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Jan 7, 2020

It was a long campaign with intense competition, but in the end, Milwaukee beat out Miami and Houston to be the host city of the Democratic National Convention (DNC),  July 13 – 16, 2020. Megan Suardini, vice president of Marketing & Communications for Visit Milwaukee talks about how the festival city did it and how we are preparing for a deluge of Democratic delegates and national media coming to Milwaukee. 

About Visit Milwaukee

Visit Milwaukee is an accredited destination marketing organization (DMO) that has been promoting the city for more than 50 years. Its role is to attract business and leisure visitors to the city and its marketing communications efforts are all done outside the city.

Landing the DNC

Even though Wisconsin is considered an important battleground state for the 2020 Presidential election, it was still considered an underdog when it received an RFP from the DNC in March 2018. There were eight cities in the running, including New York, Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco.  By June, the DNC had narrowed the competition down to Milwaukee, Miami and Houston. The DNC conducted a site survey that summer as the city rolled out the “blue” carpet for the organizers. There were several additional visits to work on logistics before Milwaukee was chosen as the host city on March 11, 2019. With an economic impact of at least $200 million for the city, the event is expected to put Milwaukee on the world stage with its welcoming, warm, Midwest charm. Megan says we made it clear to the DNC selection committee that they were a big deal and we wanted them. The city sees this not as a red or blue win, but as a green one.  It is estimated about $114 million will come from direct spending, such as restaurants, hotels and rental cars, and another $85 million-plus coming from indirect (wages paid to workers) and induced (money spent in other cities by travelers to Milwaukee) spending. 

For Visit Milwaukee’s part in all this, the DMO has been focused on hotel rooms and all the logistics of housing. In July 2020, the city will host 6000 delegates and another 15,000 to 20,000 media personnel. There will also be about 1500 events during those four days. Visit Milwaukee has found lots of support from communities within a 45-minute to one-hour commute from the city, even in northern Illinois.

Megan says the exposure for Milwaukee will be tremendous. Her staff is already looking for and pitching stories to the media related to technology, innovation, neighborhoods, education, manufacturing, urban development, green initiatives, unique individuals and community groups and they are open to hearing more ideas from the public. 

The Milwaukee Brand

In addition to the DNC, the Ryder Cup, the Society of American Travel Writers, the USA Triathlon and U.S. Gymnastics Championships are among the organizations that have chosen to hold their event in Milwaukee in 2020. They are attracted by the Milwaukee brand which is considered to be warm, friendly, inviting and accessible with big city amenities. The city is also quirky, extraverted, unexpected, lively and clean. In Megan’s words, “Milwaukee is hot, and we are ready. We really want to host your event.”

Connect with Visit Milwaukee


Phone:           +1 (800)-231-0903+1 (414)-273-3950

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