Frank Lloyd Wright Trail Wins Again!

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wisconsin department of tourism
travel wisconsin news


Stephanie Klett

Dear Friends,

Our campaign to promote the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail received the prestigious U.S. Travel Association Mercury Award for Public Relations, the nation’s top award for state tourism public relations, during the ESTO conference in Phoenix. And that’s not all, the entry also received the People’s Choice Award!  Two years ago, legislation was passed and signed by Governor Walker to designate and post signage for the Trail. In that time, we’ve seen traffic at trail sites increase by as much as 20%.  Every member in our 24-person department touched this incredible award-winning project.

After the huge success of last year’s Travel Wisconsin Facebook Live broadcast from Summerfest, we’re doing it again. We are broadcasting live on our Facebook page from the UW Football season opener against Western Kentucky. Be sure to tune into the livestream event featuring celebrity appearances including Governor Walker on Friday, August 31.  Start time is approximately 5:45 p.m.  It will be a blast!

Join us in welcoming three new members to the Governor’s Council on Tourism: Michelle Martin, Executive Director of Washburn County Tourism; Mary McPhetridge, Executive Director of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce; and, A.J. Frels, Executive Director of the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. We look forward to having their unique tourism experience and insight on the Council to help guide our work to market Wisconsin and grow the tourism economy.

Joellyn Merz is retiring from the Department of Tourism after more than 36 years of service.  She is credited with helping to develop the public-private partnership that kept the lights on in the Welcome Centers.  During her time as Director of Technology & Customer Service, website sessions grew from 2.5 million to 9 million.  Her knowledge of the state’s tourism industry and leadership will truly be missed.  Please help us send her many good wishes as she starts on this new life adventure. 




This month marks the 45th anniversary of the Wisconsin Arts Board. Since its creation, the Arts Board has helped nurture creativity, cultivate expression, promote the arts, support the arts in education in Wisconsin. Congratulations to the entire Arts Board and Arts Board staff on this milestone!

In late July, the Farm Wisconsin Discover Center opened its doors in Manitowoc. The 29,000 square-foot ag center, the largest of its kind in Wisconsin, is dedicated to the discovery of where food comes from, how it’s produced and who’s producing it. Also included are a birthing barn where visitors can watch calves being born and displays showcasing the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture, from cranberries to potatoes.



      Grant Updates

      The Department recently updated our Meetings Mean Business (MMB) and Ready Set Go (RSG) Grant programs. Effective July 1, applications can now be accepted for events that have already been secured if the application is received at least 180 days prior to the event. For events not secured, applications must be received 90 days prior to the event. To clarify eligible grant expenses, documentation showing the required costs of the event must be submitted with the application, which can include an RFP, contract or estimates from vendors for transportation or facility costs. Full guidelines can be found at Contact Heidi Schultz at 608-261-6272 or 608-669-6526 with questions.

      September 1 is the deadline to apply for Destination Marketing and Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) grants. Information and applications are available here.

      Upcoming Conferences

      Upper Midwest Convention & Visitors Bureau Fall Conference: Sept. 9-11, Lake Geneva

      Governor’s Cybersecurity Summit: Sept. 10, Madison

      2018 CenStates TTRA Conference: Sept. 19-21, Des Moines, Iowa

      Wisconsin Lodging Conference & Tradeshow: Nov. 4-6, Elkhart Lake

      WACVB Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference: Nov. 8-9, Stevens Point

      Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association Annual Conference & Innkeeper Tradeshow: Dec. 3-5, La Crosse


          Badgers and Birdies Sweepstakes Running Now

          Tee off with Travel Wisconsin’s Badgers and Birdies Sweepstakes! Fans can enter for a chance to win one of 20 grand prize packages that include: 

          • 4 VIP tickets to the Travel Wisconsin tailgate party in Madison on Aug. 31
          • 4 tickets to Wisconsin Badgers vs. Western Kentucky 
          • A free round of golf for you and three friends at one of Wisconsin’s premier golf courses

          Learn more here:

          Multicultural Campaign Features Matt Scott

          This summer, Tourism is reaching out to our multicultural audience with two distinct campaigns. The first features Paralympian Matt Scott with a message that “anyone can have fun in Wisconsin.” Campaign visuals will run on Facebook, Instagram, print, broadcast, digital and out-of-home. The second is a social-based effort that highlights the many ethnic festivals in Wisconsin. Both campaigns run through Sept. 10, 2018.

          Travel Wisconsin Hits Major Milestones

 celebrated two big milestones in July. Website sessions for the month reached over one million, the highest recorded month in the Department’s history. Last month, the Travel Wisconsin Facebook page also reached 500,000 Likes – that’s over 1.5 million people who use and our Facebook page to plan their Wisconsin getaway!

          Instagram Influencers Take On Wisconsin

          This summer, we hosted three Instagram Influencers each with different story angles.  Curb Free With Cory Lee covered accessible travel in Milwaukee and Sheboygan. Pancakes and Whiskey hit the music festival scene with stops at Summerfest and Eaux Claires.  Andrew Pielage traveled the Wisconsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright Trail in his journey to photograph every Frank Lloyd Wright site.  Total earned media for the first half of the year totaled $40 million and featured 1,500 clips.

          Fall/Winter Event Guides

          The 2018-19 Fall/Winter Events Guides are in! Place your bulk order today by calling 1-800-432-8747, or order individual guides online

          TOP ARTICLES


          5 Ocean-Like Beaches on Wisconsin's Great Lakes


          8 Hidden Cabins and Cottages in Wisconsin


          8 Supper Clubs with Gorgeous Lake Views


          • Chilimania, Edgerton
          • Bacon Bash, River Falls
          • Green County Cheese Days
          • Warrens Cranberry Fest

          vote here

          Last month, we asked: What’s your favorite on-the-water tour? The La Crosse Queen sailed into first place with 70% of the votes.