Northwestern Mutual’s annual meeting has drawn about 12,000 visitors this week to downtown Milwaukee, generating an estimated local economic impact of $12.9 million, according to VISIT Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee-based life insurance company’s 138th annual meeting began on Saturday and concludes today with a Zac Brown Band concert at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
One of Milwaukee’s largest annual conventions, the annual meeting includes educational sessions, networking events and an annual run/walk along the lakefront. Events are held at several venues, including Wisconsin Center, Bradley Center, Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Hyatt Regency, InterContinental Hotel and the Pfister.
Northwestern Mutual’s visitors, which include the company’s financial advisors and family members, are occupying about 13,800 hotel room nights during their stay, according to VISIT Milwaukee.
The annual event drives traffic to Milwaukee’s attractions, including the Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, the Harley Davidson Museum and area restaurants, all of which has a positive ripple effect on the community, said VISIT Milwaukee spokeswoman Kristin Settle.
“Restaurants are packed; local attractions are busy,” she said. “Restaurants schedule extra staff for the week, which means increased labor income, and those restaurant workers now have additional spending income.”
This year’s event coincided with two annual attractions, Festa Italiana at Henry Maier Festival Park and the Milwaukee Air & Water Show on the lakefront.
“For some, it’s an annual trip to Milwaukee that they look forward to,” Settle said. “But for some people, it’s their first time to experience Milwaukee, to see how cool our city is … It’s a great time of year to be here.”
Tonight’s concert will be the final official event at the Bradley Center before the building is demolished.
“It’s bittersweet,” Settle said. “It’s great that Northwestern Mutual is using the building one last time and visitors are able to experience all of what Westown has to offer.”
Settle said planning is already underway for next year’s annual meeting, but did not disclose where it will be held.
“We’re already looking ahead to 2019 and beyond,” she said.