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Thank you to everyone for attending the Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism last week. I hope you found all of the speakers as informative and educational as I did and that you left the conference fired up, feeling inspired and armed with new tools to grow your business or destination.
There were many unexpected special moments throughout the conference. From the surprise of talking about Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, and there, unbeknownst to us, was his Granddaughter, to our Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin's thoughtful session on disability etiquette. And how about that Miss America? Now there's a lady that can sing! If you have a moment, check out all of the great photos from the Governor's Dinner online at www.wigcot.org.
I want to again congratulate our five Governor's Tourism Award recipients: American Folklore Theatre, the first recipient of the new award category Arts, Culture and Heritage, City of Middleton, Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Brenda Krainik and Bill Otto. They do us all proud! As do all 28 nominees!
Looking at the weeks ahead, it's shaping up to be a busy spring as we get ready to launch our summer marketing campaign and prepare for National Tourism Week. Deputy Dave and I will be back out on the road speaking at a number of events including the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners annual convention. We look forward to seeing many of you at these events around the state this spring!
Governor's Council on Tourism
It was so good to see so many industry friends and partners at the Governor's Conference on Tourism. Spirits were high, the outlook is good, and you can feel the momentum of our industry–there was buzz again, and that was a great feeling! Secretary Klett and Deputy Dave, as well as the entire Department staff (especially Dawn), did a great job of assembling a host of talented professionals and industry leaders to share their wisdom with us. And it was especially gratifying to see the Department's Annual Report, showing strong ROI and other data measuring the impact of the collective marketing efforts over the past year. This is the litmus test for all of our marketing strategies and the results were proof positive that they are working. Congratulations to the Department for moving the needle on marketing Wisconsin's Tourism product and moving our industry forward.
I was so pleased to see how many people were interested in the Council Meeting, watching firsthand how the Council works and how your interests are represented and communicated. As all Council meetings are open to the public, we encourage you to attend so you can hear what the Council is doing and we can hear from you. During our last Council Meeting at the Conference, Secretary Klett presented the application process for Council Members. If you are interested in serving on the Governor's Council on Tourism, please view this link to learn how to apply. From a geographic standpoint, the Council is in need of additional representation from the northwest corner of the state. We encourage anyone with an interest and a passion for our industry to apply for service on the Governor's Council.
Our next meeting date will be announced shortly. Council Committees are busy developing and implementing action plans to present at that meeting. We look forward to hearing from you.
Industry Relations & Services Director
Recruitment for Regional Tourism Specialist
With the upcoming retirement of long-time staff member Kit Sorensen, the Department is currently recruiting for a Regional Tourism Specialist. Kit's retirement provided an opportunity to review and realign the regions and the open position will represent a 19-county region in Northwest Wisconsin. More information, civil service exam and application instructions available here .
Annual Report Now Available
The Department of Tourism's 2011 Annual Report was presented at the Governor's Council meeting at the conference. The report, highlighting many of the Department's strategies, benchmarks and marketing research, is now available online.
Economic Impact Research Available for Tourism Week
The Department's annual economic impact research provided by Tourism Economics will be available to the tourism industry on or about April 30. NOTE: We require industry partners to use a Sunday, May 6 embargo when releasing the research to the media. If you have any questions about the new research, please contact Sarah Klavas at 608-266-3750 or your Regional Tourism Specialist.
Summer Campaign Unveiled at Conference
We rolled out our summer campaign during last week's Tourism Showcase. From digital to out-of-home, broadcast to social media, attendees saw how the campaign continues our successful theme of fun and is carried out in different layers of media. Those materials are being fine-tuned over the next few weeks and will be available on the Marketing Overview page later this spring.
Year of the Veteran
Governor Walker has proclaimed 2012 the Year of the Veteran and we're looking for your exciting specials for veterans. Whether it's a special armed forces day or a substantial military discount, let us know about it. Email your Regional Tourism Specialist with your offering for consideration on a special Year of the Veteran page on TravelWisconsin.com and for use in other outreach.
Mark the Date for 2012 National Travel and Tourism Week
National Travel and Tourism Week, our annual salute to tourism's impact on the state and nation, is May 5 – 13. The Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary Klett, Deputy Fantle and the industry services team will be traveling the state this week to spread the word about tourism, the jobs it supports and the positive image it lends our state. The Department will release its annual research study showing how travel spending makes its way through the economy in the form of jobs and tax revenue for Wisconsin. The U.S. Travel Association has provided a National Travel and Tourism Week online toolkit to help you prepare your individual events and outreach. If you are looking for a speaker, contact Jeri Krohn at 608-266-2345.
TravelWisconsin.com: A Marketing Power House
Did you know that TravelWisconsin.com generated over 260,000 click-thrus to industry partner sites in 2011? In fact, we had 1.7 million unique visitors, up 8% over 2010. Overall visits topped 2.4 million. In February, TravelWisconsin.com launched social sign-in on the site, allowing users to log in with their Facebook, Twitter or other social accounts. This allows for easier sharing of information and already the 416 shares during February is significantly higher than the 2011 average of 128 per month. In February, the Snow Conditions Report continued to be the top content page on the site and visits to the site in February are up by 6.2% over February of 2010. Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa sent the most out-of-state traffic while visitors to site from Wisconsin accounted for 56% of the traffic.
Technology & Customer Service
As we approach the summer travel season, brochure distribution is on everyone's minds. There is free brochure distribution at the rest areas designated as Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers (TWWCs) in Kenosha, Beloit, La Crosse as well as the TWWCs in Platteville, Prairie du Chien, Superior and Marinette. The brochure approval guidelines and procedures for these 7 centers are listed here. The Department Of Tourism is continuing their contract with Ad-Lit to distribute brochures for a participation fee at the Interstate rest areas in Columbia and Juneau County. More information on this program is available online. Only state highway maps will be distributed at DOT's other 23 rest areas.
The Department plans to launch a new enhanced TravelWisconsin.com website in late 2012 with the goal of creating a stronger data structure, new travel tools and overall improvement of the user experience on the site. There will also be a new custom Content Management System (CMS) that will be easier for the industry to use and the department to administer..
Earned Media for 2011 at an All-Time High
Last year was a phenomenal year for our public relations efforts and outreach topped over $63 million in earned media or advertising equivalency. Over 3,440 print, broadcast and online mentions generated 1.4 billion impressions, a 173% increase from 2010. Those PR efforts, ranging from press tours to pitching, deskside visits to broadcast interviews, the famous Mitten story to David Zucker-directed winter ad, all help extend our marketing buy by millions of dollars by getting the Wisconsin brand out to a nationwide market. Outreach such as editorial boards and JEM grant presentations reminds those back home here in Wisconsin about the value of tourism to the state and individual communities. Watch a 3-minute video showcasing some of our best media coverage in 2011.
Conference Media Highlights
We had fantastic coverage of the conference from local and statewide media. Check out some of the highlights here!
Special Events and Markets Manager
Conference Photos Available Online
Photos with Governor Walker and Secretary Klett are up and look fabulous! Find yours and order prints here.
Continue Your Education After the Conference
We had stellar keynote speakers at this year's conference. Handouts and power point presentations from some of the presenters are posted on the homepage of www.wigcot.org. Continue learning from some of our speakers like Peter Shankman (Facebook,Twitter) and Peter Greenberg (Facebook,Twitter) by following them online.
And Many Thanks to Our Sponsors
Simply put, without their continued support we could not produce a conference of this caliber. Please join us in thanking the following sponsors:
Grant Tip of the Month
It's best to state only one or two project goals in your application. They must be measurable and should target attendance, overnight stays and visitor expenditures. For example, tell us that your new event will host 500 out of town attendees and 50 of them will stay overnight. While educating the public about the history of your community or creating awareness for your shopping options are good secondary goals, keep in mind that the ultimate mission of JEM funding is to create economic impact.
New Grant Recipients
Congrats to these recent JEM grant recipients!
Program Manger & Liaision
New Application Coming Soon!
With the environmental movement and technology rapidly changing, it's time to update our application to keep TGW current. Our goal is to maintain the integrity of the program while updating data and providing more opportunities. We plan to include more educational information as the application itself is often viewed as a learning tool for creating a more sustainable business.
Interested in Hosting a TGW Informational Presentation?
Online We're hitting the road to share the TGW success story and encourage participation. If your community or membership is interested in learning about TGW and becoming a member we are offering regional presentations to help support the effort. Our newly reduced fee structure makes this a great time to become TGW certified. And, research shows that having certification is critical to attracting travelers to your community and businesses. If you are interested in learning more please contact Shelly at 608-261-8767.
New Partnerships in the Works
Meetings have been held with sister agencies, such as the DNR and DOA, to continue building partnerships under the TGW umbrella. Fifty-five out of 68 targeted DNR managed properties that include state parks are now certified. The Department is working with DOA's Coastal Management program to seek out if there is a connection between TGW and their Clean Marina's program.
Focused ROI Study Conducted
Working with our partners in the community of Bayfield and Door County, we were able to conduct a short member survey allowing us to collect both environmental and economic information relating to the value of being TGW certified. The initial results are proving to be very helpful and insightful. Stay tuned for final results.
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Harnessing the power of tourism to build a better Wisconsin. |
See how on: http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.
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