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Pewaukee targets Minnesota tourists

Study says Twin Cities market shows potential

Feb. 4, 2013

Fun, meet adventure.

It's a message that the Waukesha/Pewaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau uses to describe what's in our own backyard. It's in visitor guides, advertisements and travel writers' stories to bring tourists to the area. And they'd like to do more.

"(North Star) gave us some really great statistical information … this chart shares with us the opportunity of growing our market based on the visitors that are currently coming here. Where can we find more visitors that have the same interests? That are going to spend their money in the businesses that we have here? That have commonalities to our residents, because our residents are very much ambassadors to the tourism industry?" explained Tammy Tritz, WPCVB executive director.

A NorthStar brand development study in 2012 pinpointed some missed opportunities, specifically in the Twin Cities. In its research, it asked area hotels to submit information about their guests, around 5,000, to see what cities they were already coming from.

"They gave us some ideas to where we can expand our advertising efforts to bring more visitors into the community … The Minneapolis-St.Paul market is one of those markets that has a very strong opportunity for us," Tritz said.

Tritz said that population, distance, type of visitor, demographics and the like make the Twin Cities an "opportunity we need to take on."

Currently, the WPCVB receives $350,000 from Pewaukee's Joint Tourism Committee, funds acquired through Pewaukee room taxes plus interest.

As the area's official destination marketing organization, WPCVB serves to market and sell Waukesha and Pewaukee travelers with business or leisure services plus the development and implementation of a tourism strategy. The area maintains a strong presence already in the Chicago, Madison and Green Bay tourism markets - Tritz is afraid that they would lose business if they were to cut from those markets to find the money needed for a Minneapolis-St. Paul expansion.

According to the WPCVB's 2012 report, its efforts actualized 2,221 room nights between January and September alone. It brought groups in such as the Waukesha Kennel Club or the Wisconsin Economic Development Association to stay in hotels such as the Holiday Inn or the Marriott.

"If we see response coming in just based on package sales, inquiries (or) Google analytics telling us that we are indeed connecting with that Minnesota market, we will absolutely need to continue to build this into our advertising budget," Tritz said.

The group's initial grant request of $42,000 was approved last Tuesday by the Tourism Committee and it will now move on to the Common Council. This story went to press before a final determination was made.

"We can't continue to spend money in the confined markets that we're in now and expect our returns to continue to grow if we're not growing and expanding the work," Tritz said.

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