VISIT Milwaukee is putting a call out to all business and community leaders, as well as any residents who are active in local, regional, or national chapters and associations, to ask that they look to their hometown to host their next board or business meeting. Whether it’s a 10-person board meeting or a 10,000-person convention, booking future events in our city will be key to our local economic recovery.
While VISIT Milwaukee is spearheading the campaign, it is up to the Milwaukeeans to rally behind the message and “shop local” when planning future meetings. The impact of these meetings and events goes far beyond just the hospitality industry.
“It’s now more important than ever that Milwaukee businesses need to keep their meetings here. Meetings held in Milwaukee mean more money flowing to other local businesses, more jobs, and more tax dollars staying in our community,” says VISIT Milwaukee President & CEO Peggy Williams-Smith. “From hosting an international expo to having a board meeting in a private room at a local restaurant, gatherings of all types and sizes will help Milwaukee’s economy recover. Let’s work together to give the Brew City the boost it deserves.”
In 2019, meetings and events brought nearly a half-million attendees to Milwaukee and $177 million in direct economic impact. And when people come to Milwaukee, it’s a good thing for everyone—tourism is the second largest economic driver in the state and provides full-time jobs to over 53,200 people in the Greater Milwaukee area. It matters now more than ever --- nearly 100 events booked by VISIT Milwaukee have been canceled this year due to current circumstances, leading to an estimated loss of over $70 million in economic impact. These numbers exclude sporting events and concerts as well as the drastically reduced economic impact of the Democratic National Convention.
It’s not just VISIT Milwaukee that is leading the call to bring meetings business back to Milwaukee. The campaign includes multiple videos, like a testimonial video from local leaders who are joining the cause in advocating for the city as the best place for your next meeting. Those leaders include:
- Kira Lafond, market president and publisher of the Milwaukee Business Journal
- Rodney Ferguson, CEO and general manager of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
- Paul Bartolotta, chef and owner of Bartolotta Restaurant Group
- Steve Bailey, director of events at the Junior Volleyball Association
- Amelia Loera, event coordinator at Stand Eat Drink Hospitality Group
- Greg Marcus, president of The Marcus Group
- Tamela Greene and Anne Maria Arroyo, owners of Trouble & Sons and Moxie Food & Drink
- Chris Fox, mobility manager at Milwaukee County Transit System
- Bill Koch, executive director of Tour of America’s Dairyland
- Maggie Beckley,an attendee of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s 2017 regional conference
- Timothy Huesmann, convention chair of Anime Milwaukee
As part of this locally targeted campaign, which launched this summer, the Bring It Home landing pageon visitmilwaukee.org has already seen 4,065 visits and social posts running on Facebook and LinkedIn have garnered over 70,000 impressions. The media buy is targeted within the M7 region and is complemented by outreach to local organizations like MMAC, Tempo Milwaukee, Newaukee, and more. VISIT Milwaukee will continue to promote the Bring It Home campaign into 2021.
To learn more about bringing your event to Milwaukee, please call Leslie Johnson, director of sales, at (414) 287-4259, or submit a RFP. For anyone seeking to plan a meeting in Milwaukee, please review this FAQ that includes information about hosting a meeting during this challenging time.