Motorcoaches Return to Milwaukee

We have always loved working within the Group Travel industry, offering continuing education, travel and shopping opportunities for guests to see both Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. The travel industry was one of the first to come to a halt during the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. With safety of travelers in the forefront of conversations with our clients, we’ve begun to see motorcoaches back on the road again with passengers. Milwaukee Food & City Tours continues to be ready to showcase the many delicious neighborhoods and cities.

What does it look like to host a bus tour right now?

We’ve spoken with many tour operators and coordinators across the US that have asked, “What does it look like to host a bus tour during a pandemic?” Well to begin with, our tours remain delicious and fun!

Safety precautions have been top of mind while working with the motorcoach market for its return. Groups planning daytrips to Milwaukee and overnight trips to the state of Wisconsin have reduced capacities on their buses to better allow for social distancing, and have sought out motorcoach providers with sanitation plans in place and clean air filtration systems too. As we’ve been working with coordinators to craft itineraries to visit, we’ve been working extra hard to ensure that groups can continue to come to Milwaukee for a great time – even during a national crisis. We are:

  • Selecting attractions and restaurants that are large enough to allow space for social distancing
  • Requiring masks worn by all – from attendees to vendors and everyone in between – per state of Wisconsin mandate
  • Offering outdoor seating where available, including visiting Milwaukee’s traditional outdoor beer gardens
  • Individually plating meals and providing packaging samples rather than serving food items family-style or buffet-style
  • Providing plenty of time during shopping stops to allow for smaller numbers of guests to enter indoor locations

Take a look at a recent group tour visiting Milwaukee on an Ethnic Bakery Bus tour of the city that we created especially for them:

Milwaukee Food & City Tours welcomed back their first motorcoach group from Illinois in September 2020, six months after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Itinerary Planning

Although 2020 is not what any of us had imagined, we know your travelers still have a strong desire to interact and learn together. In this unique time of social distancing, it is important to set expectations of your attendees, discuss safety requirements early and often with both your vendors and travelers, and stick to the safety promises that you’ve communicated with your attendees.

Groups working with a receptive tour operator in Milwaukee like Milwaukee Food & City Tours love the ease of doing so. Select a tour theme for your group off of our menu, tell us your desired tour date and arrival time, and we can handle the rest. Whether we are providing a step-on guide in Milwaukee, arranging for overnight accommodations, and now knowing the best places to visit in Milwaukee during a pandemic – we’ve got you covered.

There is still time to schedule a Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus tour for your group this December where you’ll visit some of our favorite ethnic bakeries. Or looking ahead to 2021, you can schedule a classic Milwaukee Fish Fry Tour for the spring complete with visiting one of the city’s stunning Catholic churches, touring a brewery to celebrate the original beer brewers in town, and of course, stops for generously portioned classic Milwaukee fish fry along with all of the sides and fixings. Complete itineraries are viewable HERE

Guests on the Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus visit numerous ethnic bakeries for treats and shopping, in addition to a sit-down meal. New 2020 additions not shown in photo include the tour guide now being masked, in addition to guests receiving individually packaged samples.

Virtual Tour Options in Milwaukee

Designed for those groups not quite ready to hit the road, we’ve been hosting with great success educational workshops paired with gift boxes filled with sweet treats. As a matter of fact, only 30 minutes into our inaugural workshop, the coordinator emailed us to request setting up another session! 

Not only do your participants receive a shareable gift box, but one of the highlights for groups is to pair it with a live time, interactive learning experience that is beautifully paired to go along with the items received in the box. As the coordinator, you take the RSVP’s and give us a list of attendees with their home addresses. We’ll ship them directly a care package filled with delicious goodies. Some coordinators are choosing to schedule a location for everyone to pick up their boxes in person and then watch the presentation together. Others are having us ship the boxes directly to each attendee. We’re flexible as we continue to navigate this new world with you! 

Participants of the Bakery Bus in a Box receive treats from 4 of Milwaukee’s ethnic bakeries and 2 of Milwaukee’s chocolatiers. Workshops hosted in December will include extra holiday joy complete with a surprise Zoom visitor ready to spread some Christmas cheer. 

It’s Time To Get On The Bus

We pride ourselves on the positive financial impact in the community as a result of our tours, including to the many small businesses that we visit while touring. Destinations, iconic attractions, hidden gems and restaurants need us back on the road. The motorcoach industry is a key partner in this success, and they need our help too. According to the American Bus Association, nearly all of the 36,000 buses in the industry have sat idle; at first because of government-mandated travel restrictions and now because people do not feel comfortable yet traveling in groups. The motorcoach industry normally carries 600 million passengers a year – school groups, families, commuters, church groups, travelers who want an affordable and social way to travel. With a 71% decline of people traveling, the CERTS Act is a $10 billion lifeline that the motorcoach industry desperately needs. Without CERTS, the American Bus Association estimates that 40% of the country’s small, family-owned transportation companies will go out of business by the end of this year. The CERTS Act is currently stalled in Congress, and we advocate for its passage.

Theresa Nemetz
Owner, Milwaukee Food & City Tours