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Wisconsin in the News
The big news this month is the grand opening of the Menomonie Area Travel Wisconsin Welcome Center. This center was two years in the making and required the commitment of not one but four area tourism partners: Visit Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau and the Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. It took all four communities coming together to get this center back on the map and serving travelers on this important corridor between the Twin Cities and Wisconsin. The ribbon-cutting event with Governor Walker, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, Representatives John Murtha, Warren Petryk and Tom Larson, and DOT Deputy Mike Berg was a smash success and the new center was filled to capacity with appreciative tourism partners and area businesses.
This fall, our leadership team met to review and update the Department's Strategic Business Plan. The plan represents input from the entire staff and highlights our priorities for the next year and beyond. The goals we set for our work are also measurable. On the last page are revised benchmarks to measure our success. At the March tourism conference, we will provide an annual report that summarizes our work and accomplishments for 2012.
The Big Bundle Up is going strong around the state and I can't thank everyone enough for your support and promotion of this worthwhile initiative. The impact has been far-reaching. Not only has Wisconsin Knitwear donated 500 hats to the effort, ZooZatZ, a novelty hat company in the Twin Cities, is donating 1,500 cheesehead knit hats and 800 Badger earmuffs!
Finally, it's my great pleasure to announce that Molly Delaney is returning to the Department of Tourism. Many of you will remember Molly and join us in offering her a warm welcome as she settles into her former position as Executive Assistant to the Secretary's Office. If you are trying to reach me or Deputy Dave, or want to schedule an event with us, Molly is the friendly voice on the other end of the phone that can help you. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-266-2345.
The approach of the New Year has reminded us that Deputy Dave and I are entering our third year with the Department! It has flown by and year three is shaping up to be another big one as budget discussions, new TV ads and much more are on the horizon. It has been our pleasure to serve the state's tourism industry, and I speak for all of Team Tourism, when I say that we look forward to our continued work on your behalf in 2013.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Tourism,
Governor's Council on Tourism
Dear Tourism Partners,
Business for the state's tourism industry appears to be robust for the holiday season, coinciding with the positive news about last month's Black Friday retail sales. We are still seeing lots of last minute bookings in the lodging industry but all signs point to a promising finish for the end of the year.
As 2012 comes to a close, I'd like to offer a recap of the Council's work this year, as well as its mission. The purpose of the Council is to act as an advisory body to the Department of Tourism, representing the industry perspective and to support the Department's marketing efforts with the ultimate goal of increasing Return on Investment for the State of Wisconsin. This year, we worked hard to strengthen the role of Council Committees with each Council member serving on at least one committee along with Department staff and other representatives from the industry. Following is a review of major Council Committee work accomplished in 2012:
With an active Council supporting the work of the Department, we can all collectively share in the success of increasing Wisconsin's Tourism's exposure among potential travelers. All indications show that 2012 was a remarkable year, and we, as Council members, are proud to have contributed to this positive outcome.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the next Council Meeting. It will be held January 11th, 2013 in Madison, should you wish to attend, as your input is always appreciated.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and a prosperous New Year,
See Winter Advertising Campaign
Travel Wisconsin's winter campaign kicked off this month and integrates television, radio, print, in-life, interactive and social channels in Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Green Bay/Appleton. Interactive and social channels reach even further into Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, western Michigan and eastern Iowa and nationally. We are bringing back the hilarious "Symphony Snowball Fight" TV spot shot last year by Wisconsin native and Hollywood director David Zucker. Two more TV ads by David and his brother Jerry will air in 2013. See the complete winter campaign.
Nominate a Wisconsin Hero
Do you know someone in your community who is voluntarily and selflessly making Wisconsin a better place? Consider nominating that person for a Wisconsin Heroes Award. First Lady Tonette Walker has launched an initiative to recognize these Wisconsin Heroes, personally acknowledging and thanking them for his or her willingness, compassion, and commitment to the betterment of our state. More information and nomination form is available on the First Lady's website.
Join Us at the Chicago Golf Show, Feb 22-24
The Department is adding one more consumer show to its schedule as part of a public relations initiative to promote golf in 2013. The Department will host a Travel Wisconsin Golf Booth at the 30th annual Chicago Golf Show, Feb. 22-24. In exchange for some staffing assistance, tourism partners can distribute visitor guides and highlight your community, business or golf opportunities. There is no cost to you other than any travel expenses you may incur. Contact David Spiegelberg for more details at 262/515-2806 and to sign-up for a time.
Special Events and Markets Manager
Governor's Tourism Awards Nominations Now Open
Sponsored by the Governor's Council on Tourism, the Governor's Tourism Awards recognize and honor people and organizations that have made a significant impact on Wisconsin's Travel and Tourism industry. The Governor will present the awards during the closing dinner and celebration at the 2013 Governor's Conference on Tourism, March 17-19. The five categories of awards include:
The Buzz on the Big Bundle Up
There's been a ton of buzz about our Big Bundle Up campaign! Media coverage following our Dec. 3 launch included Dave's TV interview on TMJ4, Stephanie and Dave's TV interview on FOX6, as well as other clips. As Stephanie stated in her message, a number of private businesses have stepped forward to donate to the cause including Wisconsin Knitwear in Milwaukee and ZooZatZ in Minneapolis. With their donations and all of yours, we should be able to top last year's donation totals. Keep up the great work promoting this worthwhile cause!
…Also in the Media this Month
Aside from the Big Bundle Up, we've been busy with other media outreach. Stephanie and Dave stopped to talk with Robert Mentzer at the Wausau Daily Herald, who wrote a great piece on the impact of Wisconsin tourism on jobs and the economy. The media has also been covering the Snow Conditions Report, Northern Summit and the big Menomonie Welcome Center ribbon cutting. For all recent media clips, please visit our Media Room.
And Looking Ahead…
The PR team along with Laughlin-Constable and Geiger & Associates are already focusing on 2013. In January, we'll distribute our annual "What's New in Wisconsin Tourism" release and conduct a statewide TV morning show tour to promote winter travel. Planning is also underway for Chicago and Twin Cities deskside visits this spring, a Wisconsin Dells group press tour in August, and selecting top stories for ongoing national pitches.
Industry Relations & Services Director
U.S. Travel Association Report: Travel Jobs Offer Career Progression and Benefits
The U.S. Travel Association recently announced results from a study that show travel jobs provide millions of Americans with a gateway to a promising career and opportunity to join the middle class. The study was the first-of-its-kind and relied on more than 30 years of longitudinal data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analyzed by Oxford Economics and the U.S. Travel Association. Key findings report that the average maximum salary for employees who start their career in the travel industry reaches significantly more than other industries; more than half of all travel industry employees earn a middle-class salary or higher; and, travel jobs provide valuable skills that translate to other careers. The full report is available online.
Program Manger & Liaision
NEW Travel Green Wisconsin B2B Brochure
We are excited to announce that the newly created TGW brochure is complete and ready for distribution. This 'green' brochure was created to be a tool for recruiting new members and informing the industry about the many benefits of Travel Green Wisconsin certification. We will be posting it to our industry site and our Regional Tourism Specialists will also have copies.
Wisconsin Wineries: Benefitting from Local Sourcing
While Wisconsin's wineries are growing, there isn't much research available on them. Thanks to a UW-Madison scholarship project, that has changed. With the goal of learning more about locally sourced wineries in our state, this research has helped align Wisconsin wineries and TGW. The survey of Wisconsin wineries reports that locally sourced fruits provides better quality and lower costs, is more environmentally friendly, helps build relationships with vendors, and creates a great source of pride – all leading to the goals of TGW certification. Read the full executive summary.
Grant Tip of the Month
Funding for the Joint Effort Marketing grants is based on statutes and administrative rules approved by the state legislature. That is why it's always important to let your state legislators know when you receive a grant and its projected positive economic impact on the local community. Senator Jim Holperin suggested at a recent Council Meeting that grant recipients should take an extra step after receiving grant funding to write a personal letter to their legislators, describing the project and its impact on tourism, and thanking them for their support of this worthwhile program.
Grant Tip of the Month
Ten projects were funded in the November round of JEM grant applications. We've also posted a ton of fun new photos from JEM check presentations that have taken place all around the state.
Technology & Customer Service
Growth Theme for 2012 Online Stats
Online marketing resources saw explosive growth in 2012. Overall visitor traffic to TravelWisconsin.com was up 18%, a result of improved SEO initiatives. More traffic to the site also meant more click-thrus to partner sites, which had a huge jump of about 153%. TravelWisconsin.com visitors are also staying on the site about 50 seconds longer than in 2011. Social media interaction is also growing with an increase of 83% for Facebook (115,098 Likes) and 113% for Twitter (27,468 followers).
New Specifications for Travel Item Images
In anticipation of the 2013 launch of the redesigned TravelWisconsin.com, we are asking Extranet Partners to upload larger images for their events and travel items. Specifications for images on the new site have changed. Horizontal images are preferred for best display results. Below are the minimum size requirements. Please note these are minimum requirements, images can be larger.
Min Width: 800 pixels
Min Height: 400 pixels
Partners should start now to update current listings by adding photos using the new specifications. When the site launches, our goal is to have one or more photos for all events and travel items.
Harnessing the power of tourism to build a better Wisconsin. |
See how on: http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.
Wisconsin Department of Tourism
201 W Washington Ave Madison, WI 53703
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