About Visit Lake County
Visit Lake County (Lake County, Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau) is the social destination marketing organization and champion of tourism for Lake County, Illinois. Our organization is comprised of municipalities (13 community partners plus Lake County), along with 200 industry partners including hotels, attractions, and hospitality-related industries throughout, all who recognize the powerful economic impact of tourism.
Visit Lake County embraces diversity with respect to all individuals. This commitment and mindset are the foundation put in place every day as we provide the highest-quality travel resources and visitors experiences which enhance the well-being of our communities and support the livelihoods of our neighbors.
Our marketing initiatives and branding enhance the public image of Lake County as a dynamic place to live, work and visit. We encourage residents and visitors to support local businesses, the foundation of our hometowns and Lake County communities.
Visit Lake County Staff
The organization employs a sta of eight professionals with years of experience in tourism, marketing and sales. We also have a 17-member Visit Lake County Board of Directors representing community partners, hotels and attractions from across the county.
Visit Lake County Board of Directors
- David Motley, Chair, City of Waukegan
- Randy Ebertowski, Vice-Chair, Gurnee Mills
- John Krajnak, Treasurer, Six Flags Great America
- Sonolito Bronson, Secretary, City of Zion
- Cheryl Ross, Past Chair, Village of Gurnee
- Maureen Riedy, VLC President
- Brad Burke, Village of Lincolnshire
- Carissa Casbon, Lake County Board
- Jim Keim, Village of Antioch
- Ray Keller, Village of Lake Zurich
- Greg Koeppen, Lake County Farm Bureau/Village of Grayslake
- Brad Lajoie, Lincolnshire Marriott Resort
- Andrew Lichterman, Village of Deerfield
- Nadine Miracle, Great Wolf Lodge Illinois
- Jonathan Petrillo, Village of Vernon Hills
- Heather Rowe, Village of Libertyville
- Kerston Russell, Village of Mundelein
Partnerships / Funding
Visit Lake County is funded through state and local hotel tax receipts and grants. We receive an annual grant from DCEO/Illinois Oce of Tourism, which we are required to match though local sources. Match sources include industry partner membership dues, community partnerships and co-op advertising projects. Our community partnerships include Antioch, Deerfield, Fox Lake, Grayslake, Gurnee, Lake County, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Historic Downtown Long Grove, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Waukegan and Zion
Our Target Markets
- Lake County residents
- Leisure travelers from Chicagoland and beyond
- Amateur sports tournaments and enthusiasts
- Family and military reunions
- Tour groups (large and small)
- Associations, corporate meetings and retreats
- Hobby groups and service organizations
- Special events and weddings
- Road-trippers, day-trippers, overnighters
Marketing Goals and Strategies
- Nurture Lake County’s brand as a regional tourism destination.
- Develop advertising and marketing strategies to boost awareness of Lake County as a tourism destination and increase resident and visitor spending in the County.
- Provide trip planning resources though our website and visitors guide on the entertainment and outdoor recreational opportunities in the county, and encourage visitors to stay overnight.
- Leverage digital marketing and public relations to promote events and attractions and reach new audiences through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms.
- Continue to enhance our integrated and multichannel marketing efforts including enhancements to our website, increasing our subscriber and contacts database for our e-news, as well as native and location-based / geotargeted campaigns.
- Serve as the content curator for the region by maintaining a comprehensive calendar of events on our website for visitors and residents, and provide events for the Illinois Oce of Tourism’s website.
- Boost our group sales bookings with hotels and other venues through client relationship development and management.
- Support destination-enhancing development and events that will attract residents, visitors, and guests, promote a high-quality of life, enjoyment and well-being, and help support our neighbors and local economies.
- Continually evaluate our progress and results, identify opportunities, promote the many unique assets of Lake County, and spur new businesses and economic development.
- Lake County Visitors Guide or Map Guide – printed annually and distributed at our kiosk at the Lake Forest Tollway Oasis, state visitor welcome centers, hotels and other outlets along the I-90 Interstate, Amtrak in downtown Chicago, Naval Station Great Lakes, plus downloadable on our website.
- Online – VisitLakeCounty.org, our main website, along with BoatingLakeCounty.com, a portal for water recreational activities from boating to beaches and fishing. We also work and partner our events and attractions with the Illinois Oce of Tourism website, enjoyillinois.com.
- Social Media – We have a rich and robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. We most recently joined Tik Tok, for short-form videos. We great bloggers and curate content daily.
- Campaign: Lake County Restaurant Week – held annually in early March to shine the spotlight on the many dining experiences available throughout the county.
- Campaign: Lake County Libation Trail – – ongoing promotion to showcase craft breweries, wineries and distilleries throughout Lake County. Partners featured on a mobile check-in platform, a map guide and during Lake County Libation Month.
Economic Impact of Tourism in Lake County
Lake County ranks as one of the top three counties in Illinois for tourism expenditures, behind Cook County and DuPage County. According to data provided by the Illinois Oce of Tourism and the US Travel Association, tourism expenditures in Lake County topped $1.5 billion in 2019, resulting in over 11,000 jobs, $34.5 million in local tax receipts and $100.4 million in state taxes.
Visit Lake County is honored to be awarded accreditation by Destinations International, representing over 1,000 destination marketing organizations throughout the county, and thousands more throughout the country and world. The accreditation requires best practices and compliance with 95 mandatory standards of excellence including operational and financial procedures, governance, customer service, and sales and marketing key performance metrics.