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Milwaukee has been chosen as the alternate location for the 2012 Social Media Tourism Symposium November 7 through November 9. While, El Paso, Texas has been chosen as the lead destination, both cities will now submit a formal proposal to the organizers of the conference which will help determine where the conference will be held.
Proposals will include details such as hotel room rate, offsite venues, and transportation options. Once the proposals are reviewed, SoMeT will announce the destination that will be the official host of the business conference.
“We’re still in the running,” said Jeannine Sherman, director of public relations at VISIT Milwaukee. “This second proposal will essentially expand on the mini proposal we submitted to be considered for the initial ‘sweet 16.””
The selection process was a "Sweet 16" tournament-style vote via social media, that required voters in each city to select the winners. For the past two weeks community members have voted on Facebook and showed their support to help VISIT Milwaukee bring the Social Media Tourism Symposium to Milwaukee. Other contestants included Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo. and Kansas City, some of Milwaukee's biggest competitors for convention business.
According to Sherman, Milwaukee and El Paso, Texas never faced off in a social media vote but the lead and alternate designations were decided based on the quality of the initial proposal rankings and seedings combined with the total number of votes each city recieved in the other three rounds of voting.
"This was the first time that a social media voting process was used to determine a host city for a sizeable conference. It was a unique opportunity to show the Milwaukee community how we bring conventions and economic impact to the city," said Paul Upchurch, president & CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. "Pride in Milwaukee won the day and was broadcast to an influential audience around the country. VISIT Milwaukee was able to leverage its skills in social media and partnerships within the city to help get the word out, and we would like to thank all of those who helped us with their votes."
The Social Media Tourism Symposium (SoMeT) is an annual convention attended by professionals from destination marketing organizations, hotels, resorts, attractions and other tourism-related entities. The meeting brings hundreds of tweeting travelers to its host city to share ideas and learn more about how social media is affecting promotion within the travel and tourism industry.
Proposals must be submitted by April 25 for consideration. Sherman expects a final decision will be made within a week of the deadline.
"The new proposals will give us a chance to drill down on some of the specific topics the initial proposals asked for," she said. "If El Paso's proposal is lacking anything in regards to one of those topics, there's still a chance Milawukee can be selected as the host city."
Regardless of the outcome, VISIT Milwaukee considers the campaign a huge success for Milwaukee.
"It was nice to see the whole community rally behind our city," Sherman said. "People spoke so passionately about Milwaukee. It wasn't Just team VISIT Milwaukee, it was team Milwaukee overall and that was really great to see."
Upchurch agreed, "We are proud that Milwaukee made it to the final round in the voting process and thank those in the community who made it possible," he said. "We look forward to submitting a strong proposal that highlights Milwaukee's attributes as a convention destination."
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