March is here. Temperatures are warming, the snow is melting and it is Milwaukee Hotel Month.
According to an announcement from VISIT Milwaukee, 43 area hotels are offering special packages and discounts for overnight guests, with rates starting at $75.
VISIT Milwaukee will be donating $50,000 to participating hotels. The money will be split evenly among them. VISIT Milwaukee will also pay for advertising targeting local, outstate Wisconsin and Chicago audiences.
The donation comes from money that was earmarked for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The convention was to take place in downtown Milwaukee, but was significantly scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like most elsewhere in the U.S., Milwaukee’s hotels have been hit hard by the pandemic. According to market data from Hendersonville, Tennessee based STR Inc., hotel occupancy is down 45% year-over-year since March 2020.
“Our hotels have been devastated by the pandemic,” Peggy Williams-Smith, VISIT Milwaukee chief executive officer, said in a statement. “And we wanted to provide some relief by creating an opportunity to give back to them and increase their occupancy through a regional campaign aimed at locals and visitors alike.”
Citing state-level medical associations nationwide, VISIT Milwaukee said that hotel stays have been ranked a low-risk activity throughout the pandemic.
In addition to the discounted rooms rates, some hotels are also tossing in add-ons and upgrades.
Examples include a complimentary bottle of wine or champagne at the Hyatt Place Milwaukee Downtown; an upgrade to a suite and gourmet snack bag at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites; and a four-course, farm-to-table breakfast plus a wine and cheese hour at the Westphal Mansion Inn Bed & Breakfast in Hartford.