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December 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 a fantastic month it's been on the road! Deputy Dave and I, along with several Wisconsin Tourism leaders from across the state, participated in an incredible roundtable session with U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, leaders from Brand U.S.A. and the United States Travel Association (USTA). The USTA said it was one of the best round table meetings they have ever had and as a result, the Department of Tourism was named the 4th quarter MVP, which is a great honor. At the meeting we discussed international travel and the challenges travelers face when trying to visit the United States while maintaining security standards. It was a productive meeting that has opened the door for future discussions.

I also attended the Governor's Northwoods Economic Summit Dec. 16-17 at the Four Seasons Island Resort in Pembine. It was a great conference that brought together about 150 people from many different market segments in northern Wisconsin to share ideas, discuss challenges and work together to find solutions.

Im also thrilled to share that the Department of Tourism has earned 17 state, national and international awards in 2013, bringing our grand total to 33 since 2011, but whos competitive? Some of the acknowledgments include the website redesign and our Customer Service Training Program. But the real news is how many of you have been recognized with prestigious awards, and well be highlighting just that at the 2014 WIGCOT.

We've been busy promoting winter and the Big Bundle Up campaign with TV and radio interviews, including Fox 6 in Milwaukee. Watch the Fox 6 interview with Nicole Koglin here.

Tourism partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to film a special TV segment about accessibility. Veterans Affairs Secretary Scocos helped out by giving me a tour of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison, one of only three state museums in the country. Did you know 62 Wisconsinites were recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor?

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Paul Upchurch   
Governor's Council on Tourism   

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Council Perspectives

Dear Industry Partners,

We're looking forward to our next meeting on January 9 at the Department of Tourism offices in Madison. 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 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 holiday season,


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

NEW Fun Libs Social Campaign
Travelers can now play "Fun Libs" on the Travel Wisconsin Facebook page to find their winter travel persona and see a list of insider must-dos tailored to fit their interests. Similar to the game "Mad Libs," users help fill in missing words in a story and receive travel information based on their word choices. Are they an explorer looking for something new to discover or a free-spirited family that finds fun no matter what they're doing? Share Fun Libs to help your travelers find their winter persona!

Updated Winter Campaign Materials
We've updated the creative for the winter campaign page to include TV and pre-roll elements as well as social media elements. This winter the Department is investing $1.26 million into the campaign, up from $1.1 million last year. "Water" and "Leaf Hair" creative have evolved into "Snow Hair" for winter, and new to the campaign is Walter the Bear who warns travelers not to hibernate in radio ads and pre-roll videos.

Grow Your Facebook Fans with Our Social Media Co-Op Program
Our Facebook advertisers' posts continue to be very successful. Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce was featured for a week on Travel Wisconsin's Facebook page and it generated 1,172 engagements, including shares, comments, clicks and likes. The post had an engagement rate of 5%, which was above the average of Travel Wisconsin engagement for other posts during the same week. Contact Sarah Keller to learn how our new social media co-op can benefit you. Information on all of our co-op programs can be found here.

  LInk to Metrics


Dawn Zanoni   
Special Events and Markets Manager   

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Conference & Education

WIGCOT Going Live in Next Few Days, Enter to Win Celebrity Breakfast Sweepstakes
Conference registration will be live in the next few days. Complete your registration by the early-bird deadline of January 31 and you will be placed in a drawing to win breakfast with Hollywood celebrities David and Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Robert Hays from our new summer ad. Hosted by Stephanie, the breakfast takes place Monday morning of the conference and promises to be full of fun and laughs.

WIGCOT Agenda packed with top notch speakers
World famous composer and lecturer Eric Whitacre will be the keynote speaker Monday with a compelling presentation on leadership. New at the conference will be an art-focused track with sessions and keynote speakers connecting the importance of arts and culture and tourism. This kicks off with keynote Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. Jim Knight, former senior director of training and development from Hard Rock International, will speak Tuesday offering insights on customer service. Roger Brooks will also be returning to engage attendees on marketing and destination branding.

WIGCOT Now on Facebook
WIGCOT has joined Facebook! Like us for conference updates, news, fun information and connect with other attendees on our page.

New WIGCOT Sponsors
New sponsors this year are Jones Dairy Farm and the Wisconsin Arts Board. From Fort Atkinson, Jones Dairy Farm has been making breakfast better for nearly 125 years. We're also excited the Wisconsin Arts Board has generously joined us as a sponsor. WAB is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, and to join in the celebrations, we're highlighting an art-focused track with sessions and keynote speakers connecting the importance of arts and culture and tourism arts. Learn more about WIGCOT sponsorship opportunities here. And we welcome back the following sponsors again for 2014:
  • Discover Wisconsin
  • Laughlin Constable
  • Ascedia
  • Longwoods International
  • Midwest Living
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 the online submission form are now live.

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

New! Ability to Comment on All Articles
Travelers now have a voice on Users can add comments on all article and blog content, allowing them to share travel tips, ask questions and providing a platform for dialogue and engagement on the website. It's also a great way for industry partners to contribute to our content, so please join the conversation. Check out this article as an example.

Welcome New Tourism Staff - Jonathan
We're excited to welcome a new member to the Tourism staff, Jonathan Eckelberg. Jonathan is our new digital content specialist and his focus is developing and implementing video strategy, helping with articles, and working to continue improving the website for travelers. In his free time, Jonathan races stock cars at the La Crosse Speedway, you can follow his adventures on Facebook. Awards received two awards for the new redesign that launched earlier this year. The Interactive Media Awards (IMA) honored the website with a "Best in Class Award," the highest honor from IMA and representing the very best in planning, execution and overall professionalism. was also selected from 1,200 entries from around the world for a coveted Adrian Award from HSMAI. Adrian Award entries are judged by experts in hospitality, travel, tourism and media on elements like creative design, content and reaching the goals established as part of the redesign.

Wisconsin Bloody Marys Go Viral
One article in particular on saw a big spike in traffic after going viral on social media. Over three days, Wisconsin's Most Creative, Colossal and Cheeseburger-filled Bloody Marys, received 9,144 page views, with over 13,000 page views to date. Posted to Facebook on Nov. 9th, it has received 2,007 likes, 109 comments and 1,546 shares to date. It was the perfect storm of a compelling photo, engaging and interesting content and good social media timing to create this success.

Sarah Klavas    
Industry Relations & Services Director   
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Industry Services

Customer Service Program Wins Award
The Department's Customer Service Training Program was honored with a MarCom Award by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). The MarCom Awards is an international creative competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communications professionals. With about 6,000 entries per year, it is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Since April 2012, the program has trained more that 4,200 people across the state.

2014 Consumer Tradeshows
Department staff will be busy sharing Wisconsin fun with future travelers at the following shows in 2014. Industry Accolades

Lisa Marshall   
Communications Director    
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Wisconsin in the News

Media Highlights
We're wrapping up the year with more great clips from around the country and a variety of initiatives. The San Diego Union Tribune did a piece on the Great River Road, AP and Wisconsin Radio Network picked up the Snow Conditions Report and shared it across the region, and the roundtable discussion with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson garnered significant coverage including with all Gannett Media outlets and local TV. Find more clips in our media room.

Jason Zarling   
Program Manager    
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Travel Green Wisconsin

Welcome New Travel Green Wisconsin Certified Businesses
  • The Eco Hub
  • Envi Ultra Lounge

Travel Green Logo

Abbie Hill    
Grant Coordinator   
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Grant News

Welcome New Travel Green Wisconsin Certified Businesses
Santa is not the only one with a list. Tourism is required to report the results of planned and actual tourism spending for our grant projects to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Every year in late fall, WEDC publishes an Annual Report on Economic Development (Act 125 Report) and a corresponding searchable database of investment projects conducted by WEDC and other state agency economic development projects. The database allows a user to search by agency, year, recipient, municipality, county, program, amount of award and industry. Search for "Tourism" and click on the + by the award entry to see planned and actual outcomes of the project.

Upcoming Grant Application Deadlines

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

George Tzougros  
Executive Director   
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Arts Board

When the holidays approach, we look for unique gifts to express our feelings of love and friendship. We at the Arts Board hope that you consider purchasing the work of Wisconsin's talented artists. With something for every taste and budget, it's a great way to give something personal and thoughtful. It may be objects such as paintings or sculptures, books or videos. It may be the material expressions of the diverse racial and ethnic cultures that make up Wisconsin. It may also be tickets to dance and music concerts or theatrical performances. And don't forget about this option the rest of the year when considering gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. We wish you Season's Greetings and a Happy, Healthy, and Creative New Year!

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