Missouri Destination Guide

Air, Land, Sea
• Branson's American Parasail (stateparkmarina.com) conducts hourly flights over Table Rock Lake.
• Also on Table Rock Lake, the Spirit of America (stateparkmarina.com) is a 48-foot sailing catamaran that can accommodate up to 49 passengers for sunset cruises and more.
• On the Branson Scenic Railway (bit.ly/1djPyMR), passengers board old-fashioned train cars to explore the foothills of the Ozarks.
• With both indoor and outdoor passenger decks, the paddle wheeler Lake Queen (mainstreetlakecruises.com) plies the waters of scenic Lake Tallycomo.

The 159-room Welk Resort Branson has completed a multimillion-dollar renovation that gave guest rooms a new color scheme inspired by the looming Ozark Mountains, as well as upgraded granite countertops in bathrooms, ergonomic desk chairs, mini refrigerators, and new in-room beverage stations featuring Seattle's Best coffee and Tazo teas. The resort has a 2,200-seat theater available for events.

The 293-room Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel reopened in September 2012 as an almost brand-new property following a $20 million revamp in the wake of severe damage sustained during a tornado the previous February. Along with repairs to the property's infrastructure, new energy-efficient thermostats were installed in guest rooms. The hotel now has a total of 220,000 square feet of flexible event space. The Branson Convention Center, adjacent to the property, had considerably less damage and reopened in May 2012.

The Radisson Hotel Branson has completed a two-year, $5.5 million renovation that touched upon all 472 guest rooms, the lobby, meeting space and the Wildwood Bistro. Guest rooms now have 37-inch flat-panel TVs, wireless Internet and coffee-making machines. The hotel offers 15 flexible space configurations within a total of 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

Meeting Hotels
To find and compare hotels in the Branson Lakes area, and to send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Branson Convention Center; exhibit space, 50,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 5; (417) 336-5401; bransonconventioncenter.com

Airport Transit
Branson Airport, 10 miles from downtown. Transfer by taxi, about $80

State tax, 3%; education sales tax, 1%; City of Branson sales tax, 1.5%; City of Branson tourism tax, 4%; transportation district tax, 1%; plus other assorted taxes; total tax on hotel rooms, 12%

Group Venue
Perched on a limestone bluff, the LEED-certified Dewey Short Visitors Center offers interactive exhibits about the White River Valley, Table Rock Dam and many other local/regional landmarks. The facility also offers group tours of same. (417) 334-6394; tablerockdamtours.com

Explore Branson, (417) 334-4084 or (800) 296-0463; explorebranson.com

Classic Taste
Kansas City's most famous barbecue joint is none other than Arthur Bryant's, a favorite of President Harry Truman, who was a Missouri native. Don't miss the burnt-end brisket sandwich. arthurbryantsbbq.com

Kansas City
With more than 5,700 square feet of meeting space, the 132-room Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza is scheduled to open this fall in the city's landmark Country Club Plaza District.

The Kansas City Marriott Downtown renovated all 983 guest rooms to the tune of $20 million last year. The project also touched on the lobby, restaurant and pool area. The property has more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

Downtown, the 217-room Hotel Phillips, with 5,600 square feet of meeting space, has completed a propertywide multimillion-dollar renovation.

The 126-room Raphael, part of Mar­riott's Autograph Collection, has transformed its lobby by creating two distinct seating areas, each with French doors opening onto a courtyard terrace with sweeping views. The property features 805 square feet of meeting space.

A $3.5 million renovation at the 240-room Holiday Inn Country Club Plaza has updated every section of the hotel, including all guest rooms, the lobby and lounge, the ballroom, and the rest of the property's 5,000 square feet of meeting and conference space.

The 43-room boutique Ambassador Hotel Kansas City opened downtown in July 2012. The property's grand ballroom can host up to 120 people.

Meeting Hotels
To find and compare hotels in the Kansas City area, and to send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Kansas City Convention Center; exhibit space, 388,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 48; (816) 513-5000; kcconvention.com

Airport Transit
Kansas City International Airport, about 20 miles from downtown; transfer cost by taxi is approximately $50

Room tax, 18%; convention tax, 7.5%; sales tax, varies by county

Group Venue
Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge is a steak-lover's dream. Along with the fare, the eatery features a private dining room that seats 45 and a patio that can host 20 guests. (816) 442-8115; makersmarkrestaurant.com

Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association, (816) 691-3849; visitkc.com