April 4, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 79

Art of attraction

IRONWOOD — Big changes have taken place at the Western Upper Peninsula Convention and Visitors Bureau in Ironwood in the past year.

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe
THE WESTERN Upper Peninsula Convention and Visitors Bureau has moved. The office is at 405 N. Lake St. in Ironwood.

In November, the bureau moved to a new location, downsizing from the previous spot.

It has launched a state-of-the-art website, geared at attracting more visitors.

The new office is at 405 N. Lake St. in Ironwood.

Office manager Donna Kauppi, said, “We moved here in November, and things have been going great. We have a lot more exposure here, and we have a lot more foot traffic than we had before.”

According to WUPCVB board president Dick Swanson, the move was instigated by an initiative to become more efficient.

“We have limited funds for what we need to do, so we decided to downsize to become more efficient,” Swanson said. “Over the past year and a half, we have done strategic planning session on how to be more efficient and have better use of our dollars.”

The rent is cheaper and the office is more easily located.

“We’ve reduced our operating expenses and become more efficient, as well as becoming more of a service to travelers coming to this area,” Swanson said.

Technology upgrades

In conjunction with being more efficient, Swanson said that many of the board members have taken on extra responsibilities to help cut costs.

After former executive director Diana (Dee Gee) Pawlicki died in 2011, the bureau discussed different options to replace her, including hiring a new person, or splitting the responsibilities among board members.

“Right now, I am the board president and kind of the acting executive director,” Swanson said. “The direction we have gone is having board members picking up extra responsibilities, so we haven’t really needed an executive director position.”

The board did decide to hire a marketing manager to help display services the bureau has to offer.

The new website has “loads of information on it,” according to Swanson, and has helped the board analyze where things need to be improved.

“Before, we never did surveys or research on what was working or not working,” Swanson said. “Now, we’re analyzing everything. The website is great, featuring information on businesses and attractions for tourists. It can be seen on mobile devices and is incredibly interactive.

“We would love for people to see our website, to have more eyes on it and to give feedback. We would also love for people to stop in and see the new office.”

For more information, call the bureau at 906-932-4850, or visit explorewesternup.com.