Panel OKs pair of tourism spending requests
Branding expertise could be revisited at later date

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

July 19, 2017

CITY OF PEWAUKEE - An outside consultant will not be hired, but a panel tasked with making tourism spending decisions did give the green light Tuesday to move forward with a baseball-related campaign and an enhancement to Taste of Lake Country.

The Pewaukee Tourism Commission, born out of recent state legislation, oversees how hotel room tax revenue is spent in the city. The mix of commission membership includes elected officials and a representative from the hotel industry.

During Tuesday's meeting, commissioners heard a trio of grant requests from Tammy Tritz, executive director of the Waukesha/Pewaukee Convention and Visitor Bureau, and Elaine Kroening, executive director of Positively Pewaukee.

Tritz was given the go-ahead to spend upward of $80,500 for an initiative known as the Midwest Major League Campaign. 

The funds, Tritz said, will give WPCVB the ability to engage in targeted advertising, particularly for fans of the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals. Diehard backers of the teams routinely stay in the Milwaukee area before and after games and bring with them tourism dollars.

Tritz said she viewed the campaign as important - particularly as lodging options grow increasingly competitive in Brookfield, downtown Milwaukee and elsewhere.

"We really need to be at the table and grab that opportunity because market share is getting smaller and smaller," Tritz said. "The pie is shrinking."

The bureau has long used consumer and demographic data in making decisions, Tritz said, but the Midwest Major League Campaign is one of the most precision-based efforts the organization has undertaken.

"It makes our money all the more better spent," Tritz said.

Kroening came before commissioners for two Positively Pewaukee-related requests. One of those grant requests - $25,000 toward a consultant for marketing - was denied, but could be revisited at a later date.

Positively Pewaukee is a longtime member of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, and Kroening said her goal is to take the resources from that partnership to the next level.

Inspired by Oconomowoc

Kroening said her goal is to create a unifying branding presence throughout Pewaukee - including the city and village - with a consistent marketing message to residents and visitors.

Kroening said she is inspired by Oconomowoc, which has a strong presence throughout its municipal borders.

"You know you're in Oconomowoc when you enter it," Kroening said. "Right now, we're kind of fragmented in Pewaukee. I'm looking at this as an opportunity for a unifying presence between the two municipalities."

When it comes to the city and village, tourism spending is pronounced. The city, by virtue of its spread out, still-developing landscape, hosts the hotels that bring in the room tax revenue. But the village and its established infrastructure and amenities hosts the majority of the special events.

"You can't have events with thousands of people and not house them," said Alderwoman Colleen Brown, who serves on the commission. "(The city) is more of the supporting arm, and (the village) is the main body."

Kroening did receive approval for a $4,000 grant for shuttle service to and from various areas during the Taste of Lake Country event.

<<EARLIER: Local tourism groups seeking grant funding