All We Can Tell You About the BNT Mystery Tour
We’d love to tell you all about the upcoming BNT Mystery Tours—but we can’t! As usual, it’s all hush-hush and full of surprises. It’s true, we shouldn’t tell you any details, but we can tell you what goes into planning a Mystery Tour. Bob Neff, Jr. tells us a little history and what he hopes for all BNT mystery tours. Karen Kuch, a seasoned BNT Tour Planner, answers a few of questions from her desk—with the condition we don’t give away any surprises!
Who came up with the mystery tour idea?
Bob Neff, Jr.: The idea of the Mystery Tour has been around for 15 years or longer. We read about places in travel magazines. CVBs (Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus) from around the country are always sending us tour ideas to investigate. When we go to travel shows, we exchange ideas with other travel planners. We tell our people we are traveling to attractions that are either new or a place we have not been for at least five years. It is hard when you have traveled to so many areas to find something new and that our people will enjoy!
What have been a few of the most popular or surprising mystery tours?
Bob Neff, Jr.: A couple of overnight Mystery Tours stand outs are Solomon’s Island in Southeast Maryland and the Finger Lakes region of New York. There are a number of attractions in Eastern Ohio that have been excellent tours as well.
When planning a BNT Mystery Tour, what are the top three things you consider and why?
Tour Planner Karen Kuch: Is this a place we haven’t been to recently? Is there enough variety so there will be “something for everyone” in the tour? Are the activities within a reasonable amount of traveling time? At the end of the day, I always hope to hear, “That was so much fun! I never thought of that!” We always want to plan places that a traveler may not try on their own, but we know will be fun!
What kind of traveler do you think a BNT Mystery Tour attracts?
Tour Planner Karen Kuch: They attract people with a playful sense of adventure. People who like to try new things…maybe people who have been to a lot of places on their own but want something different. Mystery Tours attract people who just want to take some time off and enjoy their day without the stress of planning all the details. Our Grandparent Mystery is fun for the families to discover places together, and it gets the grandparents off the hook for planning.
Why do you think travelers like being surprised on tour?
Tour Planner Karen Kuch: It’s a kind of bonding experience within the coach to try to figure out where we’re going. I have to say as a Tour Director on some, it’s SO FUN to tease them as they really enjoy the challenge of figuring out where we’re going. Some people don’t enjoy planning tours…I was one of those! They are open to anything and like to sit back and enjoy the day!
Can you give us a little hint about the Fall Mystery Tour?
Karen: There’s actually a 1 Day Mystery Tour and a 3 Day Mystery Tour…I can’t tell you about either one, but you can count on the fact that they will have a variety of adventures we hope our travelers love!
How might we relate a mystery tour to allowing ourselves to be surprised in our faith journey?
Bob Neff, Jr.: We are always looking for family friendly attractions that Christian folks will enjoy. It keeps us on our toes to find places that are top quality, fun, and exciting because we know our travelers trust us to take them on a wonderful vacation. It is similar to our salvation experience in that we trust the Lord and we know that our life will be a meandering stream with many surprises, but we also know we are in good hands and we rest in that. Not that we are perfect in any way, but we want our travelers to know that we have their best interest at heart—and we are working hard to keep that trust. I am not really comfortable in comparing our Mystery Tours to what God does for us in our life, but in a small way, our travelers are trusting us with their vacation plans. And, we don’t take that lightly.
Are you intrigued or a Mystery Tour veteran? Here’s what we can tell you….
2020 Fall Mystery Tours:
3-Day Fall Mystery Tour
Dates: October 15-17, 2020 | 3 days
Price per person: $526 Double $639 Single $488 Triple $470 Quad
Description: “Leaf” your busy schedule and take in experiences that BNT has not visited before or within the last 5 years, and ones we feel you will enjoy.
Walking Guide: 3
1-Day Fall Mystery Tour
Dates: Sat, Oct 24
Price per person: $177
Description: “Leaf” behind your worries for the day and join us on this One-Day Fall Mystery!
Walking Guide: 2