Last Thursday and Friday, VISIT Milwaukee and the City of Wauwatosa conducted a familiarization trip for 18 prestigious meeting planners responsible for booking major conventions for their national organizations. The planners invited to the Milwaukee area from across the country represented a potential of more than 50,000 room nights and an estimated economic impact to the region of almost $30 million in future years.
Mayor Jill Didier welcomed the group to Wauwatosa and gave a presentation about the city’s hotels and attractions at a lunch at Café Hollander. Said Didier, “A key strategy is to get meeting planners to our community and have them see for themselves all we have to offer, knowing that we will greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll bring their convention to our area.”
A recent survey of more than 600 national meeting planners commissioned by VISIT Milwaukee showed that the perceptions of planners who have visited the area are much more positive than for those who have never been here. Respondents who had held a meeting in the Greater Milwaukee area ranked it in the top quarter ahead of cities like Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“Held several times a year, these familiarization trips of our community’s attractions, hotels and meeting venues have been found to make a huge difference in image perception," said Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. "It is a great opportunity for our sales force to meet and form relationships with these planners, which plays a big role in the kind of long-term selling that we do for future conventions.”
The City of Wauwatosa, Frontier Airlines, Potawatomi Bingo Casino and the Wisconsin Center District are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs.
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists and convention and meeting planners, both nationally and internationally. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 600 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Tourism generated $2.5 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2010 and supported more than 61,000 local jobs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit www.visitmilwaukee.org.