, hand-carved terra cotta ornamentation and relief carvings,

group visit to the area. With 15 attractions, 13 area casinos and more

parapets, finials, spires, wrought iron railings and twin bell towers

than 500 hotel rooms, the Miami CVB can provide your customers

with red-tiled hip roofs. The interior follows Louis XV design, with

with a truly memorable experience. For more information and assis-

intricately detailed ceilings, rich furnishings, opulent carpeting

tance in planning the perfect northeastern Oklahoma tour or Route

and upholstery, winding carved stairways, lighting held aloft by

66 adventure, contact Tour Sales Coordinator Sherry Spillers at (918)

gilded statues and other gorgeous historic appointments. The the-

542-4435 or

ater ’s original 2,000-pound chandelier, discovered in a horse barn on the Coleman property, has been lovingly restored and installed i n i t s r i g h t f u l s p o t . T h e o r i g i n a l Wu r l i t z e r o r g a n w a s f o u n d i n a Texas warehouse and brought home. Everything in the facility has b e e n r e t u r n e d t o i t s 1 9 2 0 s s p l e n d o r. The initial design of the facility included offices and shops on t h e g r o u n d f l o o r, a n d a g r a n d b a l l r o o m t h a t i n s t e a d w a s g i v e n b y Coleman as a meeting space for the local Masons, whose lodge burned shortly before the ballroom’s completion. The Masons continued to meet there until 1965, and the space was used for a few years as the studio of a local artist. Finally, in 2011, it became what it was meant to be, a grand ballroom, which serves as a convention c e n t e r, m e e t i n g s p a c e a n d w e d d i n g v e n u e . J u s t o u t s i d e t h e b a l l r o o m ’ s l o b b y, o n t h e n o r t h s i d e o f t h e b u i l d i n g , i s t h e s m a l l “Celebrity Park,” with a fountain, benches and “celebrity wall” with plaques depicting famous Miamians. The Coleman Theatre, 103 North Main Street, welcomes motorcoach groups for performances, tours and special group activities. “Fun, Food & Film,” offered to groups staying overnight in Miami, occurs after regular hours, so that they have the entire theater to themselves. Groups are given a special guided tour, followed by dinner in the ballroom and a special private movie screening. Tour operators can choose from a selection of great old films that include McLintock! with John Wayne, The Road to Bali with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Watching a classic movie in a theater built in 1929 is truly like stepping back in time. Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 13

Escape Es cap tto cape o The Th T he Southwe Southwest est Inn of the Mountain Gods s

Resort & Casino Mescalero, New Mexico Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, conveniently located in the mount a i n s j u s t a b ov e R u i d o s o , i n u n f o r g e t t a b l e Mescalero, New Mexico, is the perfe ct stop for motorcoach tours. Overlooking the M e s c a l e r o A p a c h e Tr i b e ’s s a c r e d S i e r r a Blanca and offering cooler temperatures than the desert below, Inn of the Mountain Gods is truly a Southwestern oasis in the sky. Among its many benefits: ▪  Seasonal outdoor activities

▪  Located less than 45 minutes from Ski Apache ▪ Variety of world-class entertainment every month ▪  Vegas-style casino, open 24/7, boasts 38,000 square feet of gaming ▪ Two ZipTours – Apache Eagle ZipRider at Inn of the Mountain Gods, soaring over Lake Mescalero and the Apache Wind Rider ZipTour at Ski Apache, the highest in


U. S .





third longest in the world Well-equipped to handle any group, Inn of the Mountain Gods boasts award-winning accommodations, with 273 luxurious guest

In addition to award-winning accommo-

rooms and suites, where breathtaking views

dations and dining, Inn of the Mountain Gods

come standard.

conveniently located less than an hour away from the resort.

offers a full calendar of entertainment rang-

Inn of the Mountain Gods, 287 Carrizo

The resort also offers a variety of dining

ing from comedy to concerts. Recent acts

Canyon Road, welcomes motorcoach tours.

establishments, including the eclectic

have included REO Speedwagon, Bobby Flay,

Upon arrival, all bus groups are greeted by a

Gathering of Nations Buffet; the casual Big

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Clay Walker.

casino representative, who will answer any

Game Sports Bar; the Apache Tee, where

An abundance of seasonal recreational

questions and detail any special offers or pro-

guests overlook the golf course; and Wen-

options are available, including an indoor

motions. Overnight buses can drop off and pick

dell’s Steak & Seafood, a sumptuous full-

pool and workout facility, horseback riding,

up passengers at the hotel porte-cochere, and

service restaurant offering an extensive

hiking, paddleboating and kayaking. Tour

daytrip buses drop-off/pick-up at the desig-

menu with exquisite dining options. Before

passengers can soar through the air on the

nated bus entrance located very close to the

settling in, tour passengers can grab a

Apache Eagle ZipRider at Inn of the Mountain

Player’s Club. Buses park for free at the resort’s

nightcap at the new Casino Lounge, Wen-

Gods and the Apache Wind Rider ZipTour at

designated bus parking area. Free bell service

dell’s Lounge, Club 49 or the Sports Bar, all

S k i A p a c h e, b o t h o f f e r i n g a n e x h i l a r a t i n g

is provided upon request, and check-in/out is

entertaining crowds well into the evening.

experience with breathtaking views. Winter

a fast, easy, efficient process, handled by one

T h e n e w l y o p e n e d B r o k e n A r r o w Ta p

months bring snow to the surrounding Sierra

ofthe booking professionals at the hotel front

House boasts 60 beers on tap and offers

Blanca, inviting groups to enjoy a day of ski-

desk. Group incentives vary and may be avail-

classic gastropub food options.

i n g a n d s n o w b o a r d i n g a t S k i A p a c h e,

able at the time booking.

14 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Escape Esc ap a pe to T Th The he Southwest For more information about bringing your bus tour group to Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, please phone (800) 545-6040 or e-mail To learn more about the resort, visit online at

Southern Ute Museum m Ignacio, Colorado Motorcoach tour groups traveling through Colorado – called “land of the shining mountains” by southwest Colorado’s Ute Indians – will see the Ute Tribe’s history brought vividly to life with a stop here. The Southern Ute Museum celebrates the living history of Colorado’s longest continuous residents with multi-sensory exhibitions, rare artifacts and recorded stories. Tribal members have loaned many of the artifacts, and many are on view to the public for the very first time. E s t a b l i s h e d i n 1 9 7 1 t o p r e s e r v e a n d p r o m o t e U t e c u l t u r e, t h e museum continues its mission in a modern facility, which opened in 2011 just south of the Sky Ute Casino Resort. Operated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe since May 2016, the 52,000-square-foot Southern Ute Museum is a new building reflecting an old history. Its collections include historic photographs, baskets, dance regalia, paintings, jewelry, belts, hairpieces, drums, weapons, awls and other cultural objects. The tour begins in the Welcome Center, with Ute Seasons, an exhibit of seasonal relevance for Ute people. Bus passengers will see timber,

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 15

Escape Esc ap a pe to T Th The he S Southwest outhwest

steel and glass rise 60 feet toward a medicine

photographic curtains; touchscreen displays;

In addition to visiting the exhibits, tour

wheel ceiling, offering a view of the sky. The

a full-size teepee; a cabin replica and school-

groups can schedule a popular “Behind the

Permanent Gallery tells the story of the Ute

room; and more.

Scenes” tour, which offers a closer look at

p e o p l e, b e g i n n i n g w i t h a 3 6 0 - d e g r e e fi l m

Through mid-September 2017, bus tour

t h e m u s e u m ’s i n n e r w o r k i n g s , i n c l u d i n g

experience, the Circle of Life. The narrative

passenge ers can visit Mountain Lion! in the

the journey an object takes, beginning with

continues with a variety of displays: early

Temporary Gallery. Created by the Center

arrival, to collections, to display. These spe-

rock art left behind by the first Utes; large

of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College

cialized tours also provide a unique insight

and the Colorado Division of Parks and

and broader perspective of the Southern

Wildlife, this family-friendly exhibit features

Ute Museum’s mission and purpose. There

large dioramas, calls of the lion, fossil rep-

is a nominal charge, and reservations are

resentations, artifacts and an informative


video about large cats.

within walking distance is the Sky Ute

est display to be developed at the museum,

Casino Resort, with 140 luxury rooms, a

presents a unique history of tribal members

4 5 , 0 0 0 - s q u a r e - f o o t g a m i n g f l o o r, b i n g o ,

i n t h e m i l i t a r y. T h i s e x h i b i t p r ov i d e s c u l -

four restaurants, a spa, gift shop, fitness

tural, historical and educational informa-

center, pool, 24-lane bowling alley, minia-

tion with panels, photographs, beadwork,

ture golf and an arcade. The resort offers

basketry, a world map of historical military

discounts and other incentives for group

c o n fl i c t s a n d a N a v y d i v i n g h e l m e t w i t h


select equipment. Lo ocated on the Southern Ute Indian reservation, at 503 Ouray Drive, the Southern Ute

For more information about bringing your bus tour group to the Southern Ute Museum, phone





Museum welcomes large tour groups with To learn more

advanced reservations. It is open seven days

about booking your group into the Sky Ute

a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is ADA

Casino Resort, go to

compliant. Buses drop off and pick up pas-


sengers directly in front of the museum, and

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe invites your

motorcoach parking is available on site or at

tour group to visit its museum and the land

the adjacent Sky Ute Casino Resort parking

of the shining mountains in beautiful south-

lot. Admission is free, and a greeter will meet

west Colorado.

groups as they arrive. 16 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Immediately north of the museum and

A Southern Ute Veterans exhibit, the lat-

Escape Esc ap a p to pe to T Th The he Midwest Miidwest M

Conw way, Arkans sas Located in the heart of central Arkansas just off Interstate 40, about 30 miles northwest of the state capital of Little Rock, Conway is

leges and in town are the Arkansas Shake-

Conway’s dining options are also diverse.

speare Company, Baum Gallery of Fine Art and

With more than 200 restaurants, ranging from

the Conway Symphony Orchestra.

local favorites to big name chains, Conway has

Conway also boasts a wide range of shop-

the kind of food motorcoach travelers look for.

an easy stop for motorcoach tours as they pass

ping options, from cute local boutiques and

Mike’s Place serves up seafood, steak and

through the Natural State. The City of Colleges,

antique shops throughout the renovated down-

wood-fired pizzas in a fine dining setting, with

as it is known, offers the quaint charm of a

town, to large well-known brand-name stores

two rooms available for large groups. The

small town with all of the amenities of a larger

to please the many tastes of a group of bus tour

casual Hog Pen BBQ offers down-home bar-

city. From sporting events to the performing

passengers. Opened in Fall 2016, Lewis Cross-

becued ribs, pulled pork, chopped beef, smoked

arts, there is plenty to do in Conway.

ing is home to several large chain stores such

chicken and fried catfish, with seating for 100.

The presence of the University of Central

as Ulta, Michaels and Academy Sports and has

Conway also offers 1,200 hotel rooms,

Arkansas, Hendrix College and Central Baptist

ample parking for large busses. Wilkinson’s

many of which are fewer than five years old,

College contribute to Conway’s already strong

Mall in downtown Conway has more than

within walking distance to restaurants and

local arts and cultural scene. Among the diverse

20,000 square feet of shopping space and fea-

located just off I-40 for added convenience. If

cultural and performance offerings at the col-

tures the largest shoe store in Ark rkansas.

you plan an overnight stay for your group in Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 17

Escape Esc ap a pe tto o The Th T he M Mi Mid Midwest i idwest Conway, the convention and visitors bureau

Trail are part of the Arkansas Historic Trails Sys-

can assist with hotel arrangements, including


working out special rates for your group and

T h e c o nv e n t i o n a n d v i s i t o r s b u r e a u i s

making lodging recommendations. It can also

happy to recommend restaurants that can best

provide city maps and a list of events taking

suit your group size, as well as make reserva-

place while you are in town, from college sport-

tions if needed. Conway Convention & Visitors

ing events to concerts and ballet and theater

Bureau welcomes you and your group to visit

productions. Also available is a list of day trip

Conway and see why it is one of the fastest-

opportunities from Conway if you would like

growing cities in Arkansas. To learn more

to spend a few days here. Nearby is the Cadron

about this small but diverse city with so much

Settlement Park, site of the first white settle-

to offer, phone (866) 726-6929 or visit Conwa-

ment in central Arkansas, a National Historic For help with group sales, contact

Site and part of the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

Rachel Shaw at

Tour groups stopping here will find a historical mural of this pioneer settlement, the

Spangler Candy Company

Blockhouse restoration, Cherokee Trail of

Store & Mus seum

Tears exhibits, hiking and handicapped trails,

Bryan, Ohio

picnic areas, a pavilion, restrooms and parking areas, markers and interpretive signs.

Spangler Candy Company is a family-owned private business founded in 1906. Its products

This port on the Arkansas River was also a

include lollipops, candy canes and marshmal-

stopping spot for the Butterfield Overland Mail

low candies. Spangler Candy Company Trolley

Route. Both the Trail of Tears and the Butterfield

Tours offer a 30-minute ride through the factory that produces one of the nation’s top-selling

18 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Escape Esc ap a pe tto o The Th T he M Mi Mid Midwest i idwest To u r p a s s e n g e r s a r e d r o p p e d o f f a n d

hometown as Dutch and Moon), remem-

picked up at the front door, and a bus greeter

bered best. It is the only Dixon home men-

is available upon request. Bus parking is

t i o n e d i n R e a g a n ’s 1 9 6 5 a u t o b i o g r a p h y,

offered in the large parking lot in front of the

Where’s the Rest of Me?

store or in the lot across the street.

Dum Dums Trolley

Reagan was elected to the first of two terms

Please note: Bus tours may request special

as President of the United States in 1981; local

tour times, but tours are not conducted on

friends and supporters formed the Ronald Rea-

Saturdays or Sundays as there is no produc-

gan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation

tion on these days.

in the early 1980s to purchase and preserve the

lollipops – Dum Dums – plus candy canes,

Spangler Candy Company, 400 N. Port-

marshmallow peanuts and Saf-T-Pops. The

land Street, Bryan, Ohio, is located 10 miles

store/museum offers candies and logoed mer-

s o u t h o f 8 0 / 9 0 - O h i o Tu r n p i k e . F o r a d d i -

chandise, and features the story of 111 years

tional information, visit online at spangler-

of this family-owned business that is now in its or phone Ann Spangler at (888)

fourth generation of family leadership.

636-4221, ext. 374.

house on Hennepin Avenue. It was added to

Tours are conducted on the Dum Dums Trolley. The trolley station is right outside the store, so there is minimal walking to see the

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Dixon, Illinois

500,000-square-foot facility. The tour is con-

Everyone needs “a place to come back

ducted entirely indoors, so weather is not a

to,” and for former President Ronald Reagan,

factor. Each trolley holds approximately 22

that place was Dixon, Illinois. His childhood

people, so larger groups are divided into two

home in this riverside community is the per-

smaller groups. While one goes on the trolley,

fect stop for a motorcoach tour.

the other stays in the store/museum area.

T h e m o d e s t , t w o - s t o r y h o u s e, b u i l t i n

After the first trolley tour is completed, the

1 8 9 1 , i s i n t h e Q u e e n A n n e s t y l e, w i t h a

groups switch activities.

gabled roof and wide covered front porch. It

Drivers and escorts are comped, and no

is situated halfway up a steep hill at 816 S.

deposit is required. Payment is accepted on

Hennepin Avenue, on a street lined with old-

the day of the tour in the form of cash or

growth maples and oaks.

credit card. Reservations for groups of more than 20 are highly recommended. N o o n - s i t e d i n i n g i s a v a i l a b l e, b u t i n

Born in 1911 in Tampico, Ilinois, Reagan spent his formative years in Dixon, from age nine through high school graduation. The

Sauder Village, a 20-minute drive from the

f a m i l y m ov e d t o s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t r e n t a l

Spangler facility, the Barn Restaurant at the

homes while living here, but the house on

Village offers a great lunch or dinner buffet.

Hennepin is the one the Reagan boys, Ron and older brother Neil (better known in their

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 19

Escape Esc ap a pe tto o The Th T he M Mi Mid Midwest i idwest the National Register of Historic Places in 1982,

about Reagan. From there, groups head next

as the group restored it to its 1920’s appearance

door for a volunteer docent-led tour of the

based on Reagan’s and his brother’s recollec-

neat, two-story home where he lived.

tions. The home officially opened to the public

Upstairs are three small bedrooms, and

on February 6, 1984, Reagan’s 73rd birthday.

the first floor includes an entry hall, double

Both brothers were present at its dedication.

parlor, dining room, kitchen and pantry. The

The adjacent house has been converted

f r o n t p a r l o r, t h e m o s t f o r m a l r o o m i n t h e

into a visitors center, with exhibits, gift shop,

house, has a large picture window and tiled

library and a small gallery where tour pas-

fireplace. The boys were not allowed to play

sengers can view a short biographical film

in this room, but there is a loose tile in the hearth, where young Ron used to hide pen-

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home

nies. The 73-year-old Reagan put four pennies here on his 1984 visit. Next, tour passengers can peek into the horse barn out back, where the two brothers raised rabbits and a Model T like the one the family owned is stored; sit on a bench in the tree-shaded pavilion beside the home, next to a statue of Reagan; or go back to the visitors center to pick out some souvenirs. The home is open April 1 through October 31, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Both buildings are fairly small; large groups will be divided

20 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Escape Esc ap a pe tto o The Th T he M Mi Mid Midwest i idwest t into smaller groups and rotated between the visitors center, home and surrounding grounds. Buses can park in the adjacent lot for free, and passengers must walk a short distance along paved walkways to the buildings. Tickets are $7, with comped driver and escort admissions for groups of 25 or more. Reservations for 10 or more must be made two weeks in advance, and tour planners should allot about 90 minutes for the stop. Afterwards, the tour bus can head north down Hennepin Avenue – aka The Reagan Way – to see other Reagan landmarks. At Fifth and Hennepin is the Northwest Territory Historic Center – in Reagan’s day, South Central School, where he attended fifth, sixth and seventh grades. His sixth-grade classroom has been replicated and a Reagan History Room established on the same floor, using personal Dixon and presidential memorabilia donated by Reagan. At the First Christian Church, 123 South Hennepin, young Dutch helped his mother Nelle to teach Sunday school. At the end Hennepin at River Street is a bronze statue of Reagan on horseback. About four miles north is Lo owell Park, where Reagan lifeguarded on the Rock River for seven summers and reportedly rescued 77 swimmers. Dixon has some hotels that cater to motorcoach tours, and several local and chain restaurants can accommodate large groups. To learn more about bringing your tour group to the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home, phone (815) 288-5176, e-mail or visit

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 21


bus tour group relies on good and plentiful food in its travels, to para-

phrase Napoleon. Whether stopping

for a quick snack, a fine dining experience or a taste of the local cuisine, keeping hungry passengers satisfied is vital for a successful tour. Equally important is providing top-notch lodging, and a perfect stop combines both.

Pig Out Inn Barbeque Natchez, Mississippi The Southern charm, magnificent river views and gorgeous antebellum homes of Natchez, Mississippi are just a few of the reasons for motorcoach tour groups to schedule a stop here, at the oldest permanent settlement on the mighty Mississippi River. Another is for the authentic Southern fare served up at The Pig Out Inn Barbeque, specializing in slowsmoked meats and homemade side orders. This casual local favorite has been familyrun since it opened 21 years ago. Owners Ann and Archie Willett learned the art of creating perfect barbecue in Dallas before moving to Natchez in 1996, when they opened The Pig Out Inn atop bluffs just one block from the Misssissippi River. Meats, which come fresh from handpicked suppliers, are slow-cooked for 16 hours out back, in a smoker made to order in Dallas. Everything is made in-house, including the barbeque sauce and special spice rubs. The select menu includes sandwiches and dinners and features ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, sloppy joes and hot sausage. Dinner offerings include two- and three-meat combos and come with two sides – cole slaw, baked beans, potato or pasta salad, chips, fresh-cut curly-Q fries, smoked corn on the cob, black bean and corn salad or mac and cheese. Tour passengers can top

Pig Out Inn Barbeque

Dining and Lodging

off their authentic Southern barbeque feast

streets, historic houses, churches and build-

spoil you with our speed and efficiency, to

with ice cream or a homemade mini-pie such

ings, quaint shops and riverwalks.

allow your group more time to experience

as pecan or sweet potato.

Bus passengers can be dropped off and

Pig Out Inn Barbeque, 116 Canal Street,

picked up right next to the restaurant, and

is just a few blocks north of Highway 84 and

drivers can park for free around the corner.

our beautiful city, where the old South still lives,” says owner Annie. The Pig Out Inn is open seven days a week,

the Natchez Visitors Center. This central loca-

Pig Out Inn staff will meet your group, pass

from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and until 3 p.m. on Sun-

tion provides tour groups with easy access

out menus and have everyone eating a deli-

d a y. T h e f a c i l i t y c a n s e a t 1 1 5 - 1 2 0 p e o p l e

to historic downtown Natchez, with its scenic

cious meal in just a few minutes. The group

between the main dining room and enclosed

leader and bus driver eat for free. “We will

patio. It is an open, airy, eclectic, light-filled

22 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Guide: Dining and Lodging spot with a down-home feel, friendly, helpful staff and reasonable

Grand Hotel’s history, dining has been an exceptional feature of the

prices, where everyone is welcome. Its motto is “Swine Dining at its

guest experience, including dressing up for dinner after 6:30 p.m. In


addition to the legendary Main Dining Room overlooking the Straits

For information, phone (601) 442-8050 or visit online at

of Mackinac, other casual options are located around the island. Getting there is part of the fun. On the mainland, groups board the ferry for a 15-minute ferry ride to Mackinac Island. Cars are not allowed

Grand Hotel

on the island so residents and visitors alike travel by foot, bicycle or

Mackinac Island, Michigan

horse-drawn carriage. Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island offer many

Since 1887, Grand Hotel, America’s Summer Place, beckons you

activities, including swimming, a spa, garden tours, Afternoon Tea

to a bygone era of old-world hospitality and charm. Family-owned

in the Parlor, croquet and bocci in the Tea Garden, golfing on The

for three generations, this National Historic Landmark is truly one of

Jewel, complimentary children’s programs, unique shops or relaxing

a kind. Your tour passengers will return to a time of horse-drawn carr i a g e s , a f t e r n o o n t e a , c r o q u e t o n a n e n d l e s s l aw n a n d l i v e m u s i c throughout the day and evening. Groups visiting for the day can enjoy the legendary Grand Luncheon Buffet in the Main Dining Room. This distinct highlight of the Grand Hotel experience includes an assortment of seafood, hot entrées, sliced meats, crisp salads, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, and a dessert table with more than 20 different selections baked fresh daily. After lunch, groups can tour the hotel grounds, explore the Tea Garden and take in the views from the world’s longest porch. An overnight stay in one of 393 uniquely decorated guest rooms includes a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily. Throughout

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 23

Guide: Dining and Lodging i n a r o c k i n g c h a i r o n t h e w o r l d ’s l o n g e s t

ation for years to come. In the late 1930s,

begin your group’s walking tour, because it is

porch. Mackinac Island has many things to

Starved Rock Lodge was built by the Civilian

just steps away from a staircase which leads

do, such as bicycling, horse-drawn carriage

Conservation Corps (CCC), along with many

from the lodge to the park’s Visitor Center and

rides, hiking, exploring historic Fort Mackinac

of the trails and shelters that still stand today.

13 miles of hiking trails, seasonal waterfalls

and shopping downtown.

The lodge is an architectural masterpiece,

and stunning bluff vistas.

For more information about bringing your tour






with 69 guest rooms, 23 cabin rooms, a

Trailheads Concessions is located where

restaurant, bar, gift shop and meeting rooms.

the trails meet and hikers begin and end their or contact the group tour

The Great Hall, the centerpiece of the lodge,

journey. Trailheads has hiking supplies, sou-

coordinator at

features the largest two-sided stone fireplace

venirs and a menu with burgers, ice cream,

in Illinois, composed of Joliet limestone. The

fresh fudge, soft drinks and more.

or (906) 847-3331.

original mortis-and-tenon furniture has with-

Starved Rock State Park has 18 canyons,

Starved Rock Lodge, Illinois

stood the test of time and still welcomes

seasonal waterfalls and tree-covered bluffs.

by Kathy Casstevens, Starved Rock Lodge

guests to relax in it. The indoor pool complex

The Visitor Center offers free orientation videos

Marketing Director

includes a full-size pool, children’s wading

and is staffed with friendly and knowledgeable

Bus tour groups are discerning travelers,

pool, hot tub and two saunas. The lodge and

guides eager to help hikers find their way on

and Starved Rock Lodge, nestled in the middle

its cabins were listed on the National Register

the park’s many trails. From the Visitor Center,

of scenic Starved Rock State Park, offers a vari-

of Historic Places in 1985.

it is a .3-mile walk to Starved Rock and .4 miles

ety of sights and activities for all tastes. It is

On the east end of the lodge’s veranda, one

to French Canyon. It takes about an hour to

centrally located less than 100 miles southwest

piece of limestone sits quietly among the rest,

walk from the Lodge to the top of Starved Rock

of Chicago, less than two hours from Spring-

but this one is cut in the shape of an arrow-

then in and out of French Canyon and back to

field and only one hour south of Rockford.

head that points directly at Starved Rock. The

the Lodge. Map s of all lodge and park trails

view from this bluff to Starved Rock (the next

can be found at

When Starved Rock became a state park in 1911, the goal was, and still is, to preserve

bluff across the valley) is one that should not

The lodge offers year-round guided hikes

and protect property for public use and recre-

be missed. In fact, it is the perfect place to

for adventure seekers (lunch or snack included). Specialty hikes are also offered, such as the MegaHike (which treks to all the canyons in the park in one day) and hikes combined with Yoga. The bluff views of the I l l i n o i s R i v e r Va l l e y a r e a m o n g t h e m a n y photo opportunities in the park. Tour groups love the lodge’s Tribute to the Stars series of musical performances, which take place in the Great Hall. Talented vocal performers entertain audiences with their renditions of hits by stars such as Elvis Presl e y, P a t s y C l i n e , D e a n M a r t i n a n d m o r e . Lunch or dinner is included in the ticket price. To u r g r o u p s c a n t a k e a s e a s o n a l hiking/trolley tour or enjoy an afternoon of win e ta st in g and s ho p pin g . If y o u ch o o se t o use your own bus for a tour, step-on guides a r e a v a i l a b l e . I n t h e w i n t e r, b u s t o u r p a s sengers can take a Bald Eagle Trolley Tour and in the spring, explore seasonal waterfalls and canyons. Summer months bring daily departures on Historic Trolley Tours, which give first-time visitors the perfect way to become acquainted with the Starved

24 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Guide: Dining and Lodging Rock area and learn about the rich history upon their arrival. Warm

Made in Illinois from

weather also launches leisurely land and water cruises aboard the

reclaimed barns and 100-

Belle of the Rock paddlewheel boat, combining the interesting history

year-old hardwoods, the

of the area with a slow-paced ride on the Illinois River. Fall Colors

new furniture is in keeping

Trolley Tours give bus tour passengers a look at a stunning autumn

with the mortis-and-tenon

palette of color set against sandstone and limestone rock formations,

style just as the CCC orig-

which compose this unexpected attraction nestled amid the flatlands

inally crafted it – strong

and cornfields in Illinois. New for 2017 is the “Visit a Canyon” Trolley

and sturdy with no visible

Tour – requested by groups who prefer to ride the Starved Rock Trol-

hardware. In 2013, the

ley to the trailhead of Ottawa Canyon and Council Overhang. Also

same company created

new in 2017 is a low-impact walking tour of the lodge. This 30-

new tables and chairs for

minute tour tells the history of Starved Rock State Park, a National

the main dining room,

Historic Landmark since 1966, and Starved Rock Lodge.

porch and the Back Door

Starved Rock Lodge has several comfortable lodging options. The guest rooms in the historic wing feature knotty pine paneling and an

Starved Rock Lodge

Lounge. In 2014, Starved Rock State Park expanded

authentic feeling of a bygone era. The hotel wing rooms are larger

from 2,700 to 3,205 acres, with the purchase of the former White

and closer to the pool. Several of the Pioneer Cabins located to the

Oak Campground. The lodge’s “Art in the Park” collection is one

east of the lodge stand alone, have heat/AC, a full bath and are pet-

o f t h e l a r g e s t d i s p l a y s o f c h a i n s aw w o o d c a r v i n g s i n t h e M i d w e s t .

friendly to dogs under 50 pounds. Cabins on the west side feature

Recent additions to the collection include bronze and steel pieces

four cabin rooms under one roof. Some of the cabins have wood

of art. In June of 2014, a new kinetic sculpture made of glass and

burning fireplaces and a few have electric fireplaces.

steel was installed in front of the Hotel entrance of Starved Rock

The pine-paneled main dining room is adjacent to the Great Hall

Lodge. To learn more, visit online at

and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Guests love the Sunday Brunch, which combines the rustic ambiance of the setting with tasty offerings for everyone. The Back Door Lounge has a casual, s p o r t s b a r a t m o s p h e r e a n d m e n u . L o c a l m u s i c i a n s p r ov i d e l i v e l y e n t e r t a i n m e n t e v e r y F r i d a y n i g h t d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r. D u r i n g t h e summer months, the action moves outside to the Veranda with live music every Friday and Saturday night. Brick oven pizza and freshly grilled burgers and brats are just a few of the menu items available when dining outdoors. The indoor pool complex is open to all guests on the property and features an expansive swimming pool; a one-foot, gated pool for children; a hot tub and two saunas. An overnight stay enhances the overall experience of a visit to Starved Rock, making it more than a day trip – it is a lasting memory. To truly enjoy the atmosphere of yesteryear with modern amenities of today, visit Starved Rock Lodge, where the past is always present. In 2007, Starved Rock State Park was chosen as one of the “Seven Wonders of Illinois,” through an online voting contest sponsored by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and ABC-7 TV in Chicago. In 2011, Starved Rock State Park celebrated its 100th Anniversary. In 2012, Starved Rock Lo odge & State Park were named the No. 1 Fan Favorite Attractions in the state, in a social media-based Facebook contest launched by the Illinois Office of Tourism. In 2012, all of the guest room furniture was replaced and upgraded. The new, handcrafted additions included headboards, side tables and chests of drawers, plus guest room tables and chairs. Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 25

New, Improved and Different The Corn Palace

The Corn Palace

settle here. The building, as it stands now,

walking distance of the palace. Accommo-

Mitchell, South Dakota

was built in 1921 and is visited by more than

dations, retail stores, outdoor activities and

Motorcoach tours should not miss the

a quarter million people each summer. The

recreational facilities make planning a mem-

newly renovated Corn Palace, located at 604

palace is decorated annually with roughly

orable group tour effortless.

N. Main in Mitchell, South Dakota – where

275 thousand ears of corn and 3,000 bushels

For more information on this unique

new ear-chitecture awaits. The World’s Only

of grains and native grasses, along with a

attraction or to schedule a free guided tour,

Corn Palace appears as if it were drawn

new theme that portrays facets of life in South

p l e a s e c o n t a c t t h e M i t c h e l l C o nv e n t i o n &

straight from a storybook, adorned with elab-


orately assembled corn murals, topped with

Free guided tours of the beautiful attrac-

Vi s i t o r s B u r e a u a t ( 8 6 6 ) 2 7 3 - 2 6 7 6 o r v i s i t

colorful light-up domes, an Oscar Howe art-

tion are offered daily May through October,

work showcase, improved accessibility, a

8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. October through April,

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

walk-out balcony and agricultural exhibits.

free guided tours are available upon request.

Montpelier, Vermont

A vi s it t o th e C o r n Pa l a c e i s i n te r a c ti ve a nd

Plan at least 60 minutes for a guided tour;

Bus tour groups will have a truly authentic

fun for the whole group, offering free admis-

allow extra time if passengers wish to explore

Vermont experience with a stop at Morse

sion and a large gift shop. The Corn Palace

more of the palace on their own. Temporary

Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier. Free

offers a range of menu choices from the tra-

bus parking for unloading passengers is

sugarhouse tours and tastings, multimedia

d i t i o n a l h o t d o g s a n d n a c h o s t o Wo r l d

available in front of the Palace on Main

displays in a real woodshed theater, a nature

Famous Corn Palace Popcorn Balls. Mitchell’s first Palace was built in 1892, when the city was just 12 years old. Early set-

Street. Bus parking is available behind and

trail, country store and an outdoor Vermont

to the North of the Palace. There is no charge

farm life museum make up the diverse Morse

for parking.

Farm experience.

tlers displayed their agricultural bounty on

Mitchell, South Dakota is home to an

The maple has more than 200 varieties,

the building’s exterior to prove the fertility of

array of other group-friendly attractions and,

b u t o n l y a f e w p r o d u c e s a p o f s u f fi c i e n t

the soil and to attract immigrant farmers to

there are many excellent restaurants within

quality and sugar content to be used for

26 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

New, Improved and Different maple sugaring in the Sugar House; trek

maple creemee (soft serve ice cream flavored

t h e M a p l e Tr e e Tr a i l t o v i e w t h e v a r i o u s

with authentic Vermont maple) and stroll the

maple and tree varieties and see how the

nature trail to take in the brilliant colors of

sap is collected; sample a variety of maple

the sugar maple leaves.

syrups and maple-flavored treats; visit an

No on-site dining is available, but maple

outdoor museum that includes an antique

creemies, Sugar on Snow and other treats,

r e p l i c a o f t h e Ve r m o n t S t a t e H o u s e ; a n d

such as milkshakes and floats, are offered

s h o p i n t h e l a r g e, w e l l - s t o c k e d s t o r e f o r

for sale (drivers and escorts get a free sam-

Morse Farm evaporation

authentic maple syrup and other Vermont


specialty foods, produce in season and a

Morse Farm welcomes bus tours anytime,

maple syrup. The northeastern section of

full array of craft and gift items. Selections

with 20-minute guided tours available for a

North America is the only region in the

c a n b e m a i l e d f ro m t h e s t o r e o r c a r r i e d o u t .

small fee (self-guided tours are free). Reser-

world where one is able to find the sugar

In addition, the property is adorned with

vations are required from mid-September to

m a p l e t r e e a n d t h e e nv i r o n m e n t a l c o n d i -

whimsical folk characters carved with a

mid-October, because of the volume of vis-

tions capable of producing sap that will

c h a i n s aw b y o w n e r B u r r M o r s e .

yield maple syrup.

itors during fall, and they are appreciated

The two most popular seasons fo r tours

during spring, summer and winter. Buses can

The history of this family-run business

are spring and fall. Tree-tapping – or “sug-

drop off and pick up passengers at the main

begins in 1814, when James Morse first set-

arin’” – which takes place in the spring, has

entrance and park in the adjacent lot. Tour

t l e d i n Ve r m o n t . To d a y, m a p l e s y r u p i s

a very short run, from three to five weeks,

planners should allot at least one hour for

made here by an eighth generation of Morse

beginning anywhere from late February or

groups to take the tour, walk around on their

family members, whose ancestors were

mid-March and running through early April,

own and shop in the store.

taught to tap maple trees by Native Amer-

depending on weather conditions. In winter,

icans. Hatchets were used to cut into the

maples stop growing and store their sap in

t r e e, a n d t h e s a p w a s c o l l e c t e d i n b i r c h -

their roots. By late spring, when the trees

bark baskets. As the sap sat overnight,

have begun to develop leaves and flowers, a

water evaporated and left the sweet dark

chemical change occurs which gives the sap

syrup. Initially, hot rocks were used to evap-

an unpleasant taste. It is only in early spring,

orate even more water until only sugar – or

when warm days cause the sap to flow up

“sinzibukwud” – remained. (Sinzibukwud

from the roots to feed new growth, and cold

is an Algonquin Indian word meaning

nights cause the sap to return to the roots,

“drawn from wood.”) The process was

that the trees can be tapped. During this

a d a p t e d a n d i m p r ov e d u p o n b y E u r o p e a n

exciting time, tour passengers can witness

colonists, who utilized iron pots and other

the maple sap being boiled down into syrup

tools they brought with them.

in the Sugar House and get a taste of “Sugar

In colonial America, revolutionary leaders

on S n ow ” – ho t m ap l e s ugar t u rn ed t o taffy

such as Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin

when it is drizzled over shaved ice and served

promoted the production of maple sugar to

with a fresh donut.

replace the taxed cane sugar imported from

Fall, of course, is prime tourist season in

the West Indies. The term “sugarin” is still

Vermont, when bus groups will be treated to

used today to refer to the spring tapping of

a dazzling display of autumn foliage. At

sugar maples.

Morse Farm, tour passengers can enjoy a

E-mail for more details and reservations.

Morse Farm is open year-round, and each season offers a memorable outing for b u s t o u r p a s s e n g e r s . A n y t i m e o f y e a r, v i s itors can enjoy a video about maple sugaring and the Morse family history, seated on sugar maple stumps in a real woodshed theater; examine the equipment used for Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 27

New, Improved and Different Heritage Adventures/

conditions of payment are negotiable, but

Coal Country Tours

reasonable deposits are generally required

Toms Brook, Virginia Heritage Adventures/Coal Country Tours

to reserve a tour. The company focuses on safety, comfort, unique and interesting des-

is a full-service coach tour company offering

tinations, good food and camaraderie. They

pre-planned and custom tours to central

approach their tours not as a business ven-

Appalachia, the mid-Atlantic and Canada.

ture so much as a chance to travel with new

Its two signature tours are to Old Québec City


and the West Virginia Mine Wars and Coal

Owner and lead guide Doug Estepp gen-

Heritage Tour. Because its tours are educa-

e r a l l y a c c o m p a n i e s e v e r y t o u r. D o u g i s a

tional, fun and unique, the company has gar-

historian who specializes in central

nered a lot of media attention; its tours have

Appalachia, with a focus on the early devel-

been featured by USA TODAY Travel, PBS’ All

opment of the coal mining industry, the Hat-

Things Considered, the Associated Press, CNN,

field & McCoy feud and the West Virginia

the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Mine Wars of the early 1900s. He was fea-

and many more.

tured throughout the PBS American Experi-

Heritage Adventures/Coal Country

ence documentary The Mine Wars, released

To u r s p r ov i d e s c l e a n , m o d e r n , ov e r - t h e -

in 2016, and he also appears briefly in the

road coaches in a variety of sizes and con-

new film Blood on the Mountain, released

Facebook under Heritage Adventures or Coal

fi g u r a t i o n s t o m e e t y o u r n e e d s . T h e y w i l l

on Netflix in April 2017.

Country Tours; contact the expert staff via

pick up your group at your choice of depar-

For information, itineraries, videos and

ture points, and one or more of their expert

more, visit online at

guides accompanies all tours. Terms and

or, and on

28 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

e-mail at or by phone at (540) 233-0543.

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 29

Social So S ocia ia ial a Marketing Ma Mark ar rk ke k eting Tour rism s for Tourism by cat c ca catherine atherine Heeg

How to Supercharge Your Social Ads • Do you have a list of your client emails that you have worked hard to compile, fine tune and update? • Do you have a clear picture of your target demographic? • Have you tried the intro-level ad targeting tools and are now ready to up your game and gain more from your social ads? If you have checked off and answered yes to any one of these questions, Facebook Power Editor or Ads Manager is the choice for your next ad campaign. Greater success is just a few clicks away! This is so cool. When you select “Customer List” you simply upload the e-mails of your selected clients and Facebook matches them up with existing Facebook users. For example, if your e-mail list con-

30 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

tains 10,000 e-mails when you upload it, Facebook may match up to 8,000 of its users with those e-mails. You now have a valuable list of 8,000 of your clients who have Facebook accounts. You can target those people in advertising. Here is where you find this option: Ads Manager<Audiences<Create Audience<Customer List. Engagement on Facebook allows you to create a custom audience of video viewers over the last 180 days. It is a powerful way to target video ads to already interested fans. Once in Power Editor (available in Chrome only) the door is open to set up your unique audience targeting. Not only can you target by demographic (learn more: ), you can also target by: • Life events

• Relationships • Interests • Travel aspirations • Culinary styles Once you set up your unique Custom Audiences you can save and reuse them for multiple campaigns and ads. While it takes a bit of time to design your Custom Audience for specific markets, the value is that you can re-use, tweak and continue to benefit from them over time (more info on here: creation audience For example, perhaps you have a new group tour that you would like to advertise to a specific demographic. Simply c r e a t e y o u r g r a p h i c a n d a d c o p y, t h e n create your target audience and build your ad. Each quarter you can evaluate the results of your previous ad and re-use the custom audience or create a new audience. In addition, you can set up two ads and split test the results of your ad campaign. Facebook is starting to introduce a new method of split testing that allows you to build multiple ads simultaneously and test while the ad is live. Do not make these mistakes (

Heeg Audience Overview Overall, targeting can be as complex as the audience you are aspiring to reach. The more details you know about your desired audience, the more likely you are to attract and engage. Creative Ads Once you have a solid grasp of your ad audiences and ad creation, and are measuring your success, it is time to break into different styles of advertising on Facebook. Carousel ads give you the opportunity to showcase 3-5 images and/or videos in a s i n g l e p o s t . Yo u c a n c r e a t e d i f f e r e n t headlines, links and/or calls to action in a single ad. Learn more here: Upside: Maximize your story-telling o p t i o n s a n d p r ov i d e a v a r i e t y o f c a l l s t o action. Downside: A reader needs to scroll through the carousel to see each image. Here is how you may incorporate this into your group tour marketing campaigns: 1. Showcase attractions you will visit 2. Spotlight a variety of hotels 3. Highlight activities

4. Focus on travel or destination tips 5. Showcase the value of working with a travel pro Canvas ads are a fully immersive vehicle for integrated storytelling. Imagine giving your mobile viewers a singular experience that features photos and videos along with text and links. Call to Action buttons are available. Upside: It is new, exciting and loads quickly. D o w n s i d e : Tw o m i n u t e s o f v i d e o i s allowed in each canvas. You may want to split up the video content with still images to better tell your story. Tip: Consider customizing your Canvas to different target audiences. For example, i f y o u a r e t a r g e t i n g w e e k e n d g e t aw a y tours, you will want to use a different message than if you are targeting girl getaways or luxury senior travelers.

and communication style. The wealth of options available gives you extraordinary ways to get creative and reach your unique audiences. Where have you seen the most success â?&#x2018; with your social ads? Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at and socially.

Ad Style Overview Overall, these new types of advertising media are a powerful way to stand out in a noisy medium and attract new eyeballs to your unique content. Social advertising is about creating the perfect mix of timing, visual appeal

Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 â&#x20AC;˘ 31

20 Tips For Fo or Bus Tour r Planners Pla la l anners by: Dr. Charleen Jaeb 20 Tips for Planning

2016, Fodor’s Alaska 2015, John Hall’s Free

ule, budgets and interests of customers. She likes

Alaskan Trips

Alaska Seminar February 15 in Venice, Florida,

Celebrity and Holland-America Cruise Lines.

This is a follow-up to my last column, which

and an interview with John and Audrey Ogrod-

Here are 20 tips to help you plan a trip to Alaska, which is “Beyond Your Dreams, Within

started out as “20 Tip ps on Trips North of the Bor-

nik, Alaska specialists for AAA Travel in Venice.

der,” including tours to Canada, named a top

An inspiration for this column came unex-

travel destination for 2017, and Alaska, our

pectedly this winter in Florida, the farthest

1. Plan early for Alaska tours. One and

largest state. I visited both and was aware of

state from Alaska. It surprised me how many

a half to two years ahead is not too soon to

their similarities; however, after learning more

people have booked Alaskan trips here with

start. Choose a respected company special-

Your Reach” (Alaska’s state slogan):

about their differences and the probability that

John and Audrey, and both are planning and

izing in Alaskan tours to work with on trip

bus tour planners would not combine the two

accepting bookings for 2018 trips. I met a lady

details. Many of the better stops are not in big

on the same trip, I wrote the March column on

in the beauty shop who drives from Florida to

cities. Choose your target market, dates and

Canadian trips and this one on Alaskan trips.

Alaska to visit her child every year, stopping

length of stay, promotional methods and price

along the way to visit her other children too.

t o i n fl u e n c e c u s t o m e r s t o p u r c h a s e t h e i r

Why visit Alaska? Some reasons include: scenery, wilderness, wildlife, mountains, glac-

From John Hall, the founder and CEO of John

iers, tax-free shopping, Northern Lights, sights

Hall’s Alaska, I learned it is not necessary to fur-

Alaskan adventure with you. 2. Consider seasons and weather con-

above Arctic Circle, Denali Tundra Wilderness

nish meals to make free sales seminars suc-

ditions. Alaska is best visited in the summer.

Tour, lodge in Talkeetna, panning for gold,

cessful. It helps to put an advertisement in a

The tourist season extends from May through

hunting, hiking, fishing, dog sledding, Iditarod

local newspaper offering a cash discount for

September. June and July offer longer summer

Great Sled Dog Race, Riverboat Discovery trip,

booking a trip at the seminar. It should be held

days, huge blooming flowers, vegetables and

Trans-Alaska Pipeline, meeting Alaskan natives

at a reputable nearby hotel with ample parking.

the chance to see wildlife with their young.

and fresh seafood (where you cannot get

I t a l s o w o r k s w e l l t o p r ov i d e a n i n t e r e s t i n g

Temperatures vary from the 60s to 80s, and it

enough fresh salmon, halibut and crab legs).

detailed program, and to collect names,

rains frequently. It is a bit cooler in August and

A trip here is on the bucket list of U.S. citizens

addresses and e-mail addresses from attendees

September; however, these months provide

who hope to visit all 50 states or who visited

who would like to receive a deluxe catalog and

a chance to see the Northern Lights, beautiful

Alaska when younger and would love to return

DVD at the seminar. John and his team lingered

fall colors and more animal activity.

with family members. Road Scholar has set up

afterwards to answer questions. If you would

3. Decide the length of time to spend

seven Family Adventure Learning Voyages in

like to learn more about his company, you can

on the trip. The majority of inclusive trips

2017 plus an Inside Passage intergenerational

check out his Web site at

from the lower 48 to Alaska run from eight to

boat trip for grandparents July 14, 2017.

From Audrey, a 19-year Venice AAA travel

12 days. Many Inside Passage packages are

department employee who has set up and gone

seven to eight days. Customized tours origi-

memorable land-cruise tour with Holland-

on many Alaskan trips, I learned the importance

nating inside Alaska by Gray Line and John

America with neighbors in the ’90s, bus and

of planning early, and keeping in touch with cus-

Hall’s Alaska can run one day, several days,

travel agency catalogs, “The Other Way to Do

tomers. She works with Trafalgar and Gray Line

a week, two weeks, etc., depending on the

Alaska” by Larry Plachno in National Bus Trader

Alaska to set up itineraries to match the sched-

purpose of the trip.

I n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t A l a s k a c a m e f ro m o u r

32 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

20 Tips 4. Learn basic facts about Alaska.

libraries, social and civic clubs, schools and

on river boat past restored historical Eskimos

Alaska is the largest state in U.S. by area, and

churches; distribute your bus catalogs; adver-

villages; and sailed on a whale-watching boat

larger than all but 18 sovereign countries. It is

tise in bus and travel magazines and local

and large rubber raft in the Bearing Sea from

the least densely populated and third least pop-

newspapers; on radio, television, the Internet

Sitka. Even so, we still missed a gondola ride

ulous state in the 50 states. Its economy is dom-

and your Web sites; use personal selling to

to a mountaintop, dogsled rides, jet boat rides,

inated by fishing, natural gas, oil industries,

former and anticipated customers, group

ZipRider (world’s longest zipline), the Taku

military bases and tourism. Alaska holds more

leaders and the general public.

Glacial Hovercraft and kayak adventures.

than half of America’s national park lands, with

8. Understand how prices are deter-

12. Provide entertainment both on the

17 national park units and 16 national wildlife

mined on Alaska trips. Prices are based

bus and off, especially if you are planning to

refuges. The time zone of most of Alaska is one

on double occupancy rates on overnight trips.

drive to and from Alaska. Along with DVDs,

hour past the Pacific Time Zone. Its 2016 resi-

Rates are affected by when you go, where

music and games, include quiet time to enjoy

dent population was 739,828. Juneau is its cap-

you go, number of included meals, and gra-

the scenery, read or snooze. Stop every two to

ital; however, Anchorage is its biggest city and

tuities, quality of accommodations and

three hours to stretch, use the restroom, eat,

contains half the state’s population.

included excursions. On cruise ships, the

shop or take part in activities. Take photographs

5. Learn Alaska’s history. Its begin-

price depends on where you stay on ship –

of wildlife such as bears and moose from inside

nings date back to about 14,000 B.C. At the

lower inside cabin lowest, deluxe suite high-

the bus. Arrange a group picture be taken.

time of Russian explorers, it was populated

est. Add in port charges, taxes and airport

13. Ketchikan, City of Totem Poles,

with Alaskan native groups. Alaska was pur-

transfers. It is difficult to say what the cost of

Salmon Capital of the World, known for

chased from Russia by the U.S. in 1867 for

an average Alaska trip is. However, for 15-

its rainforest, is where we took our float-

$7.2 million, at approximately two cents per

day land and cruise, my guess is it would

plane through Misty Fiords. It was one of the

acre. The purchase was nicknamed

range from $6,000 to $12,000

first stops we made on our cruise up the

“Seward’s Folly.” It was admitted as the 49th

9. Before the trip begins, share a list

state in 1959. During World War II, Japan

of books, Web sites or television shows

occupied two Alaskan Islands.

about Alaska with your customers. The

14. Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is on

inside passage. The next three cities are often covered on inner passage cruises.

6. Furnish information on packing.

best way to find these sources is to search

the mainland but not connected by road

Dress is usually casual day and night – unless

Google, ask your librarian or find appropriate

to rest of the North American highway sys-

you are on a cruise package. Otherwise, just

Web sites. Since this is a trip of a lifetime

tem. It is surrounded by ice and water, so you

one outfit that is appropriate for “dress-up” is

where new friendships will be made, furnish

can only get there by boat or plane. From

sufficient. Pack and dress in layers of clothes

passengers a list of the names and addresses

Juneau, we flew by helicopter to the nearby

to keep warm or stay cool because tempera-

of the people on your tour.

Mendenhall Glacier where we walked around.

tures change throughout the day. Bring a lined

10. Make sure you comply with bor-

15. Sitka, the former Russian capital of

waterproof, windproof coat with hood; dis-

der-crossing laws. Information should be

Alaska, is one of the best Inside Passage

posable rain ponchos and pants; hiking or rain

furnished to bus tour planners by the Alaskan

towns to explore on foot, according to Foder.

boots; comfortable walking shoes; sun hat;

tour company they are working with. Indi-

With its mild climate, beautiful open-ocean set-

backpack; underwear and warm socks; long-

viduals traveling alone or without help of an

ting you can visit its top attractions like St.

sleeved shirts and long pants; warm pajamas;



Michael’s Cathedral, Sheldon Jackson Museum,

scarves and slippers. Also bring sunscreen, for information on passports

Castle Hill and Sitka National Historical Park.





sunglasses, camera, iPhone, money, credit

such as cost, processing time, special

Its blend of Alaska native, Russian and Amer-

card, watch, pair of binoculars, personal

announcements, what you need to exit and

ican history was fascinating, as was our whale-

hygiene articles, medications with a list of

re-enter Alaska and the lower 48.

watching boat ride in its harbor.

them, an address book with stamps and busi-

11. Discover forms of transportation

16. Anchorage is Alaska’s biggest city

ness cards. Consider small gifts from your

you may use, besides just the bus. On our

and contains half the state’s population.

hometown for friends you make. There are

trip to Alaska, we flew to Vancouver; boarded

According to Fodor’s the restaurants, lavish

stores available for what you forget.

a cruise ship through the inside passage; took

espresso stands, art and history museums

7. Promote your trip to Alaska a year

a helicopter to Mendenhal Glacier in Juneau;

and performing arts have earned the city the

before departing. Use publicity on social

rode a river raft on whitewater in Denali; took

nickname of “Los Anchorage,” but the occa-

media and your Web site; get speaking

a glass domed train to Fairbanks; took a float

sional moose ambling down a street hints at

engagements wherever you can: TV shows,

plane through Misty Fiords in Ketchikan; cruised

the nearby wilderness, and their streets lined Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017 • 33

20 Tips with white picket fences with large eagles

is now entirely paved. Roads inside Alaska

and enclose a copy of your future trips. Report

perched upon them reminds you that you are

have different conditions, which Alaskan bus

findings to the bus company or travel agency.

not in the lower 48 anymore.

tour companies are familiar with.

Furnish a poster of photos to be displayed in

17. Denali National Park requires at

20. Things to do when the trip ends.

y ou r of fi c e. W r it e a n a r t ic l e f o r yo u r lo ca l

least an overnight stay. Places in and around

Consider having a farewell party. Survey pas-

newspaper or group newsletter with photos.

it include Mount McKinley, the highest moun-

sengers, asking them to rate attractions,

Ke e p i n t o u c h w i t h c u s t o m e r s . P u t t h e i r

tain peak in North America, Talkeetna, home

accommodations, drivers and guides; note

names in a database.

of Denali Flyers, pilots who take you on air tours

what they liked and disliked and why; and

Thank you for your comments on this arti-

on small, sky-equipped planes, whitewater and

suggest changes. Keep it simple. One page

cle and suggestions for future ones. I would

float trips on the Nenana River, Denali Visitor

i s s u f fi c i e n t . G i v e t h e m a s o u v e n i r p e n .

appreciate knowing if this article influenced

Center, Denali Outside Center.

Explain you will send them the results of the

you to plan an Alaskan trip for your group or

18. Kotzebue is a small village above

findings without identifying names of respon-

bus company or take one yourself. My e-mail

t h e A rc t i c C i rc l e where we were given

ders. This might be the time to give them the

address is My next

parkas when we arrived via Alaskan Airlines

copy of the group picture or make it available

column will be decided based on your sug-

and surrounded by welcoming Eskimo chil-

to purchase. Send them a thank-you letter

gestions of topics that would help you.

dren dressed in T-shirts. Their teacher gave us a walking tour of town, where we gathered wild flowers walking on tundra. Then

With degrees from four universities, Dr. Charleen Jaeb was a business professor at Cuyahoga

flew to Nome, where we panned for gold, vis-

Community College. After her retirement in 2000, she became a trip planner for the CCC

ited an Iditarod dogsled “musher” and played

retirees and Middleburg Heights Women’s Club, fi fillling as many as 15 buses each year. Jaeb

with Siberian husky puppies. 19. Find out current highway updates. Latest word is that the famous Alcan Highway

and her husband escorted trips for Lakefront Lines in Cleveland, Ohio. She says, “It was wonderful and somewhat unbelievable in retirement to be able to do what you love to do and get paid for doing it.”

Advertiser’s Index

34 • Bus Tours Magazine / May, 2017

Atlantic City/Meet AC . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

Morse Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Aurora CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

Old Sturbridge Inn

Be Native Tours LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

& Reader Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

City of Aztec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Our Lady of Consolation . . . . . . . . . . .21

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center . .25

Outlets of Mississippi . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Conway CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Pig Out Inn BBQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Dancing Horses Theatre . . . . . . . . . . .20

Reagan Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Elk City, Oklahoma CVB . . . . . . . . . . .10

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home . . . . .20

Galesburg CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers . . . . .18

Grand Hotel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

Scott County CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

Inn of the Mountain Gods . . . . . . . . . .15

Southern Ute Museum . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Jacksonville Area CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Spangler Candy Company . . . . . . . . . .19

Le ebanon CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6, 7

Stafford Air & Space Museum . . . . . . .10

Le ewis County CVB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

Starved Rock Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

McLean County Museum

Vacuum Cleaner Museum

of History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

& Factory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Miami, Oklahoma CVB . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Wings Over the Rockies . . . . . . . . . . .31

Miromar Outlets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Wolf Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Bus Tours Magazine May/June 2017  
Bus Tours Magazine May/June 2017