Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce dba VISIT Lake Geneva
The Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce, now dba VISIT Lake Geneva, was formed on March 14, 1944 and is a non-profit organization that exists to encourage, stimulate and promote economic development, expansion and diversification. The Chamber acts as the united voice on behalf of the business community within the Geneva Lake area.
The business and affairs of the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce are managed entirely by a Board of Directors who serve without pay. The board members are nominated from the membership and represent business leaders from the various industry segments of the local economy.
The primary funding source for the Chamber of Commerce is partnership fees. Membership in the organization has grown steadily to the current level of 430 members.
The Chamber of Commerce has successfully introduced and fostered several organizations including the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District, Lake Geneva Economic Development Corporation, and the Lake Geneva Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In 1980, the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce and the Hotel/Motel Association merged. Over time, the Hotel/Motel Association function evolved into the Lake Geneva Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) which is still a primary function of the Chamber of Commerce today. The budget for the CVB comes primarily from room tax that is collected by the lodging facilities and then distributed to the Chamber via participating municipalities. The CVB represents the Town of Lyons, City of Lake Geneva, and the Village of Fontana. The Lake Lawn Resort (in Delavan) contributes a percentage of the room tax they generate as does the Geneva National Resort (Town of Geneva) in lieu of the room taxes that would normally be received from the municipality.
In May of 2013, the Executive Director for the Chamber, George Hennerly, retired after 33 years in the leadership position. Darien Schaefer was hired in late November of 2013 as the new President/CEO for the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. The organization is focused on positioning itself and the entire destination for future growth and is investing in new marketing tools as well as operational concerns and new/upgraded facilities.
On January 1, 2016, the Board of Directors for the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and the Lake Geneva Area Convention & Visitors Bureau merged to form one board. The by-laws were updated and a new organizational name was adopted as a DBA: VISIT Lake Geneva. On July 1, 2016, VISIT Lake Geneva introduced Partnership Tiers to replace the outdated membership dues structure. Members are now Partners and each one can choose the Partnership Tier that best matches its budget and business plan. By integrating new technology, a new website, and best practices; VISIT Lake Geneva has created a strong foundation to increase the return on investment for its Partners and the municipalities it represents.