. Wisconsin Offers Something for Everyone | Successful Meetings

Wisconsin Offers Something for Everyone

This scenic and sprightly destination is adding a wealth of new accommodations for meeting groups

Wisconsin lush backdrop

For planners seeking a Midwestern destination offering a rich balance of fun and practicality, Wisconsin is something of a one-stop spot.

"Whether meeting planners are looking for a family destination offering plenty of activities, an urban environment in one of our cities, or just the right facility at a good value to support the particular needs of an event, Wisconsin has it," says Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. But Klett adds that it is the state's hospitality, customer service, and "sense of fun" that sets Wisconsin apart as a meeting destination. "When you bring a meeting to any destination in Wisconsin, our tourism industry works hard so you and your group have the best possible experience."

The state is seeing significant property renovations and new facilities, and this is especially true in the capital. In August, Madison's famous Edgewater Hotel is set to complete a $100-million renovation and expansion that will create a mixed-use property of 189 hotel rooms, condominiums, and retail space centered around a large public plaza. A waterfront bar, spa-wellness center, and casual and fine-dining restaurants will be among the offerings available in the refurbished property.

Nearby, the 40,000-square-foot Monona Terrace Convention Center is undergoing a renovation that will add a new interactive museum dedicated to architect and Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the convention center. Other upgrades include replacing 15,000 square yards of carpet throughout the building, replacing payphone stations with "plug and play workstations," and enhancing the space's artwork.

The Madison Concourse Hotel, Sheraton Madison Hotel, and Best Western Plus InnTowner & The Highland Club are also undergoing renovations to their rooms and interiors. Alliant Energy Center is undergoing a 290,000-square-foot expansion, replacing 11 barns with flexible new Holland Pavilions, allowing it to better accommodate some of the venue's biggest gatherings, including the World Dairy Expo and Midwest Horse Fair.

Julia Hertel, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, points to a comment made by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who hosted an international symposium in the capital city.

"The [professor said the] city 'offers everything needed for a successful conference: first-class meeting places; excellent logistical support; a fun, exciting city most easily accessible from any of the possible conference venues; and a cheerful, welcoming community that will make any visitor feel right at home,'" says Hertel. "We believe this is a great description of Madison as well as the attributes of many Wisconsin destinations."



Beyond Madison 
Wisconsin also boasts many other draws outside of its capital. Milwaukee's hotel scene continues to flourish with the addition of the new $150-million, 381-room Potawatomi Bingo Casino Hotel, opening this fall. Its more than 10,500 square feet of meeting space will add to the existing 40,000 square feet of combined Expo Center and ballroom space. Planners will find expanding options in downtown Milwaukee with the opening last year of properties like the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Milwaukee Marriot Downtown.

The historic Pfister Hotel (built in 1893) recently completed renovations to its 176 tower rooms. These refurbished rooms add to the property's offerings, which include the WELL Spa and Salon, Mason Street Grill restaurant, the Blu martini bar, high-speed Internet, and unbeatable views of Lake Michigan. A multimillion-dollar renovation of the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield is bringing enhancements to guest rooms, including new desks, dressers, chairs, and window treatments.

In Green Bay, a $23-million, 70,200-square-foot addition to the KI Convention Center is currently underway. Once renovations are complete in fall 2015, the space will boast a 24,500-square-foot ballroom, three additional meeting rooms, 30,700 square feet of new meeting space, and an expansive plaza for relaxing and outdoor receptions. The venue is bookended by its headquarter hotel, Hyatt on Main, on one side, and the Clarion Hotel on the opposite end, offering lush views of the Fox River and downtown Green Bay.

The scenic eastern Wisconsin city of Elkhart Lake will see the expansion of the AAA Four-Diamond Osthoff Resort. Set on the lake's shores, the property will add 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, as well as 10,000 square feet of pre-function and back-of-house space. All told, it will be able to accommodate 800 guests for dinner and 1,400 for theater-style seating. 

ESSENTIAL Tool Box
CONVENTION CENTERS & FACILITIES
Alliant Energy Center (100,000 sf of exhibition space); Wisconsin Center (188,695 sf); Wisconsin Exposition Center (200,000 sf)

ROOM TAX
Maximum of 8 percent (with a few exceptions between 9 and 10 percent)

READERS RECOMMEND
Pinnacle Awards Go To:

Visit Milwaukee
Kalahari Resorts, Wisconsin Dells
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva

 


Beyond Madison 
Wisconsin also boasts many other draws outside of its capital. Milwaukee's hotel scene continues to flourish with the addition of the new $150-million, 381-room Potawatomi Bingo Casino Hotel, opening this fall. Its more than 10,500 square feet of meeting space will add to the existing 40,000 square feet of combined Expo Center and ballroom space. Planners will find expanding options in downtown Milwaukee with the opening last year of properties like the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Milwaukee Marriot Downtown.

The historic Pfister Hotel (built in 1893) recently completed renovations to its 176 tower rooms. These refurbished rooms add to the property's offerings, which include the WELL Spa and Salon, Mason Street Grill restaurant, the Blu martini bar, high-speed Internet, and unbeatable views of Lake Michigan. A multimillion-dollar renovation of the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield is bringing enhancements to guest rooms, including new desks, dressers, chairs, and window treatments.

In Green Bay, a $23-million, 70,200-square-foot addition to the KI Convention Center is currently underway. Once renovations are complete in fall 2015, the space will boast a 24,500-square-foot ballroom, three additional meeting rooms, 30,700 square feet of new meeting space, and an expansive plaza for relaxing and outdoor receptions. The venue is bookended by its headquarter hotel, Hyatt on Main, on one side, and the Clarion Hotel on the opposite end, offering lush views of the Fox River and downtown Green Bay.

The scenic eastern Wisconsin city of Elkhart Lake will see the expansion of the AAA Four-Diamond Osthoff Resort. Set on the lake's shores, the property will add 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, as well as 10,000 square feet of pre-function and back-of-house space. All told, it will be able to accommodate 800 guests for dinner and 1,400 for theater-style seating.