Name: Julie Kronlage
Title: Vice President of Sales
Organization: Travel Dubuque
Location: Dubuque, Iowa
Birthplace: Manchester, Iowa
Education: B.A. in public relations and marketing, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa; Hospitality and Tourism Management Certificate, Florida Atlantic University
Career History: Assistant director, Dyersville, Iowa, Area Chamber of Commerce, 2003-2008; various sales positions at Travel Dubuque since 2008
Julie Kronlage grew up on a farm in Iowa, where she and her three siblings helped their parents raise dairy cows, beef cattle and crops such as corn. Although a Midwestern farming town isn’t a typical tourist destination, Dyersville, Iowa is the exception. It was the filming site of the iconic 1989 baseball film “Field of Dreams,” and an estimated 1 million tourists have flocked there since. For someone who spent their formative years on a family farm in the rural U.S., Kronlage has long been surrounded by sightseers.
She attended college about an hour away at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in public relations and marketing. Kronlage moved closer to home, taking a position as the assistant director for the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce.
“In the early 2000s, we were still seeing about 70,000 people a year coming to visit,” said Kronlage. “For a small community, that at the time only had about 4,200 residents, Dyersville has a lot of notoriety to it. I fell in love with the travel industry and helping promote the community. I’d jump on motorcoaches and welcome people to Dyersville and show them around. The key thing is that what I love to do is have fun.”
Tourism was a natural fit for Kronlage’s bubbly and outgoing personality. When Keith Ray, the economic development director with whom Kronlage worked in Dyersville, took a position as the director of sales at the Dubuque Convention and Visitor’s Bureau just 30 minutes away, he encouraged her to apply for a sales manager position that had recently opened.
“I came here in July of 2008 and had the opportunity to grow from sales manager to director of sales, and I now serve as vice president of sales,” said Kronlage.
Growing up just a half hour from Dubuque, she was already familiar with the destination, so she was a natural fit for the position.
Kronlage’s move coincided with several large revitalization projects the city was undergoing.
“In 2003 was when Dubuque started to have a resurgence: The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium opened. So did the Grand River Center and the Grand Harbor Resort,” she said. “It was a really up-and-coming downtown area. People were excited and wanted to be here.” Dubuque’s improvement projects have continued, from the town’s Main Street and beyond. Dubuque is centrally located in the upper Midwest, making it a natural meeting option for people from Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Kronlage is quick to mention that for meeting attendees and their guests, the CVB goes above and beyond to help plan not only for their conference needs but also for the time spent after hours.
“We’ll make all the arrangements for a tour, including meals and transportation,” she said. “We’re your local experts, right? We know our community, so we can tell you where the best supper clubs are in town or where to go if you need to do some shopping.”
The region is also home to several colleges, so it hosts many class reunions and is a popular destination for family vacations. Kronlage helps take the stress out of meeting planning for groups and conferences so they can fully enjoy their time in Dubuque.
Tips from Julie Kronlage
• Big-city charm is in smaller communities. Connecting with the CVB in the community will shine light on the many free tools available to ensure the success of your meeting or event.
• Create memories and lots of laughs. Keep your guests smiling and laughing.
• Every community has hospitality cheerleaders. Incorporate them into your registration table, at lunch to welcome guests to their seats.