Business Impacted By Conventions


There are many players involved in putting on a major convention. The costs and economic impact are spread over a wide variety of individuals, businesses and organizations:

  • VISIT Milwaukee, our city’s official “destination marketing organization (DMO),” recruits convention business and coordinates room block bookings, meeting sites, visitor services and more.
  • The Wisconsin Center District and its employees provide convention facilities, equipment and services including utilities, ushers, setup and cleaning crews and security.
  • A client, usually an association, corporation or other organization, “hosts” the event. Client  leadership and staff often make multiple advance visits to the convention city.
  • Commonly, a separate show management firm, hired by the client, runs the event, or just the tradeshow component of the convention.
  • Sometimes a meeting planner, hired by the client, coordinates meetings, seminars and workshops.
  • Sometimes a banquet planner, hired by the client, coordinates convention banquets, luncheons and other food and beverage functions.
  • A decorator firm, hired by the client, brings work crews to set up trade show exhibits, lay carpet and put up pipe and drape, signage, decorations, etc.
  • Assorted vendors supply a wide range of services and products to the event.  These may include printed materials,  flowers, linens, props, promotional items, additional security, signage, registration services, office equipment, transportation, entertainment, etc.
  • Individual presenters conduct meetings, lead classes or workshops, etc.
  • Exhibitors rent booth space from the association and purchase services from the Wisconsin Center District.  Exhibitor employees travel to staff booths and stay at area lodging.
  • An audio-visual company provides, sets up and operates projection equipment, PA systems, etc.  The Wisconsin Center District’s preferred, in-house AV firm is Conference Technologies, Inc.
  • A caterer prepares and serves food and beverages at the event. Levy Restaurants is the exclusive provider of all meals, breaks and concessions served in Wisconsin Center District facilities.
  • Food service suppliers provide the foods prepared by the caterer and served at the event.
  • “Third-party” vendors contract with the caterer to provide specialty foods and concessions. The Wisconsin Center District’s third-party vendor program helps disadvantaged, women and minority-owned firms develop experience and competitive standing.
  • Trucking firms deliver booth equipment for exhibitors, show equipment for the association or decorator and food for the caterer, among other materials.
  • Hotels rent blocks of rooms, additional meeting space and other accommodations to the event, to the client staff and to individual exhibitors and attendees.
  • Area restaurants serve almost all off-site attendee meals. Meal functions and receptions held at attractions and other off-site locations may be served by Levy or other catering firms.
  • Attendees and event organizers purchase other services including air travel, taxi service, car rentals, dry cleaning, entertainment, etc.