The city could be increasing its contract with the Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau, both in time and money.
The city’s Finance Committee and Room Tax Commission Tuesday both approved a new two-year contract with the CVB, which includes a 2.5% increase in the room tax going to the organization.
The city of Wausau in 2019 ended its contract with the CVB after a scuffle between the city and its previous director over Expedia money and a general lack of transparency with the organization. As a result, Finance Chair Lisa Rasmussen says, the city took a cautious approach, with one-year contracts.
CVB Director Tim White said the increase will go toward reaching new markets, boost outdoor recreation, increase the tools it uses to collect data and promote the area, and increase its marketing.
White says the CVB used an ARPA grant to purchase data collection tools to give it a good idea of the demographics of visitors to the Wausau area, how much they’re spending and where. They’ve helped local organizations with their marketing efforts to visitors, for example helping Taste N’ Glow Balloon Festival market to Milwaukee and Chicago instead of the twin cities, where they saw a better reaction. Many Minneapolis residents already attend Hudson’s balloon fest so it made more sense to market to the Milwaukee/Chicago area, White says.
White also highlighted the organization’s new website, which has one of the highest reaches of any site in central Wisconsin.
But, Rasmussen says, the communication and transparency has dramatically improved and “the results I’ve been seeing have been dramatically different.”