Good things will be brewing at the Destinations Wisconsin Fall Tourism Conference, November 9 & 10 at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.  The conference will offer ideas and inspiration beginning with the State of the American Traveler – Wisconsin Edition keynote address by leading research firm, Destination AnaylstsWI Dept. of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers will be joining us along with sessions on digital marketing, sports tourism, advocacy and DMO roundtables.  Visit Milwaukee will be hosting a top-notch marketplace and reception plus dine around on Thursday evening.   ONLINE REGISTRATION IS NOW AVAILABLE.

Location & Lodging: The conference events will be held at the Potowatomi Hotel & Casino.  Book your room at Potowatomi Hotel & Casino. Conference room rate is $119/night.

Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities - Destinations Wisconsin invites you to be a Fall Tourism Conference  exhibitor. Learn More. 

Register as a sponsor or exhibitor.

Wisconsin Tourism Trailblazer Awards Enter your marketing/communication project or partnership initiative, or learn more. Deadline to enter is October 13, 2023.

Online Registration Now Available

Or, download a registration form and mail it in with payment.

Conference Agenda

Thursday, November 9 2023
10:45 AM - 5:00 PM

Conference Registration 

12:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Opening Luncheon & Keynote Presentation - The State of the American Traveler - Wisconsin Edition

The American and Wisconsin leisure travel market is an ever-shifting landscape. Presenting current data and trends from nearly two decades of research into American travel sentiment, behaviors and aspirations, Destination Analysts will help you move your marketing and business strategies forward with confidence in understanding The State of the American Traveler™. Speaker: David Reichbach, Destinations Analysts Senior Director of Analytics and Data Security

Sponsored by Spectrum Reach


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Sessions 

1. Advocating for the Value of Tourism in an Illogical World

Destination marketing and management should be seen as a public good in each of our communities. Yet, sometimes, our community leaders and residents don’t appreciate our efforts to enhance tourism in our destinations. This session will help you articulate our worth and our work in divisive times, including how we need to learn to shift from ROI-based success to values-based success. Destinations Wisconsin's government relations team will wrap up the session with a Wisconsin legislative update. Speaker: Andreas Weissenborn, Destinations International Vice President of Research and Advocacy & Caty McDermott/Hamilton Consulting Group

2. Sustainable Tourism in Wisconsin

Learn from a pioneering Wisconsin destination organization on how it is helping to create an  environmentally sustainable destination. Also, hear how you can become a more sustainable organization through the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Travel Green program. Presenters: Julie Gilbert/Destination Door County, Amy Weber/WI Department of Tourism

3. DMO Roundtables I 

Join your DMO peers in discussing issues and projects related to visitor centers, partnerships/memberships and visitor guides on facilitated tables.

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM

Afternoon Break - Enjoy snacks and beverages while networking with your colleagues between breakout sessions. 

Sponsors: Circle Wisconsin, Mad Dog & Merrill Midwest Grill'n, Adara

3:20 PM - 4:20 PM

Breakout Sessions

1. Advocating for the Value of Tourism in an Illogical World (repeat)

2. The Digital Travel Planner

From the use of virtual experiences to the rise of TikTok, this session looks at the  technologies that are reshaping travel research, planning and booking. Hear the latest research on U.S. travelers’ use of new technology to plan trips and to travel. Presenter: David Reichbach/Destinations Analysts

3. DMO Roundtables II 

Join your DMO peers in discussing issues and projects related to Group Sales/Service, Communications, Events on facilitated tables.

4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Marketplace & Reception - Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and beverages, courtesy of Visit Milwaukee, while networking with your colleagues and having a chance to win door prizes when you visit all the marketplace sponsor and exhibitor booths.

Sponsored by Legendary Waters & CasinoZartico, & Epsilon

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Milwaukee Dine Around


Friday, November 10 2023
7:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Conference Registration in Lobby

7:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Breakfast, Wisconsin Tourism Trailblazer Awards Ceremony & WI Department of Tourism Update

Speaker: WI Dept. of Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers

Sponsored by Boelter & Lincoln

9:10 AM - 10:10 AM

Breakout Sessions

1. The Power of Sports Tourism in Your Community

Sports tourism not only brings needed economic impact to a community, but it also creates lifelong memories for those involved. Join us for an exploration of the impact that sports tourism can have on your community. This session will uncover how hosting sports events can be a catalyst for economic growth, community engagement, and lasting legacies. Discover strategies to leverage sports tourism as a dynamic tool for branding your destination, fostering civic pride, and building collaborative partnerships. Explore real-world examples of communities that have harnessed the power of sports to create transformative experiences for residents and visitors alike. Don't miss this opportunity to unlock the untapped potential of sports tourism in shaping a vibrant and prosperous future for your community.

Presenter: John David/Sports ETA President & CEO

2. Tools and Apps for Tourism Marketers

This session is dedicated to equipping industry professionals with the latest digital resources for streamlining and enhancing their in-house marketing efforts. From powerful content creation tools to intuitive social media management platforms, we’ll share a handpicked selection of our favorite apps and platforms that are efficiently (and affordably!) maximizing the impact of our destination marketing and communication work. Speakers: Kate Dale/Destination Madison, Maddie Jack/Fox Cities CVB, Kenzi Havlicek/Visit Eau Claire

3. Welcoming All in the Workplace and Destination

Join us for a thought-provoking discussion featuring DMO and organization leaders who are actively working towards inclusion and equity in their workplaces and destinations. Panelists: Rodrick Cureton Jr./The Milwauke Bucks, Damian Buchman/The Ability Center, Ellie Westman Chin/Destination Madison

10:10 AM - 10:25 AM

Networking Break - Grab a cup of coffee or other beverage before heading into the last round of breakout sessions. 

Sponsored by (to date): Madden Media, River Travel Media, Discover Wisconsin

10:25 AM - 11:25 AM

Breakout Sessions

1. Outlook for Wisconsin Group Markets

Some group travel has been slower to return to 2019 levels compared to leisure travel.  Hear from leaders in the Sports, Meetings & Convention and Motorcoach markets on how these segments are performing in Wisconsin and throughout the region and how Wisconsin is working to market to these audiences. Panelists: John David/SportsETA, Wendy Dobrinski/Circle Wisconsin, Mae Ibe/Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc. Moderator: Dawn Zanoni/WI Dept. of Tourism

2. RNC Convention & NFL Draft: Preparing for the National Stage

Wisconsin is in the national spotlight in 2024 and 2025 as Milwaukee and Green Bay host the Republican National Convention and the NFL draft.  Hear from the DMO executives on what it takes to host these events and how their organizations are working to ensure that they make the most of the opportunity. Speakers: Peggy Williams Smith/Visit Milwaukee & Brad Toll/Discover Green Bay

3. Creating Great Video Content

Marketing consistently with high-quality video that is fresh and engaging is crucial to tourism organizations and businesses. Learn the dos and don’ts when planning and producing video. Presenters: Jonathan Eckleberg/Eckleberg Producations, Nick Meisner/Discover Green Bay

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Closing Luncheon

Join us as we hear from Paul Bartolotta, international renowed chef and co-founder of the Milwaukee area Bartolotta Restaurants about the importance of community engagement.  We will also announce the location of the 2024 conference. 

Sponsored by Dotdash Merideth Travel