VISIT Milwaukee to Create New Web Tool

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm

One of the most challenging aspects of planning a meeting in southeastern Wisconsin is identifying the ideal venue for the event.

That task is about to become significantly easier and less time-consuming.

On May 1, VISIT Milwaukee will launch a search engine that consolidates all of its members’ information for off-site venues and restaurants and the various amenities they offer. VISIT Milwaukee’s members include area attractions, restaurants and meeting facilities.

"(The new search engine) will take the guess work and subjectivity out of people looking for off-site activities," said Laurie Serena, director of convention services for VISIT Milwaukee.

Some of meeting planners are looking for very specific amenities, and narrowing a venue down out of a list of hundreds can take a lot of time, she said.

"There’s a huge demand for a database that’s easily accessible," Serena said.

Serena said that when she first started at VISIT, she spent a lot of one-on-one time on the phone and through e-mails supplying a list of venues for meeting planners across the nation.

Trying to convey a voluminous amount of information from the existing spreadsheet database is an arduous process, Serena said.

"The search engine will save people a lot of time," she said.

The project began in the summer of 2004. Surveys were sent out to gather information on each venue, including the meeting/function room names of each venue, how many people it can accommodate, its distance from convenient locations – such as the airport – parking and contact information.

The results of the surveys were compiled into a spreadsheet. Serena’s team has made retrieving the remaining surveys its first priority.

"Another thing we’re talking about as we gain new members, we want to be able to change and update this on a regular basis," Serena said.

Restaurants will be listed under a separate search option on the Web site ( when the new planning tool is launched in May.

VISIT currently has 695 members, including people and companies in the service and transportation industries.

"It’s very time-consuming to try and consult with someone over the phone this level of data," Serena said. "(The search engine) allows us now to refer them to it."

Milwaukee companies planning company parties and holiday celebrations, people planning wedding receptions and weddings, and meeting planners will directly benefit from the search engine, Serena said.

The search engine will provide objective information to event planners, she said.

"Downtown Milwaukee has gone through a total resurgence. For someone to go in and do a search on a restaurant (or venue), they will be amazed at the results they receive."

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