Silly Brookfield. You are NOT a tourist destination.

There have been hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in the last few years to convince innocent Web and magazine readers that the City of Brookfield, Wisconsin, is a tourist destination.

It’s not.

Now the Mayor has decided (this time meaning Dan Ertl has decided) that we need to be doing our own thing to attract tourists because the Brookfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, a joint effort of the city and town, isn’t satisfactory.

I agree! I’ve said so for a very long time. In fact, one of the first things I did after being appointed alderman was to find the documents that gave the CVB their money and power. I had the percentages calculated that we must spend on tourism. (It’s a state law that a certain amount of hotel room tax must be spent on recruiting tourism.) I was told I was silly for even thinking that change would ever happen.

And now it’s happening!

The plan is to offer a proposal for services to all of the other advertising types that want a piece of this pie. It doesn’t make sense. What Brookfield needs to do (gosh, I hope someone who votes is reading!) is take the minimum amount that is required to be spent and make a contract with the Greater Milwaukee CVB. Get all of Brookfield’s hotels listed on the convention information that goes out anyway. Be a part of that Web site. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel!

Sadly, I doubt we’ll be getting more for our money after they finish with the changes being proposed. The Brookfield CVB has threatened repeatedly over the years to sue if there was a change to the status quo. I think that’s why we saw Hector de la Mora with that all important final word in today’s article.

Someone created a monster.


  1. Why in the world would the city or town need a CVB anyhow? There is nothing here that would attract tourists other than hotels. I agree that they could just contract with Milwaukee, since we are one big metropolitan area, and save money. That probably makes way too much common sense!

  2. I thought that when the new high schools are finished that we were told that we will become a tourist destination or was that a permanent destination or was that an out of district student destination…

  3. Lucky Lady says:

    The Brookfield CVB touted things that aren’t even in Brookfield such as the Milwaukee County Zoo. The city has done such a great job building a tax base that there isn’t much left to draw out-of-towners here anymore. Other than the Elmbrook Historical Society’s Dousman Inn and the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center, every thing else can be found in any other city our size. I’m sure the Ruby Farm will face the same fate as all other charming sites Brookfield once had. How many chain restaurants and strip malls does it take to draw in visitors? I remember that retro diner that once stood along Blue Mound Road. That had character, so it’s gone. I wonder if we even need a Convention and Visitors Bureau here.

  4. If I wanted to see any places of historical importance in Brookfield, with the exception of the Dousman Inn, I’d have to time travel back 20 or so years ago- now they are either strip malls or office parks. Speaker hasn’t a clue as to what’s important in the long run for this community. I guess a short man is short sighted.

  5. BrkfldDad says:

    Isn’t the mission of a convention and visitors bureau to be a “marketing organization specializing in developing conventions, meetings, conferences and visitations to a city, county or region”? Okay, so maybe tourism is a visitation, but I would think the primary focus of this organization ought to be the ‘business’ end of this, i.e. conventions, etc… that bring in volumes of hotel guests, not just the occasional tourist. In that case, what the heck are they spending the money on? I can’t see one Brookfield hotel that qualifies to hold any substantial convention or conference. So, for that matter, I’d agree we’d be better off spending the money to market out hotel space to the conventions being held at the Midwest Center or other downtown venues. But alas, there are few and far between conventions that have a room demand that I think even comes close to exceeding the capacity of just the downtown hotels. And when you can stay at similar, or higher quality, hotels within walking distance, why in the world would you come out to any hotel out here, except maybe the Sheraton – but that’s a stretch.

    In regards to Speaker and historic buildings, with the exception of the Ruby barn, has he really destroyed any other historic landmarks or tourist destinations? I agree his focus on the future is myopic at best, but I think destruction of the heritage (destinations-wise) of this community were well taken care of by Bloomberg and others before he arrived. He’s just done a much better job of tearing the residential fabric of the community apart.

  6. Bdad, you reminded me that I feel this change has something to do with the fact that VK wants to develop a new hotel (and therefore a new interchange) at Bluemound and Calhoun. Nothing in Brookfield happens by coincidence when it comes to VK.

  7. Kathryn says:

    Well, somebody stays out here–business travelers, perhaps. I have sometimes had trouble finding a reasonably priced room for visitors.

    I wonder, could that hotel room tax for recruiting tourism be donated to an institution that benefits the greater community and is attractive to tourists–parks, the performing arts council, MAM? There is a lot of room outside the box on this one.

  8. A lot of the room tax already goes to the general fund which is spent everywhere. These same hotels take a lot of police time – often for prostitution.

    I’ll see if I still have my documents from a few years ago in a day or two.

  9. With my compliments, and thanks for the inspiration:


  10. Darnit… didn’t show the image.

    Here’s the link


  11. Yep, I’ll post that and be sure to share the love.