Wisconsin Shines as the Star of New Tourism Ad Campaign

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Travel Wisconsin News
TWN Secretary's Message

Dear Friends,


This year’s WIGCOT is another one for the books.  When our entire industry comes together at an event like this, the positive energy is contagious.  It’s this same spirit behind the fun experiences and memories that all of you give our travelers.  We live by the motto “when our travelers are having fun, we’re having fun.”


That leads me into our new ad campaign, which takes the tourism brand of fun to a new level.  Instead of using celebrities as the stars in our ads we are making Wisconsin the star.  The new TV commercials put a spotlight on Wisconsin’s playful side, with two authentic experiences taking center stage: supper clubs and family and pet travel.   We are showing travelers “real fun” Wisconsin experiences that are theirs to enjoy.    


If you missed the TV spots or just want to see them again, they’re posted on the Travel Wisconsin Facebook page or you can check out both commercials on YouTube:


Dogs Are Always Welcome in Wisconsin

This is a Wisconsin Supper Club         


There is much more to the rest of the campaign, including fantastic out-of-home executions and print and radio ads.  We’ll be posting all of it on our industry website over the next couple of weeks.


Hats off to this year’s Governor’s Tourism Awards 23 nominees and 6 award winners.  This year, we had a tie for the Legacy Award.  Congratulations to Allen Schroeder, Historic Site Director at Pendarvis, Stonefield and First Capitol Historic Sites, and Charles Wikenhauser, Director of the Milwaukee County Zoo.  The award winner in each category is listed in the Industry Services section below. 


The next statewide tourism event coming our way is National Travel & Tourism Week (May 1-7) and the release of our 2015 economic impact research.  More information will be coming from your Regional Tourism Specialist and our public relations team regarding the release of the research and the timing of the Governor’s Office media announcement.

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TWN Council Perspectives


Thursday, May 12

Time: TBD

Lawrence University – Vail Hall on the Björklunden Campus in Baileys Harbor

Please RSVP to Amy Bayer at 608-266-2345

TWN Industry Services

Governor’s Tourism Award Winners

Twenty-three nominees for The Governor’s Tourism Awards were recognized at this year’s conference. These individuals represent the best of the best in the tourism industry. Congratulations to this year’s Governor’s Tourism Award Winners:

  • Legacy Award – Allen Schroeder, Historic Site Director, Pendarvis, Stonefield Historic Site and First Capitol Historic Site
  • Legacy Award – Charles Wilkenhauser, Director, Milwaukee County Zoo
  • Rising Star Award – Tim Hyma, Executive Director, Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Stewardship Award –  Meuer Farm, Chilton
  • Service Excellence Award – James Bolen, Executive Director, Cable Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Arts, Culture and Heritage – Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum


2015 Economic Impact Research Released During National Tourism Week 

The Department will release the 2015 economic impact of tourism research report in conjunction with National Tourism Week (May 1-7). Watch for more information about the official media announcement with the Governor’s Office from your Regional Tourism Specialist and our public relations team. You can also find information about this annual salute to travel and tourism in America on the U.S. Travel website.



Wisconsin Department of Tourism Named WATA Partner of the Year

The Department of Tourism was named Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association (WATA) Partner of the Year at the 2016 Luv-R-Ag Summit in February. Representatives from the Department accepted the honor during the Awards Presentation on February 22 .

Industry Accolades

Many kudos to our industry partners this month!

TWN Marketing Update

Travel Wisconsin Summer Marketing Campaign

In addition to the two new TV commercials, this summer’s marketing campaign includes radio spots, billboards, print ads, digital and social media, and public relations outreach. These campaign assets will be available later this month and posted on the tourism industry website.  In the meantime, high-resolution video and images are available by contacting Kristina LeVan at klevan@travelwisconsin.com, and links to the TV spots can be found on the Travel Wisconsin YouTube page.



Congratulations to Toby’s Supper Club in McFarland

On February 21, Toby’s Supper Club was recognized during a special pre-game ceremony during the Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball game for receiving the most votes in the Travel Wisconsin Supper Club Sweepstakes. The social media promotion hosted by Wisconsin Athletics encouraged fans to vote for their favorite supper club in Wisconsin. Approximately 1,500 voters shared which Wisconsin supper club topped their list. Read more about Toby’s Supper Club on our website.

TWN Wisconsin in the News

PR and Social Media Year in Review

In 2015, the PR team worked hard to share all the great things Wisconsin’s tourism industry offers our travelers. We brought in more than 40 journalists to visit the state, and assisted an estimated 400 media representatives with story pitches, deskside meetings, trade shows, TV and radio interviews.  We have more than 400,000 Facebook fans and 80,000 Twitter followers, and our recent launch in Instragram has seen phenomenal results. 


Recent Media Coverage:


See all our recent clips in the media room.  

TWN Cus Serv and Tech

Share Your Pet-Friendly Services

This month, the Department added the Pets Welcome tip ideas page that highlights pet-friendly destinations in Wisconsin. To further promote how Wisconsin’s tourism industry is gearing up for this growing travel trend, we developed a special feedback form that lets partners tell us how businesses and organizations in their communities are providing that extra special welcome to pets. Share your pet-friendly services with us by completing the form, found here.


New Trip Planner Launches on TravelWisconsin.com

The Department has launched a new trip planner feature on TravelWisconsin.com, allowing visitors to “favorite” any record and organize them into customizable lists. After creating a log in, visitors can save their favorite restaurants, attractions and lodging accommodations with a click of the “Add to Favorites” button. Users can add each record to the “My Favorites” list or create a new list; all lists are private and not viewable on the site by others. Once saved, each record offers contact information and a map, making it easy for travelers to plan for their next weekend getaway or road trip.


Official Travel Guide and Spring/Summer Event Guide Now Available

The brand new Official Wisconsin Travel Guide is hot off the press.  The guide has a new format with editorial features on everything from architectural wonders to local foods including farm to table dining. 

The 2016 Spring/Summer Events Guide is also here just in time for warmer temperatures to set in. The guide includes more than 500 events across the state from March through September. If you would like to place an order in bulk, please contact Hilary Burg at 608-266-1662.


Here are some of the most popular and most-shared articles and blog posts from February:

TWN Conference and Education

Save the Date: WIGCOT 2017 
Mark your calendars and reserve your room for WIGCOT 2017, March 12-14 at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. Overnight accommodations can be arranged at the following hotels. Be sure to mention that you are coming in for the 2017 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Rates are valid from Sunday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 14.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino 

$125 flat rate 

(844) 217-4100


Hilton Milwaukee City Center

$134 flat rate

(414) 935-5940


Fairfield Inn & Suites

$115 flat rate

(411) 224-8400

Grants Header

Grant Tip of the Month: Who can apply for grants?

For Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) and Meetings Mean Business! (MMB) grants, applications must be submitted by the designated destination marketing organization for the city where the event will be held. Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grants, require that applicants must be Wisconsin non-profits; however, we do not require 501(c)3 exemption status. When it comes to the Tourist Information Center (TIC) grant program, applicants must operate a tourist information center in a key Wisconsin location with center hours and direct customer service. For questions about the grant application process, contact Heidi Roekle at hroekle@travelwisconsin.com.



Joint Effort Marketing – April 1, 2016

Destination Marketing – April 1, 2016

Meetings Mean Business Grants - April 1, 2016

Ready, Set, Go! – April 1, 2016

Tourist Information Center Grants – July 1, 2016


Submit your grant applications online at grants.travelwisconsin.com. Contact your Regional Tourism Specialist or Heidi Roekle for application assistance or questions. 

TWN Arts Board

Wisconsin Arts Board Joins Americans for the Arts’ National Study

Last month, the Wisconsin Arts Board announced its participation in the Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5, a national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. As one of nearly 300 study partners across the U.S., the Arts Board will work with groups around the state to collect detailed financial data about Wisconsin’s local nonprofit arts and culture organizations, including theater and dance companies, museums, festivals, and arts education organizations. The Arts Board will also be asking selected arts presenters and facilities to help by collecting audience-intercept surveys from attendees at their events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event. Surveys will be collected throughout calendar year 2016, with results released June 2017.

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