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Meeting the hotel room demand for the incoming Democratic National Convention

Posted: 6:25 PM, Jul 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-09 19:52:11-04
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The countdown is officially on until next summer’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. It’s expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors to the city who all need a place to stay.

From the beginning, there were concerns about the number of hotel rooms in the area because the DNC is a different beast when it comes to the hospitality industry.

However, local hotels are ready to take it on.

President of the Greater Milwaukee Hotel Lodging Association David Noel said rooms are completely booked as far south as Illinois, as far north as Kohler, and as far west as Madison.

“It encompasses a wide area, so that’s how it really helped us be able to get the convention here is you know not just downtown hotels, but there’s a lot of hotels opening up in Brookfield and Wauwatosa,” Noel said.

He’s also the General Manager of the new Cambria Hotel off of Plankinton Avenue, set to open mid-August. All 132 rooms at the modern hotel are reserved for the DNC.

“Preliminary we’ve met with DNC folks about our accessibility of our hotel for handicap. We’ve met with the police department and their preparations for security,” Noel said.

At Potawatomi, all 500 guest rooms and all their meeting spaces are dedicated to the DNC. This includes a brand new tower set to open next month.

CEO Rodney Ferguson said from now on, they’re preparing staff for the influx of people and increased activity.

“It’s pretty much going to be an all hands on deck from your management team down to your frontline staff will be trained to basically satisfy the needs of the guests,” Ferguson said. “There’s going to be a lot of parties, a lot of you know disarray going on and a lot of folks going in and out of the building on a regular basis, a lot of late dinners, a lot of early morning breakfasts.”

It’s important for them to showcase the best that Milwaukee has to offer.

“We have to set a good impression for those folks coming from across the country,” Ferguson said.

But there’s still a year to go, and both operations will have plenty of time to work out all the kinks.

“It’s definitely nice to get our feet under us before the big convention comes to town,” Noel said.

The next step is for each state to choose a hotel for their delegates. This should happen later this year.