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Milwaukee Hotels Working To Make The Most Of The Scaled-Down Democratic Convention

Darwin Brandis
Milwaukee hotels, like the Iron Horse Hotel located in Walker's Point, were expecting full capacity for the Democratic National Convention. Now, they hope to be at half capacity for the August convention.

Hotels in downtown Milwaukee are perhaps the most impacted by the loss of the more robust Democratic National Convention. Although they’ll still have some of that business come August, many of them, like the Iron Horse Hotel, are looking at just half of the reservations they were expecting. 

Bob Lambert, the general manager of the Iron Horse Hotel, says room capacity is not the only thing affected. The Iron Horse has many meeting spaces that they were preparing for the DNC. While they still expect these spaces to be used, they're in constant contact with their customers about how they plan to use the space during the scaled-back August convention.

“We still are working on a lot of those details about who actually is going to be using the space and in what function,” says Lambert.

>>Scaled-Down DNC Means Loss Of Business For Milwaukee's Struggling Hospitality Industry

The unknown has become the new normal for hotels as they work through the coronavirus pandemic. From mask requirements to increased cleaning measures, the Iron Horse is working to stay up-to-date and keep travelers safe.  

“There’s not a playbook,” he says. “We want to continue to be socially aware and responsible and provide the safest environment possible.”

Despite the problems, he stays optimistic. “We just continue day by day to look for the bright spots that are there for us to kind of latch onto. And just support our associates, support our community, and continue to just look for the little glimmers of, 'Hey, things are going to get better,' " says Lambert.

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect. Before then, she was a director and producer for Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm Chicago Public Radio.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.