Travel Wisconsin Wins Two Esto Mercury Awards For “Frank Lloyd Wright Trail” Campaign

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Tourism took home the tourism industry’s highest national honor during the annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference in Phoenix, Ariz. on August 14. The Department received the Mercury Award for “Best Public Relations Campaign” for efforts to raise the profile of the world’s first Frank Lloyd Wright Trail and boost attendance at nine Wright-designed buildings along the 200-mile self-guided motor route.

Wisconsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright Trail was designated by the state legislature in 2016 and signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. The trail connects some of Wright’s most impressive architectural works in southern Wisconsin. To publicize the new trail, Travel Wisconsin launched a public relations campaign anchored in media relations, special events, social media and key stakeholder collaborations.

Outreach efforts generated 547 statewide, regional, national and international articles, which resulted in 1.1 billion impressions and $50 million in earned media value. All Frank Lloyd Wright Trail sites reported an increase in visitors.

“The Mercury Award is the tourism industry’s top accolade. We are thrilled to be honored among our peers for an award of this caliber,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “I am so proud of our team and their work to create a campaign that increased awareness of Wright’s work in his native state of Wisconsin and grow tourism on and around the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail.”

The Department’s Frank Lloyd Wright Trail campaign was also recognized with a Mercury Award in the “People’s Choice” category. The brand-new category allowed U.S. Travel DMO and state tourism office members, as well as ESTO delegates to vote on their favorite overall Mercury Award entry.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trail campaign was the Department’s most successful PR campaign ever and has received numerous national awards, including a PRSA Silver Anvil Award, HSMAI Adrian Award, a Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Award and a PRSA Paragon Award of Excellence.

About the Esto Mercury Awards
The Mercury Awards are given to state tourism offices by the National Council of State Tourism Directors (NCSTD). The awards recognize members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state and territory destination marketing and promotion; and inspire, through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative and exciting marketing and promotional programs. The Mercury Awards are open to all U.S. state and territory tourism offices that are members of the U.S. Travel Association.

About ESTO
ESTO is the premier national forum bringing together travel destination professionals from the local, state, and regional levels to share expertise, participate in educational activities, and leave with tools, tips and information to help better market and grow their destinations.

About Wisconsin Department of Tourism
The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at