Aerial View of Madison
© Cassius J. Callender

Greater Madison Experiential Tourism Project

The GMCVB is dedicated to creating economic impact and developing our destination through tourism. By promoting the city nationally and internationally, we increase the market potential of every business in Dane County, large and small. As one of our partners in growing the visitor economy, we are pleased you and your organization have chosen to learn more about the Greater Madison Experiential Tourism project.

The project has been designed to assist you and your organization with enhancing your current customer experience(s) and provide you with tools and direction to create and develop new visitor experience products.  Your finished product will be new, immersive and authentic offerings that can be sold, marketed and promoted to event planners, group travelers, leisure visitors and local residents and generate new revenue streams.

Project Details >
Application deadline has now passed.

Project Overview – 
After significant trend research and industry education, the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) has decided to develop strategies to support existing attractions and create new and original visitor concepts and experiences.

Our goal is to work with our partners to build a collection of memorable experiences that will eclipse travelers’ desires and go beyond the typical tourist path.  

To guide us in this work, the GMCVB selected Opportunities Unlimited, led by Joe Veneto, a 20-year veteran of the tourism industry and expert in the areas of tour and travel product development, to conduct an “experiential destination assessment” and identify current and potential experience opportunities in the greater Madison area.

Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Bloomington, MN:

Testimonial from Olga Oros of Damariscotta River Cruises:
“Joe Veneto and his incredible workshop has helped our tour boat experience tremendously, and was definitely worth our time and energy to re-think, re-organize and add new elements to the existing tours, to enhance an unforgettable experience on The River Tripper….(Joe) provided us with such a comprehensive framework and outline.”

  • The program inspired the business to pay close attention to re-scripting and re-writing their narration according to specific suggestions from Joe.
  • Changes were apparent. Five star reviews from customers showed that people got a much clearer picture of the oyster farming industry on the Damariscotta River.
  • Preliminary calculations show that the implemented changes learned from Joe Veneto's Experience Lab impacted about 3,000 visitors in the year 2017.
  • Participation in the program also encouraged cultivating stronger bonds with other complementary local businesses—learning from each other, supporting each other and creating new partnerships.

Project Objectives –
The Greater Madison Experiential Tourism Project’s objectives include:

  • Help change perceptions and broaden the view of what Madison and Wisconsin have to offer to visitors
  • Distinguish Madison and our region from other visitor destinations
  • Align Dane County tourism businesses with the experiences travelers are seeking
  • Support creation of new business offerings for our partners
  • Create new revenue opportunities for our partners
  • Drive travelers down the consumer path-to-purchase by showcasing compelling Madison experiences in the GMCVB’ s consumer marketing, media relations, social media, and trade development activities
  • Inspire and guide fresh, new visitor product experiences that respond to Madison’s target travelers’ motivations

Program Benefits - 

  • New revenue stream(s)
  • Access to experiential tourism expert for business development
  • Increased sales and recognition of offering a Signature Experience 
  • Increased exposure and marketing by the GMCVB via experience marketing content
  • Increased packaging or cross-promotional opportunities with other program participants
  • Increased media exposure
  • Prestige and marketplace credibility

What is needed to participate and benefit from the program?

  • Senior-level approval from within your organization for the endeavor 
  • Empowerment from organizational decision makers for you to assemble the resources necessary within your organization to set and achieve agreed upon goals
  • Ability to designate one or more of your associates as the key contact for the project internally
  • Half a day per month, beginning late February 2018 - late August 2018 to attend class, as well as homework assignments outside of development class
  • Development of web content and landing page(s) to support, market, and sell your new experience(s)
  • Create and develop appropriate sales and marketing initiatives to support your experiential offerings and product sales efforts
  • Establish an annual experiential project goal and report results monthly to GMCVB
  • Train staff and maintain appropriate staffing levels to support new experiential product(s); this ensures sustainability of product offerings
  • Offer the new experiential products for a minimum of three years, and allow periodic audits conducted by the GMCVB during this time frame
  • Invest financially 50% of cost up front of $500 per month for seven (7) months to GMCVB for the cost of the project

Tourism Project Participation and Cost 
Participation in the Experiential Tourism Project is available to existing and new GMCVB partners. *All partners must be in good standing with the GMCVB. Please note that GMCVB partner fees are paid separately from the experiential project fees.

The cost to participate in the Experiential Tourism Project is $3,500. Your investment covers a portion of the total cost for the experience development. The GMCVB will be underwriting the balance of the experience development and support for the overall program. Organizations selected to participate in the Project will be required to pay 50% of the fee ($1,750) at the start of the project and the remaining 50% by May 30, 2018.

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Project Details >
Application deadline has now passed.