MILWAUKEE—The Hilton Milwaukee City Center is set to serve as the Democratic National Convention headquarters in 2020. The team found out the good news via the media.
“We learned Milwaukee won the bid to host the DNC through breaking news—like the rest of the city did. We were thrilled,” said Linda Price-Topp, VP of sales, Marcus Hotels & Resorts.
So, what does it take to be a National Convention headquarters hotel? Price-Topp explained that there were certain requirements that had to be met in order to achieve this status.
“Size and location are very important for the headquarters hotel. Once those requirements were met, the committee looked at the capability of the hotel’s service acumen and our foundational management team,” she said.
The hotel team is no stranger to high-security and high-profile organizations. Price-Topp proudly touts Hilton Milwaukee’s reputation of being a great host to many complicated and large conventions, including the National Governors Association, many global and international organizations such as the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis and the International City County Management Association.
“National associations are our sweet spot with the likes of ARINC Industry Activities, National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators and American Society for Quality International Society all having held events at the Hilton,” she said. “That helped show the committee that we are capable hosts. This is because of the sophistication of our team, the elegance of our historic property, and the reliable distinguished service we provide at every turn.”
As hoteliers committed to the guest experience, this kind of work is their every day.
“Whether we’re welcoming a family for a weekend, or a convention group, we work to make sure every detail exceeds expectations,” she said. “Even thinking about food and beverage, we will have a lot of people to feed—a full house at the Hilton represents about 1,500 guests. Our culinary team has decades of experience and is prepared to provide the best quality food and service whether we’re serving lunch in our ballroom or dinner at one of our restaurants, including the Milwaukee ChopHouse or Miller Time Pub.”
Hilton Milwaukee City Center’s newest team member is Director of Events Christine Lunz, who will oversee all events at the hotel, including assisting the Hilton’s events team with the DNC.
“I am new to this property, but not new to managing the mechanics of a large event. It’s never about one individual’s contribution to an event’s success but more about the united effort of all of our departments collaboratively coming together,” said Lunz. “The event department is the gatekeeper of information for operations—and especially for the DNC, messaging effectively will be key. Clear, concise communication is always a core competency for success of all functions, as well as managing expectations. Above all though, I think it is most important to prioritize warm, heartfelt hospitality and a willing spirit to serve others.”
For such a large-scale event, security is also top of mind. The property has and will continue to work with local and federal law enforcement on training associates in order to be well prepared for the influx of people within the hotel and surrounding areas.
“We work very hard every day to keep all of our associates and guests safe. I see this as a continuation of our normal duties—just put on a national stage,” said Price-Topp. “In addition, we will be working very closely with any VIPs to accommodate any requests they may have.”
For a fun take on a hotel stay, the Hilton Milwaukee City Center is home to the city’s only Canine Concierge.
“Our wonderful canine concierge, Millie, will be working alongside her owner and the Hilton’s human concierge, Rusty, to greet DNC visitors to the hotel, mingle and take photos with guests (should they want them) and make an appearance at any meeting requested,” said Price-Topp. “She is a trained and professional employee of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, and we are proud to have her welcome the DNC.”