News and Updates

April 05, 2024 News

Delegates for RNC have their hotel assignments, marking 'major milestone' for planning of convention

As Milwaukee prepares to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, a major milestone has been reached --sleeping arrangements.

Delegates from 50 states and six territories were informed last week of their hotel assignments, businesses participating in a virtual information session on Thursday were told.

"The starting gun just fired," said Reince Priebus, chairman of MKE 2024 Host Committee.

Delegations can now start making plans to indulge in Wisconsin bars, restaurants, hospitality, entertainment and other businesses, he said.

"You're going to have about 50,000 – I'd call it full-time guests – people who are staying here," said Priebus, who served as chairman of the Wisconsin delegation in previous conventions.

"If you think about it, if you're chairman of one delegation... we're not just going to the Fiserv Forum at night and going to the show that you watch on TV and going back to the hotel," he said.

"What I had to do as chairman of one delegation is I had to build out my entire week's activities."

No details of hotel assignments provided

Participants in Thursday's session were not told which delegation is staying at which hotel. The convention is scheduled for July 15-18 in Milwaukee at Fiserv Forum. 

Priebus said delegates will now start planning meals, activities and social gatherings for each day during the convention.

"Imagine you got 56 of these delegations and each of them have their own set of things that they need to do," Priebus said.

Anne Hathaway, chairwoman of Committee On Arrangements for the Republican National Committee, said the committee is working the delegations to make the experience smooth "and spur additional visits."

"There's not a one-size-fits-all," Hathaway said. "We look at the hotels, we look at the community and we try to make sure that we fit the pieces together so that each state and territory can deliver a first class, a very special week for their delegations."

Hathaway said having the hotel designations settled at this point is "a huge milestone for us. It wasn't done in 2016 until May."

"We are at least four weeks ahead of schedule," Hathaway said. "Things will start to come together and contracts will begin to be signed."

Committee looking at sites for 'unique events'

Hathaway added the committee has made 179 connections for "unique events." The committee has toured 121 venues and completed 354 site tours.

Milwaukee-area businesses hoping to capitalize on the convention submitted questions in advance to be answered by Hathaway and Priebus. 

"Our team has connected our hotel partners with the delegation points of contacts, so we're solidifying what their plans are for that week," Hathaway said. "As I mentioned, there's no 'one model.' Every state and territory does it differently."

Nearly 1,000 area businesses have signed up for the MKE 2024 Host Committee’s vendor directory.  

With the convention three months away, businesses have been anxious to receive more direction on how to handle the influx of visitors to the area

Businesses have long had the convention marked on their calendars since it was announced last year.  

Traffic to and from the convention is expected to be congested, and the committee expects to use roughly 400 extra buses and shuttles to ferry delegates and other visitors around the area.  

The RNC has tasked Transportation Management Services to source as many local and regional transportation companies as possible for the event. So far, the RNC said it has one third of the buses from Wisconsin companies.  

Security zone details will come during the summer

Security around Fiserv Forum is going to be tight during the convention with some surrounding businesses likely to be within the security zone

Hathaway said there is no timeline for the specific details of the security zone.

"I'll be candid, I don't think it will be as timely as you all would like it because this is a situation where we're not going to tell the bad guys and give them enough time to figure out how to be disruptors," Hathaway said, adding that specific details may be released "close to the end of June, maybe early July."

Hathaway said the committee is working with Milwaukee Police Department, the mayor's office, and Secret Service to make the convention secure.

Hathaway said the Secret Service will reach out to businesses located within the security perimeter.

"They usually go door-to-door to meet one-on-one with different businesses in order to work through a plan with each (business) to be able to maintain their business operating and ensure that we limit the disruption as much as possible," Hathaway said.

The Secret Service also plans to host briefings for businesses.

Hathaway said the briefings "are really, really important for those that might be affected."

"There's going to be a lot of questions with regards to coming and going, with regard to parking," Hathaway said. "And the Secret Service will be happy to answer them and try to make things as clear as possible during those briefings."

On road closures in downtown Milwaukee, Priebus said "there will be some disruption, for sure."

"The goal is to be as least disruptive as possible and also as safe as possible. It's a national security special event, Secret Service takes over control," Priebus said. "There's positives and negatives to all of this as far as where you sit inside, outside (the perimeter) and all the people that are coming and going."