April 13. 2012 10:00AM - Last modified: April 13. 2012 10:44AM

Milwaukee is a finalist to host social media convention

Thanks to more than 8,000 proud Milwaukee fans, Visit Milwaukee has secured a spot as one of two final destinations in a bid for the 2012 Social Media Tourism Symposium (SoMeT) to be held Nov. 7-9.

The final step in the process to win the conference of 250 influential tourism professionals is the submission of a formal proposal.
Milwaukee and El Paso, Texas, are the two finalists.
The innovative selection process for the host destination, a "Sweet 16" tournament-style vote via social media, required the help of an entire city to get to the final step. For the past two weeks, Facebook and Twitter accounts have been buzzing as locals showed their support to help Visit Milwaukee bring the Social Media Tourism Symposium to the city. Other contestants included Cleveland, St. Louis and Kansas City, some of Milwaukee's biggest competitors for convention business.
"This was the first time that a social media voting process was used to determine a host city for a sizeable conference. It was a unique opportunity to show the Milwaukee community how we bring conventions and economic impact to the city," said Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of Visit Milwaukee. "Pride in Milwaukee won the day and was broadcast to an influential audience around the country. Visit Milwaukee was able to leverage its skills in social media and partnerships within the city to help get the word out, and we would like to thank all of those who helped us with their votes."
On Monday, April 16, the SoMeT organizers will reveal which destination between Milwaukee and El Paso is the "favorite" and which will be the "alternate," as well as specifics on the process of submitting the formal proposals.
The Social Media Tourism Symposium (SoMeT) is an annual convention attended by professionals from destination marketing organizations, hotels, resorts, attractions and other tourism-related entities. The meeting brings hundreds of tweeting travelers to its host city to share ideas and learn more about how social media is affecting promotion within the travel and tourism industry.
"It's a growing event, but right now they are estimating 250 attendees will be here. The noise that it's generated has been tremendous. There is tremendous amount of pride reflected in the comments. Milwaukee will be the subject of conversation for three days. It will be tremendous for our image," Upchurch told BizTimes.