• Meet Minneapolis Announces its Hospitality Awards

    POSTED March 24, 2017

Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association, revealed the winners of its annual awards at the 2017 Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting on March 2 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than 530 partners, elected officials and other guests attended the event. Meet Minneapolis highlighted a milestone year for hospitality in Minneapolis and unveiled the city’s first-ever tourism master plan, Destination Transformation 2030.

For the first time, Meet Minneapolis booked more than 600,000 future hotel room nights, including both group and tourism stays. The city achieved a record number of hospitality jobs, with 33,468 people working in the industry in Minneapolis. These employees make up 10 percent of the total jobs citywide. Meet Minneapolis hosted 646 events in 2016; the Minneapolis Convention Center welcomed 749,760 attendees.

The city’s first-ever tourism master plan comes after a year of planning. During 2016, the Meet Minneapolis team compiled research, engaging 3,000-plus participants that included meeting planners visitors, travel writers, residents and stakeholders. You can view the plan at minneapolis.org/DT2030.

 “We had a very successful 2016,” says Melvin Tennant, president and CEO, Meet Minneapolis. “With our city going through a major transformation—and with the mega events coming our way—now is the time to leverage our success to make sure we make longer-term gains in tourism. That’s why we’re launching Destination Transformation 2030, to give us a road map to the future of tourism in Minneapolis. And when we make the city a better destination for visitors, we make it a better place for all of us who live here, too.”


 At its annual meeting, Meet Minneapolis announced its award recipients and thanked them for their outstanding efforts within the Minneapolis hospitality industry:

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Vikings, won the Innovation in Tourism Award for their roles in helping U.S. Bank Stadium become a reality. 

 The Excellence in Meetings, Events & Conventions Award was awarded to Eckankar, which has held its Eck Worldwide Seminar at the Minneapolis Convention Center for many years and has been a strong partner of Meet Minneapolis and the convention center.

Miller, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, received the President’s Award. The park has been recognized as being the No. 1 park system in the United States four years in a row from Park Score. Miller was also critical to the successful effort with Meet Minneapoli’ of bringing an international urban park conference to the city.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Steve Schuster, former executive chef and culinary director for Kelber Catering, who retired last year. Kelber is the exclusive caterer for the Minneapolis Convention Center, and he played a key role in serving visitors during his 27 years with the organization.


Once per quarter, Meet Minneapolis names a hospitality industry professional as a Hospitality Hero. Previously honored for 2016 were Bernard Asante, M-Club attendant, Minneapolis Marriott City Center; Kefle Callender, van driver, DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis Park Place; and Samson Desta, room service attendant, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The Minneapolis CVB announced the fourth quarter 2016 recipient at the annual meeting, recognizing Metro Transit Police for keeping  visitors and locals safe as they travel via our public transit system. 

Jumpstarting tourism in cities across the country will be more complicated than simply opening doors again – especially in cities with large populations like Chicago. However, working together proves more effective, and in Chicago, more than 250 businesses are banding together to join Choose Chicago’s new initiative, Tourism & Hospitality Forward. It bolsters a safe reopening that encourages tourism as well as meetings and events in


The new reality for in-person meetings and events is coming into focus. While gatherings were cancelled or went virtual during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, states are now slowly beginning to reopen and move toward a return to in-person gatherings. Associated Luxury Hotels International, or ALHI, published safety recommendations for planners, hotels, airlines and more, as society begins to formulate safety guidelines for travel, tourism, meetings and events.  


The U.S. Travel Association has called the current moment the “Great Travel Depression,” in light of the economic effects resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.