Reaching Out to our Friends in Chicago

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wisconsin department of tourism
travel wisconsin news


Stephanie Klett

Hello Friends,

This fall, we launched several exciting initiatives to invite our Chicago neighbors to visit Wisconsin. Our neighbors to the south make up Wisconsin’s largest out-of-state travel market. Last year, Wisconsin welcomed 21.5 million visitors from Illinois who spent their vacation dollars on lodging, attractions and events across the state.

We unveiled a larger-than-life advertising campaign at Union Station in Chicago. An entire hallway wrapped in a fall theme with a towering 8-foot hourglass dropping leaves as Wisconsin hits peak color reminds travelers to "see the fall leaves before the leaves fall."  A kick-off event included a live morning TV interview on Fox Chicago and our staff handed out 1,200 apple cider donuts from Apple Holler in Sturtevant to delighted commuters.

Travel Wisconsin was the game day sponsor for the Badger-Northwestern game. We hosted a hospitality tent for our Northwestern friends with Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne who posed for photo opps.  The TV exposure of the full stadium takeover with the Travel Wisconsin brand was another great way to reach fans and potential travelers in Chicago. 

The public relations and social media team returned to the Windy City for another Wisconsin Weekend in Chicago.  Travel Wisconsin continues to be a huge hit with attendees of the annual Musky Fest block party at Will’s Northwoods Inn. 

The annual Big Bundle Up is back for its seventh year.  Last year, 70 tourism partners helped collect a record-breaking 31,500 warm winter items donated to charities throughout Wisconsin. The campaign has collected more than 103,400 donated items since 2011. This year’s campaign runs Nov. 16 through Jan. 2. If you are interested in being a drop-off site, please contact Kristina LeVan at 608-266-0458.

Ron Dayne


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions broke ground on its new Wisconsin Dells Convention Center expansion. Slated to open September 2019, the 112,000-sq-ft. expansion will include a 52,000-sq-ft. ballroom and ten additional meeting rooms. Tourism Deputy Secretary Klavas joined 100 attendees, including the Nelson family, owners of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, for the momentous event.


    Upcoming Conferences

    Governor’s Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Summit: October 25-26, Trego

    WACVB Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference: November 2-3, Racine

    Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Trade Show: November 5-7, Milwaukee

    Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association Conference & Innkeeper Trade Show: December 4-6, Lake Geneva 

    Grant Updates

    November 1 is the deadline for Tourism’s Joint Effort Marketing grant. Information and applications are available online. Contact Grants Coordinator Heidi Schultz with any questions.

    Travel Green Wisconsin

    Congratulations to the following industry partners on their recent Travel Green Wisconsin certification:

    • Global Grounds Coffee, La Crosse
    • The Mint, La Crosse
    • Platteville Regional Chamber Fall Harvest Table Dinner, Platteville
    • White Oak Savanna Events Farm and Sanctuary, Dodgeville 


      “Snackable” Videos Hit 1 Million Views

      In June, Travel Wisconsin began publishing weekly “snackable” video content to its social media channels to inspire consumers in the dreaming stage of the travel planning process. To date, we have published 18 videos that have totaled more than 1.1 million views. Check them out here.

      Packers Dream Draft Sweepstakes

      Calling all Packers fans! We want you to be at Lambeau Field when the Packers take on Minnesota, so we’ve teamed up with the Green Bay Packers to give away tickets, pregame sideline passes, autographed merchandise and more. Enter today!

      Ultimate Fall Drive Showdown

      Congratulations to the Wisconsin Great River Road National Scenic Byway for winning Travel Wisconsin’s Ultimate Fall Drive Showdown! The drive received over 1,700 votes, securing the number one spot in the contest. Visit to see a complete list of the final standings.

      Art & Craft Fairs Directory

      Don’t miss your chance to be included in Travel Wisconsin’s Art & Craft Fairs Guide. The guide features paid listings, as well as 12 ad pages available for purchase in ½ or full-page buys on a first-come, first-served basis. Conveniently submit your art & craft fair listings through the new online portal (U: Wisconsin P: wia2018). The deadline for submitting is November 10, 2017. Click here for more information on how to add a listing or buy an ad in the Art & Craft Fairs Guide.   

      Co-Op Advertising Opportunities

      Limited Time:

      • Midwest Living - The Department will be placing a 12-page insert into the 2018 May/June and September/October issues. Seven pages of content are available for industry partners.


      • Deals - Our updated Deals Program will help you advertise your deals in a more effective way. With the launch of the new page, we’ve updated this co-op offering to drive more traffic to your site.

      More co-op advertising information is available online. Contact Sarah Keller at Laughlin Constable with question. 


      Supper Clubs

      5 Supper Clubs Along Beautiful Fall Drives in Wisconsin

      Train Rides

      Five Scenic Fall Train Rides in Wisconsin

      Scenic Drives

      11 Scenic Drives During Fall in Wisconsin


      • Touring haunted, historic houses
      • Getting lost in zombie corn mazes
      • Setting sail on a ghost boat tour
      • Trick-or-treating at a Zoo Boo

      vote here

      Last Month's Result

      We asked, you answered. The Fall Colors Comet Sky Ride is your favorite seasonal spot featured in our Fall TV ad.