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November 2013  

Stephanie Klett   
Department Secretary   

Arts Board  | Conference & Education | Customer Service & Technology | Grant News
Industry Relations | Marketing and Tourism News | Travel Green Wisconsin
Wisconsin in the News

 Secretary Message

Hello Tourism Friends,

What an incredible month it's been on the road! I attended Travel & Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Global Outlook Forum in Chicago and received valuable information that demonstrates just how fast changing and global the tourism industry has become. I am already sharing lots of great research from the conference in my keynote speeches.

I had the opportunity to speak at the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Annual Conference in Lake Geneva. The good news to share is that hotel occupancy and daily room rates have been up for the last three years. However, they face a unique challenge in rising business acquisition costs with sites like Expedia and TripAdvisor, which has radically changed how travelers book their accommodations. For more about where the tourism industry is headed and the work of the Department, watch for my upcoming interview on The Wheeler Report.

Discover WI Another great event was the first annual Driftless Wisconsin Tourism Summit, where I spoke to 80 tourism partners from Vernon County, Crawford County and the Kickapoo Valley. This group is a good reminder that our visitors don't see county lines when they travel. While the state's regions are very different, when we work together, develop partnerships and share resources we can leverage more opportunities to drive visitor spending.

It was an honor to be a participating sponsor of the WACVB Fall Tourism Conference and to help Executive Director Julia Hertel present this year's Trailblazer Awards. The award-winning projects were innovative and continue to set the bar high for destination marketing. See a list of the 2013 Trailblazer Awards recipients in this month's Industry Services section.

To give you an idea of how fun our industry is, last week I received the surprise of a lifetime when I was crowned The Limburger Queen by the volunteers of Green County Cheese Days. I look forward to riding in a convertible for their 100th anniversary parade next year. If you have any ideas for an appropriate Limburger Queen outfit, give me a call!

We have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and plenty that we can share with those that are less fortunate. We appreciate how many of you have committed to the Big Bundle Up for a third year. About 70 locations have signed on to keep the spirit going in this worthwhile initiative. And it's not too late to participate; more information is available in this newsletter.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving,

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Paul Upchurch   
Governor's Council on Tourism   

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Council Perspectives

Dear Industry Partners,

We had a very productive Council meeting in Madison last month. I was pleased by the large number of visitors that joined us for the meeting. They represented businesses and organizations from a wide variety of destinations and industry sectors.

Stephanie and her staff presented an update of marketing campaigns, media events, industry outreach and other business that have occurred since the last Council meeting. Council members provided reports on committee work done on behalf of Marketing, Meetings & Conventions, International and Sports, to name just a few. Members did a round robin report to provide the Department with local industry perspectives covering everything from a recap of summer travel to room tax reform. In other Council business, James Bolen was elected to the position of Council Secretary.

Looking ahead to our next meeting on January 9, we will hold elections for Council officers and select members for the Marketing Committee. We also encourage you to consider arriving early for the Governor's Conference on Tourism in order to attend the March 2 Council Meeting. It's a good opportunity to see how the Council represents you and how we work closely with the Department to grow travel in Wisconsin. There will be an opportunity at the end of the March 2 Council Meeting to ask questions or make comments. I hope to see you there!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving,


Thursday, January 9
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Department of Tourism Offices, Madison

Sunday, March 2
Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa Lake Geneva

Dave Fantle    
Deputy Secretary   
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Marketing Update

Winter Campaign Reminds Travelers to Embrace Winter, Avoid Hibernation
The Department is investing $1.26 million on this year's winter campaign, up from $1.1 million last year. The "Birth of a Smile" summer TV spots carry over to winter by featuring snow-tubing and snowmobiling. Water and Leaf Hair creative have evolved into Snow Hair for winter. New to the campaign is Walter the Bear who warns travelers not to hibernate in radio ads and pre-roll videos. See samples of this year's creative online.

Our media plan puts more emphasis on reaching Wisconsin's younger winter traveler. Research shows that this younger audience consumes more online media and for the first time, we've placed ads with online radio stations Pandora and Spotify to complement our traditional TV and radio placements. Our print mix includes performing arts programs and playbills in four of our largest markets. Out-of-home, digital, and social placements are layered in the campaign mix.

Summer Campaign Recap
Below are a few benchmarks from this summer's campaign measuring our success in getting the Wisconsin travel message in front of consumers:
  • Over 65 million social impressions across Facebook and Twitter generated.
  • Added 37,162 new Facebook fans and 5,454 new Twitter followers.
  • PR efforts secured 228 million impressions and nearly $11 million in earned media value.
  • Online media accounted for 65 million impressions and over 301,000 click-throughs to
World Travel Market
As part of our efforts to gain more market share and ramp up our international marketing efforts, Deputy Dave recently attended the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. As part of our Great Lakes USA consortium, we conducted about 40 meetings with trade professionals, tour operators and buyers, and travel media interested in covering or bringing visitors to our region. Dave was joined by colleagues from Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois in these sales efforts. Like most businesses, building relationships are crucial and our participation at WTM was an important part of this process. More than 10,000 people attended this event.

Walk with Walker
First Lady Tonette Walker enjoyed many hiking gems of Wisconsin this year, from the trails of Perrot State Park to this month's tour of the botanical wonders of Rotary Gardens in Janesville. Tour her photo gallery and read her blog to learn more about her initiative to visit Wisconsin's most picturesque trails, parks, and landscapes and promote health and fitness. Interested in hosting a walk next year? Email or call Dawn Zanoni to find out more.

  LInk to Metrics


Dawn Zanoni   
Special Events and Markets Manager   

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Conference & Education

Registration Now Live for Northern Summit, December 16-17
Small business assistance and regulatory reform are two of the sessions on tap at next month's Governor's Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit at the Four Season Island Resort in Pembine. Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch along with New North Executive Director Jerry Murphy will present keynote and general session remarks. Nine Cabinet Secretaries will participate in "Conversations with Leadership" sessions followed by an informal "shirtsleeves" forum.

DUE JANUARY 17: Nominations for 2014 Governor's Tourism Awards
The online submission form for the Governor's Tourism Awards is now available. 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 the state's tourism industry. The Governor will present the awards during the closing dinner of the conference. The deadline to submit nominations is January 17, 2014 to accommodate the earlier date of the conference. More information, award categories and online submission form are now live.

Check Out Now: WIGCOT Promotional Video
Hear what your peers in the industry have to say about attending the conference and see what's in store for this year's event when you watch this new WIGCOT video. You might recognize a few familiar faces! We encourage everyone to share the video link with DMO members and other partners that are not familiar with our premier event for Wisconsin's tourism industry!

Governor's Tourism Awards Nominations– Due January 17, 2014
Early Bird Registration Deadline – January 31, 2014
Download Sponsorship Information

Joellyn Merz  
Technology & Customer Service   

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Customer Service & Technology Redesign Wins Adrian Award has won a Silver HSMAI Adrian Award for the Website Redesign! It was selected out of 1,200 entries and was judged by experts in hospitality, travel, tourism and media. The Adrian Awards honor outstanding achievements in advertising, PR and digital marketing in the travel industry and are presented by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International. Entries are judged on elements like creative design, content and reaching the goals established as part of the redesign.

NEW! Snow Conditions Report Widget for Partner Websites
We have developed a new Snow Conditions Report "Widget" that will allow other websites to embed a dynamic version of the report on their websites. This allows media outlets, industry members, state agencies like the DNR, and other partners to show a live feed of the Snow Conditions Report on their site. It is customizable, so you can choose to select just a particular area (one county, for example) or host the whole report. It will be simple to add and clicks on the report drive traffic to the Snow Conditions Report on Specific information on how to include this feature on your website will be coming in early December. Please contact Shane Brossard with questions and more information before then.

October Web Stats Point to Strong Marketing and Promotion Efforts
Last month's website visits totaled 408,705, up 53% over October 2012. Pageviews for the month topped 2.2 million while the duration of visitors averaged 4:20, up 26% from last year. These numbers reflect great marketing and promotion efforts. Late-peaking fall colors also influenced October traffic. The top article on the site by a wide margin was "11 Scenic Drives for Fall" while "Fun and Romantic Fall Getaways" was the #1 blog for the month. The Fall Color Report was the most viewed page after the homepage.

Sarah Klavas    
Industry Relations & Services Director   
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Industry Services

New Hotel Opens in Milwaukee and The Osthoff Resort Officially Starts New Expansion
Governor Scott Walker attended a second hotel ribbon cutting this fall for the new Milwaukee Marriott, the first full-service downtown hotel to be built in 20 years in Milwaukee. It will add 137 jobs to the local economy. Additionally, Governor Walker and Secretary Klett attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new expansion of conference facilities to The Osthoff Resort. The addition would add over 20,000 square feet of meeting, event and prep space, greatly expanding their event capabilities.

Industry Accolades and National Publicity
  • Congratulations to American Club in Kohler, just named #1 Midwestern Resort in Condé Nast Traveler by a record number of survey participants. The Carriage House was named #4 hotel in the Midwest.
  • Congratulations to the WACVB Trailblazer Award winners: Visit Beloit, Door County Visitors Bureaus, Greater Green Bay Area CVB and the Yellowstone Trail Passport partnership of Greater Menomonie Chamber of Commerce, Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Daniel Schetter of the Best Westin Premier Waterfront Hotel & Conference Center in Oshkosh was named 2013 "Innkeeper of the Year" at WH&LA's annual conference. Todd Winkler, Wisco Hotel Group, Madison, was named "Corporate Champion of the Year" award, a new award recognizing an individual in management of a company owning/operating multiple lodging properties in Wisconsin.
  • Ellen DeGeneres invited Madison residents to compete in a freestyle Halloween costume and talent competition she conducted via satellite. Check out the clip online.
  • Taliesin has been added to the World Monument Fund's 2014 Watch List, a list of 67 sites from 41 countries that are described as "an irreplaceable testament to human aspiration and the diversity of cultures around the world."
  • Door County's fall color was recently featured in Huffington Post and Yahoo! thanks to travel writer and Door County fan David Landsel.
  • Congratulations to The Abbey Resort & AVANI Spa, which was recognized with the prestigious "Best of MidAmerica" award by Meetings Focus magazine in its September issue.
  • Heritage Hill State Historical Park was awarded the 2013 Partner Award and the Best Restoration Project from the Wisconsin DNR. See a list of all the winners recognized by the DNR in categories ranging from "Best RV Camping" to "Best Place for a Family Reunion."
  • Old World Wisconsin's November heritage craft workshop was recently mentioned in the New York Times "In Transit" column.

Lisa Marshall   
Communications Director    
Top of the page
Wisconsin in the News

The Big Bundle Up is Back!
Thanks to the outstanding enthusiasm of tourism partners and tremendous success the last two years, The Big Bundle Up is back for a third year. This charity drive collects warm winter items from Nov. 18, 2013 through Jan. 3, 2014 at participating drop off locations around the state. These items are then donated to local charities. If you're interested in joining the movement to bundle up Wisconsin this winter, email Danielle!

Media Highlights
A number of great clips have rolled in recently, including a beautiful piece on Bayfield and the Apostle Islands in Lakeland Boating. Door County's Highway 42 was highlighted in an Indianapolis Star article about Midwest fall drives. Fall press tours generated a feature on the Great River Road in the Toronto Sun, while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Sentinel-Record showcased Wisconsin's Cranberry Trail. Find more clips in our media room.

Your Message Here: Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine
Looking for a great place to promote your outdoors opportunity to a statewide audience of 86,000 subscribers? Check out Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine. The magazine devotes two pages to monthly travel news so if you have any travel or outdoors news to pitch, be sure to add editor Natasha Kassulke to your media lists. Learn more about Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Contact Ellen Corso for more information on publication insert opportunities or if you would like copies to distribute in your visitor center or business.

George Tzougros  
Executive Director   
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Arts Board

National Report on Creative Economics Now Available
The National Creativity Network announces the release of "America's Creative Economy: A Study of Recent Conceptions, Definitions, and Approaches to Measurement Across the USA." The 141-page free report is the most comprehensive study to date on creative economies across America. It focuses on how regions and organizations conceptualize and track that segment of their local economy that fosters and taps imagination, creativity, and innovation to create and deliver goods, products, and services.

Wisconsin had important roles in the creation of this report.
  • The Wisconsin Arts Board nurtures and leads the National Creativity Network.
  • Christine Harris from Milwaukee was the report's principal research and lead author.
  • Creative Alliance Milwaukee's (CAM) creative economy study was one of the 27 reports examined. CAM also played a role as fiscal agent for the project.
  • Milwaukee was represented in the study and photos of Wisconsin arts are included in the report.
A full report and executive summary are now available on the Wisconsin Arts Board website.

Jason Zarling   
Program Manager    
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Travel Green Wisconsin

Vote for Inn Serendipity
Inn Serendipity B&B was recently selected as a finalist for Green America's People & Planet Award and is now in the final round of public voting. Take a minute to vote for one of Wisconsin's greenest lodging properties.

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Abbie Hill    
Grant Coordinator   
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Grant News

Upcoming Grant Application Deadlines

Meetings Mean Business – December 1
Tourist Information Center – January 1
Ready, Set, Go! – January 1
Joint Effort Marketing – February 1
Destination Marketing – April 1

Harnessing the power of tourism to build a better Wisconsin.
See how on:
  Wisconsin Department of Tourism
201 W Washington Ave Madison, WI 53703