First-time Seller Says Faith-Based Market is ‘Perfect For Us’
Billy Bass of the Stephen Foster Story in Bardstown, Kentucky, thinks the Going On Faith Conference is a direct line to one of his destination’s key demographics.
“I really didn’t have a bad meeting in two days,” said Bass. “The faith-based market reacts so favorably to our drama and to Bardstown in general. I talk to many guests after our show, and even if they didn’t come with their church, most are affiliated with one. We entertain groups that want family-friendly entertainment.”
Bass said the delegation of 300 was perfect for his first time at an industry marketplace.
“I felt right at home from the start and learned a lot this year,” he said. “Next year, I would come back and do things even better based on what I learned this year. I talked about the drama, the town, the trains, the great shopping downtown and the Abbey at Gethsemane. Everyone was very receptive to what we have to offer.
“We’re also well known for our bourbon industry, but these people don’t mind that. Most of them aren’t coming for that, but they don’t let it bother them at all. To be able to spend two days around this many church groups is perfect for us.”
First-Time Attendee Will ‘Definitely Be in South Bend’
Sharon and Howard Vandever of West Division Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, attended the conference for the first time and picked up quite a few new ideas for their travel group.
“I was so impressed with the staff at the conference,” said Sharon Vandever. “We attend quite a few church conferences, and this was so well organized. You never had any question about where you were supposed to be.
“We’ve already gotten information back from a number of people we met with, like Rockford, Illinois; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Beaumont, Texas,” said Vandever. “My husband is from Texas, and we may take our group there. I would also love to take our group back to the Billy Graham Library. We only had an hour and a half there on our tour, and it’s so wonderful. We’d probably incorporate that with a trip to Gatlinburg.”
Vandever’s group has traveled a lot through the years.
“We’ve taken our group to Kentucky to see the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Creation Museum and Shaker Village,” she said. “And we’ve been to Mackinac Island, Niagara Falls and Colorado Springs. We visited the Lincoln library in Springfield, Illinois, and we loved Oklahoma City — the national memorial, the riverfront and the cowboy museum. I think their riverfront is every bit as nice as San Antonio’s.
“We partner with another church on larger trips and use their bus,” she said. “Sometimes we only take 15 or so, and we just use our church van. We’ll definitely be in South Bend for next year’s conference. Now that we’ve been, we’ll feel like veterans.”