Madison Meetings Insights


Destination: Development

We’re proud to share that last year’s meeting planner exit surveys showed 100% of respondents indicated that Madison met or exceeded expectations as an event destination. But we’re not ones to rest on our laurels. Read on to learn more about upcoming destination developments that are sure to be a plus for meeting planners:

Flight Patterns
Beginning in July, United Airlines will add an additional flight option from Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) to Newark. This news comes on the heels of adding American Airlines service between Madison and Charlotte in April. See all direct flights via DCRA.

New Venues
AC Hotel Madison, the first Marriott brand property downtown, will open its doors in early 2017. This design-led hotel effortlessly blends European soul with a Midwestern mindset, and includes amenities such as flexible meeting space, a rooftop bar and restaurant, and skyline views, too!

Recent Renovations
A complete property renovation is underway at Best Western PLUS Inn on the Park, which will soon be known under its original name: the Park Hotel. The renovation includes the entire exterior façade, sleeping rooms and 9th floor meeting room, famous for its stunning views of downtown Madison.

LEED-ing the Way
In the summer of 2007, Monona Terrace® Community & Convention Center became the first convention center in the nation to earn a LEED-EB Silver certified level. Late last year, the facility earned the esteemed LEED Gold Certification for sustainability efforts in the Operations & Management of its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed facility. Learn more about their efforts in environmental operations.


Rocking the Rankings

Madison, Wisconsin consistently ranks as a top community in which to live, work and play. But we’re often mentioned in publications as a premier meeting and convention destination. Read on to discover which lists we’ve recently topped—and what it means for meeting attendees.

25 Best U.S. Cities to Spend a Weekend, Thrillist
Snapshot: Wisconsin, United Airlines Dossier, A Hemispheres Supplement
13 Hottest American Cities for 2016, Business Insider
Madison Serves Up a large portion of F&B Excitement, Meetings Today
America’s Heartland: Conferences on Campus, Small Market Meetings
Minnesota & Wisconsin: Where Meetings Shine, Association News
6 College Towns Ready for Faith Conferences, Rejuvenate/Connect Faith

And, we cannot help but give a shout-out to the GMCVB’s Director of Convention & Event Services! Janine Wachter was recently recognized as the InBusiness Professional of the Week by Greater Madison’s premier business-to-business resource. Congratulations, Janine!

Read all rankings about Madison, Wisconsin.


Revenue Review

In a mid-sized city like Madison, Wisconsin, the discipline of revenue management is a daily task. We know our destination is desirable—but we work hard to keep it in that category when it comes to product and pricing, as well. Read on for a behind-the-scenes Q&A with some of our most respected revenue managers and directors of sales to gain insights on the strategies they use to make the most of Madison’s assets and amenities.

Q: How do you use data to inform your pricing for convention event room blocks? What special considerations, such as size of room blocks, play a part in the equation?

Ranette Maurer, Director of Sales, Hilton Madison Monona Terrace: Once we know the dates and number or rooms required, we look at past occupancy and ADR in our market for those dates over the last two years. We take into consideration special events like Badger football weekends or large, one-time groups that may skew the ADR. But our reality is that May-November are our peak months, so rates are higher in those seasons.

If a planner is asking for below-market or state/federal rates, the size of the block can help impact the rate. We also offer blended rates for shoulder dates. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our most expensive dates, but including an off-peak date of Mondays or Thursdays can help us leverage a blended rate.

Michelle Schultz, Regional Director of Sales, North Central Group: We evaluate our occupancy and ADR goals over the requested timeframe and the previous year’s performance—along with trends in the market—to determine what rate we are able to extend.  The size of the group may have an impact due to the displacement of other higher rated business at our properties, however, we may be able extend a group rate on a smaller block if we can accommodate it.

Q: Your hotel group has properties nationwide. How does the Madison market compare from a rate perspective?

Michelle Schultz, Regional Director of Sales, North Central Group: Our Madison market has displayed consistent year-over-year growth in rates. We compare closely to other cities nationwide because we are a capitol city and a university market. Sometimes, that dynamic means we have a lot of special event dates that make it challenging to offer deeper discounts, but having flexibility in meeting dates can lead to better rate options from North Central Group.

Q: What opportunities do you build in to assist planners in their roles?

Michelle Schultz, Regional Director of Sales, North Central Group: Our brand has “frequent stay programs” that allow meeting planners to accrue and use points. We also offer commissionable rates if possible.


If you’re thinking about bringing your next meeting to Madison and have additional questions about dates and rates, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact Murray Ryan, VP of Sales & Services at the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau at any time.