Meetings matter in Milwaukee. On March 30, the U.S. Travel Association celebrates the importance of connecting in person with Global Meetings Industry Day. Each year, thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world visit our destination. They arrive in the Cream City to connect, learn, and collaborate. During their time in Milwaukee, they forge relationships in their fields and benefit their organizations by gleaning new insights. Locally, these meetings stimulate the economy, support the hospitality industry, and impact each of the city’s 191 neighborhoods. 


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Meetings are Big Business in Milwaukee


The VISIT Milwaukee Sales team has 309 meetings and conventions on the books for 2023 and beyond. These events are projected to draw more than 550,000 visitors to the city, and an estimated economic impact of nearly $285 million.  

The economic benefits of the meetings industry are spread across the Greater Milwaukee community. In the Greater Milwaukee area alone, the booming meetings industry supports and creates 42,000 jobs in the hospitality industry. Milwaukee’s many businesses reap the benefits of visitor spending at their company. And residents throughout the city feel the impact of meetings through city-wide development and the enhanced public perception of Brew City as a destination. 

Of course, while these attendees are in town to convene and connect, they will stay in the city’s outstanding hotels, dine in the countless restaurants, take in the majesty of the lakefront, and experience all the city has to offer. Meetings offer a valuable entry point for return visitation. Once visitors see firsthand that Milwaukee has everything they’re looking for in a destination, we’re confident they’ll soon plan a return trip to explore even more. 


Meetings Drive the Economy Forward 


Meetings account for 38% of business travel spending nationwide, accounting for more than $100 billion in meetings and events-related travel spending. This economic impact supports more than 500,000 travel, tourism, and hospitality jobs across the country and is a key piece in the economic development of many destinations. The impact made by the meetings industry touches every corner of the economy, from retail to restaurants, entertainment to attractions. In 2023 and beyond we can expect meetings to be a crucial driver of visitor spending. National convention center bookings for the coming year are pacing more than 13 percent more than in 2022. 


Meetings are Valuable to Attendees 


Convening in person holds tremendous power. Meetings provide undeniable value to people, businesses, and communities. While the impact meetings generate in the local and national economies is well documented, the value of fueling individual growth and long-lasting connections in a collaborative space should not be underestimated. In fact, eight out of 10 executives surveyed nationwide expressed a preference for in-person meetings over virtual contact. When people meet face-to-face, relationships are developed. These events instill a sense of purpose and camaraderie among attendees that is difficult to replicate in a virtual setting.