Middleton Tourism Commission: Gloomy 2012? Middleton tourism contest lightens the mood with fun, travel

Contact: Alan Hamari, Pilch & Barnet, (608) 242-8895

Cash Prize, 12 Free Getaways Highlight Statewide ‘Shift Your Gears’ Contest

MIDDLETON, Wis. (March 1, 2012) – Judging by the news these days, 2012 is set to be one major bummer. But for tourism marketers here and across the state, the Shift Your Gears Contest—a new promotion that highlights off-the-beaten-path escapes in Wisconsin—may be just what the doctor ordered.

“There’s so much research out there about the benefits that vacations provide,” said Val Steel, Director of Tourism at the Middleton Tourism Commission. “The Shift Your Gears Contest is our way of inviting folks to take time away from the news about politics and the economy to relax and start fresh with a great trip.”

The Shift Your Gears Contest, which starts March 1, is unique because it joins travel planning with voting. Sponsored in part by the Middleton Tourism Commission (in conjunction with 11 other destinations across Wisconsin), the Shift Your Gears Contest will reward entrants with 12 weekend getaways worth at least $250 each, and a grand prize of $500. The catch? Contestants will have to rally the vote to win.

“2012 is going to be a fun, crazy year,” Steel said. “With the election coming on, we really felt like we should tap into the democratic spirit and let the voters, including your friends and family, have a say in who wins.”

To enter, contestants will design a trip to one of the 12 participating destinations. The more creative the trip, the more likely a plan will move on to the voting round. Trip plans earning the most votes will win a weekend getaway worth at least $250, and the grand prize winner will also get $500 spending cash for their journey.

“I’m really excited to see people turn out the vote,” Steel said. “Social media has changed the way we reach travelers. This contest will let the contestants share their trip plans with everybody and hopefully remind folks what it is that makes trip planning and traveling so much fun.”

With more than a dozen prizes up for grabs, contest organizers say creativity will ultimately be rewarded. Trip plans that stand out—because of a fun name or cool photo—will be at a distinct advantage. Madison-based destination marketing firm Pilch & Barnet designed the Shift Your Gears Contest, and the popular Wisconsin travel website http://www.witravelbestbets.com is hosting the promotion.

To learn more about Middleton and to enter the contest, go to http://www.shiftgearswi.com or visit Middleton’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MiddletonWI.