Wall Street Journal Confirms: Meeting in Milwaukee Won’t Make Any Headlines
We know we're in a recession. We're reminded of it pretty much 24/7. However, don't cancel your meeting or convention because of the current economic woes or out of concern that your event might become the lead story on the evening news. The bottom line: meeting in Milwaukee is good for the bottom line! You can get down to business in Milwaukee and still enjoy the many amenities visitors expect in a first-class destination - a safe, walkable downtown, friendly people, first-class hotels, fine restaurants and a vibrant arts and cultural scene.
These attributes were underscored in a July 22 Wall Street Journal article. According to the story, "employees at some big (government) agencies, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are being encouraged to host meetings in more buttoned-down places such as St. Louis, Milwaukee or Denver." Attributes for an acceptable meeting destination, according to the WSJ, include: "a travel hub, low in cost; and ‘a non-resort location.' "
In fact, more and more government meetings are booking Milwaukee for exactly those three reasons, according to Brent Foerster, vice president of sales and marketing for VISIT Milwaukee. Between Jan. 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 (18-month period), 21,645 hotel room nights were booked for government-related meetings. More recently, from July 1, 2008 through July 23, 2009 (about 13 months), 28,163 government hotel room nights were booked.
"We may take a little issue with the term ‘buttoned down,' " said Foerster, "because convening in Milwaukee is not only productive, it's fun and first-time visitors will become instant fans of our warm and authentic brand of hospitality. But the facts remain that in-person business meetings are important lifelines to share value information and Milwaukee is a great value destination."
While many cities (including a certain gambling mecca) were more than happy to charge $200-$500 per night for a hotel room pre-recession, we now see these cities slashing rates and promoting their destinations as affordable. Milwaukee was, is and always will be a value destination where visitors can convene productively. In fact, Runzheimer International, the national consulting firm specializing in transportation, travel and living costs, ranked Milwaukee the most affordable city for food and lodging when compared to its competitive set of cities it competes with for visitors. Milwaukee ranked 60th least expensive major city out of 69 cities on the Runzheimer Meal and Lodging index report. Hotwire, the travel website, ranked Milwaukee in its top 10 "2008 Best Places for Value Vacations." And we also have golf, gaming and beaches!
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally and is dedicated to ensuring our guests are warmly welcomed and enjoy an enriching experience in this jewel of the Great Lakes. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Tourism generated $2.6 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2007 and supported 65,000 local jobs. The Spirit of Milwaukee and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/.
Federal Agencies Steer Business Meetings
There is broad agreement that Milwaukee is not Las Vegas. Or Orlando. We may have the Fonz and Summerfest and Water Street. We don't have Mandalay Bay or Space Mountain and Sea World. But that's OK. The federal government says we are a place where business gets done.
Government Meeting? Stay Away From Fun City
What do Reno, Orlando and Las Vegas have in common? To some pockets of the federal government, they just seem like too much fun.
Intercontinental Milwaukee Earns Travel Green Wisconsin Certification
-InterContinental Milwaukee is not only dedicated to its guests but also the environment as the hotel was recently awarded Travel Green Wisconsin Certification. InterContinental uniquely offers guest shower spas with water-saving low flow fixtures, local and organic food options, recycling, and energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs while still evoking a style of sophistication and echoing the character and energy of Milwaukee.
"We are committed to our guests and our responsibility to the environment," said Tim Smith, general manager of InterContinental Milwaukee. "Earning our Travel Green Wisconsin certification is one more step in doing everything we can to create sustainability which in turn fulfills our guests' high standards."
InterContinental is adopting practices that make sense. Known for pampering guests with luxury and comfort, the hotel enhances that aspiration with its Travel Green Wisconsin Certification by putting more minds at ease while maintaining the high level of service and amenities to which the hotel's guests expect.
Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary certification program that recognizes tourism businesses for reducing their environmental footprint through eco-friendly practices and the first of its kind in the country.
To achieve certification, applicants must earn a minimum of 30 points from a checklist of basic requirements covering a wide range of "green" practices, including: waste reduction, reuse and recycling; energy efficiency, water conservation and wastewater management; air quality; wildlife and landscape; transportation; purchasing; and local community benefits. InterContinental Milwaukee earned 45 points-far surpassing the minimum required. The Wisconsin Environmental Initiative, an independent third party, then certifies Travel Green Wisconsin applicants.
Centrally located downtown, InterContinental Milwaukee is a contemporary hotel steps from the city's bustling financial and performing arts districts, dining and spirited nightlife. The property features 221 guestrooms and more than 12,000 square feet of stunning event and meeting space, restaurants and lounges.
For more information about Travel Green Wisconsin, a partnership of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative, visit http://www.travelgreenwisconsin.com/.
For more information about InterContinental Milwaukee, visit InterContinentalMilwaukee.com.
Some of the Best Things in Life are Free… And in Milwaukee
Today's travelers are looking for quality experiences that provide a good return on investment. Milwaukee's budget-friendly offerings provide all of the excitement of a big city at prices that won't break the bank.
- Summer in Milwaukee means free outdoor concerts nearly every night of the week. On Thursdays the popular Jazz in the Park series (http://www.easttown.com) sizzles in downtown Cathedral Square, and trendy cafe Alterra on the Lake (alterracoffeepro.com/) features alternating Latin and opera music in its Musica del Lago and Florentine-at-the-lake series. River Rhythms, downtown's fastest growing music festival, entertains all ages at Pere Marquette Park along the Milwaukee River every Wednesday night (www.westown.org). The Summers Best Parks Concerts take place all around the city featuring everything from classical to bluegrass (www.countyparks.com)
- Leave your wallet at home when you head over to River Flicks, an August Friday night series of outdoor family films shown along the banks of the Milwaukee River in Pere Marquette Park (http://www.westown.org/).
- Enjoy sunset shows at Discovery World's "Live at the Lake" music series on Wednesday nights and the free Friday night flicks, both at the lakefront outdoor Rotary Amphitheater (www.discoveryworld.org/).
- Get in touch with nature as you explore our nearly 15,000 acres of parkland, much of which is situated along our beautiful lakefront. Opportunities to bike, hike, jog or bird watch abound (http://www.countyparks.com/).
- Five swimming beaches offer plenty of opportunity for fun in the sun. Bradford Beach boasts lots of updates including a retro concession stand and public sand volleyball courts.
- Find the freshest produce available and any number of Farmer's Markets, including East Town Market (http://www.easttown.com/) and West Town Farmer's Market (http://www.westown.org/).
- Attend one of the country's premier annual motorcycle rallies. The Milwaukee Rally (http://www.milwaukeerally.com/) takes place September 3-6 along the shores of Lake Michigan.
- Be a spectator at one of the country's top rowing events. The Milwaukee River Challenge, taking place September 19, 2009, brings more than 450 athletes from across the nation to participate in this head-style competition through downtown Milwaukee.
- Celebrate Miller Time with a free, guided walking tour of Milwaukee's famous MillerCoors Brewing Company (http://www.millerbrewing.com/). End the tour with complimentary, frosty samples.
- Hop on board the Milwaukee Trolley Loop for its "Hop ‘n Shop, Wine ‘n Dine" route Wednesdays through Saturdays. You'll have access to attractions, shopping, dining, performing arts, sporting events, outdoor concerts, farmers markets and hotels-in other words, whatever you need! These bright red, rubber-wheeled trolleys operate with 20-minute headways.
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally and is dedicated to ensuring our guests are warmly welcomed and enjoy an enriching experience in this jewel of the Great Lakes. VISIT Milwaukee has more than 620 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Tourism generated $2.7 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2008 and supported about 66,000 local jobs. The City of Wauwatosa, Midwest Airlines, Potawatomi Bingo Casino and the Wisconsin Center District are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/.
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Milwaukee’s Will Allen and the Good-Food Movement
Milwaukee's Will Allen and the good-food movement!
Milwaukee’s Danny Gokey Sings Praises of Hometown
Ryan Seacrest called "American Idol" top-three finisher Danny Gokey "the pride of Milwaukee," and that couldn't be closer to the truth.
Coming off his success on the show and just prior to launching a 50-city "American Idol" tour with all top 10 finishers, Gokey donated some time to appear in a new video inviting visitors to come and experience the richness of his hometown, Milwaukee.
The 2-1/2 minute video appears on the VISIT Milwaukee homepage, http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/
In the video, shot at the historic Riverside Theater in downtown Milwaukee, Gokey shares his passion for the lakefront and its many attractions, gives a sneak peak into his favorite Milwaukee neighborhoods, boasts about the vibrant multi-cultural scene and speaks to how the city has positively evolved from "Brew city to a new city."
The video was produced by Milwaukee-based Mindpool Productions.
Season of Festivals Offers Global Journey
Heralded as the "City of Festivals," Milwaukee showcases its rich heritage with a procession of ethnic and cultural celebrations throughout the summer. The Henry W. Maier Festival Park along the shores of Lake Michigan becomes a portal to the world as guests are invited to explore the arts, cuisine, history and entertainment of a new culture nearly every weekend.
Kicking off the season of festivals, PrideFest (http://www.pridefest.com/) produces the largest Gay/Lesbian, Bisexual and transgender pride festival in Wisconsin. Enjoy the festivities June 12-14, 2009. Partake in the food, entertainment and the marketplace.
Come celebrate at Polish Fest (http://www.polishfest.org/), America's largest Polish Festival, June 19-21, 2009. Satisfy you appetite with generous helpings of authentic Polish fare. Experience historic exhibits, folk art demonstrations and old-world crafts. Polka to one of the many bands. Enchanting Polish legends come to life, traditional Polish dance troupes swirl and twirl, and scrumptious dishes make Polish Fest a truly delightful experience.
Be a part of the world's largest music festival June 25-July 5, 2009. Summerfest (http://www.summerfest.com/) is an eleven-day event offering the best in regional and national entertainment on 10 different ground stages and an ampitheater featuring a diverse array of music. A smorgasbord of the area's finest restaurants serving mouth-watering fare, world-renowned comedians, a children's play area, daily demonstrations and activities, and exciting amusement park rides provide something for festival goers of all ages.
Romance, nostalgia, and rich Italian delicacies fill the air at Festa Italiana (http://www.festaitaliana.com/), America's premier Italian cultural event. From July 16-19, 2009, enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the Sicilian brass marching band, browse the cultural exhibits or be a part of the colorful religious procession following Sunday mass. Every night offers explosive fun with a dazzling Italian-style fireworks show.
Grab a stein and cool off with your favorite brew at North America's largest annually held German festival, German Fest (http://www.germanfest.com/). Indulge in unforgettable German cuisine. Marvel as craftsmen demonstrate old world artistry. Enjoy a colorful brass band or stroll through the Marktplatz for unique German gifts. Join us July 23-26, 2009 for a wunderbar experience.
The newest festival to join the line-up of lakefront festivals, Arab World Fest, takes place August 7-9, 2009. Cuisine, entertainment, and cultural showcases will highlight the traditions, customs and heritage of the Arab culture. Don't miss the live camel rides!
Irish Fest (http://www.irishfest.com/), the world's largest Irish cultural festival, brings the Emerald Isle to Milwaukee's lakefront August 13-16, 2009. Cultural exhibits, displays, theater, poetry readings and demonstrations bring alive the spirit of Old Ireland's folklore and charm, while contests, raffles, sporting events and comedy shows add to the levity. Celebrate Irish music and dance on over a dozen stages or just enjoy the roaming performers dressed in traditional costumes strolling the festival grounds. Visit the extensive marketplace to take a piece Ireland home with you.
Spice up your life at Mexican Fiesta (http://www.mexicanfiesta.org/) August 21-23, 2009! A south-of-the-border extravaganza featuring mouth-watering food, rousing mariachi bands, foot stomping rhythms, and an elaborate swirl of traditional dancers. Learn the culture and heritage of Mexico and other Latin countries.
The Indian Summer Festival (http://www.indiansummer.org/) offers a fun and entertaining way to experience the diversity of both traditional and contemporary American Indian culture. Held September 11-13, 2009, the festival celebrates the rich American Indian heritage with authentic tribal villages, storytellers, traditional handcrafts, dance troupes and lacrosse. Other highlights include a competition Pow Wow, fireworks, food and an Education Day on Friday.
Other festivals taking place around the city in different locations include:
- Jazz in the Park (http://www.easttown.com/) Thursday evenings June 4 - September 24, 2009 in Cathedral Park Square
- Riversplash (http://www.milwaukeeriversplash.com/) June 5-7, 2009 in Pere Marquette Park
- Lakefront Festival of Arts (www.mam.org/lfoa) June 19-21, 2009 Milwaukee Art Museum grounds
- Bastille Days (http://www.easttown.com/) in Cathedral Square Park July 9-12, 2009
- Wisconsin State Fair (http://www.wistatefair.com/) August 6-16, 2009 at Wisconsin State Fair Park
- Holiday Folk Fair International held November 20-22, 2009 at Wisconsin State Fair Park
VISIT Milwaukee markets Greater Milwaukee to tourists, convention and meeting planners nationally and internationally and is dedicated to ensuring our guests are warmly welcomed and enjoy an enriching experience in this jewel of the Great Lakes. VISIT Milwaukee has over 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. Tourism generated $2.6 billion in spending in Greater Milwaukee in 2007 and supported nearly 65,000 local jobs. The Spirit of Milwaukee and Potawatomi Bingo Casino are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit http://www.visitmilwaukee.org/.