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Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting Highlights ‘Waves of Change’

The organization provided a sneak peek at an upcoming major tourism advertising campaign to drive additional visitors to the city.

By Todd R. Berger

2023-03-14 Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting Mayor Jacob Frey Coppersmith Photography
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks to attendees at the Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting in mid-March. CREDIT Coppersmith Photography

Meet Minneapolis held its 2023 Annual Meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) on March 14, highlighting the work the convention and visitors association is doing to stimulate an inclusive recovery for the city’s tourism and hospitality industry while also telling the community’s rich and diverse story.

Through the meeting theme of “Make Waves. Create Change. In Minneapolis.,” the organization noted successes in 2022, presented an insider’s look at the future of travel and tourism, provided information on the Connect Marketplace event coming to Minneapolis in August, and unveiled plans for an upcoming major tourism advertising campaign.

In 2022, Meet Minneapolis brought more than 530 events to the Minneapolis region, generating significant revenue and helping support nearly 30,000 tourism and hospitality workers.

Meet Minneapolis 2022 Key Facts

  • Group Room Nights: 491,500-plus nights
    • Up 30% compared to 2021
    • For reference, in 2019, group room nights booked by Meet Minneapolis were 556,700.
  • MCC Revenue: $16.2 million
    • Up 123% compared to 2021
    • For reference, in 2019 (the year Minneapolis hosted the NCAA Men’s Final Four), MCC revenue was $21.1 million.
  • Lodging Tax Revenue: $8.7 million
    • Up 148% compared to 2021
    • For reference, in 2019, lodging tax revenue generated was $8.3 million.

“We’re not yet back to 2019 levels, and continued headwinds such as the slow return of business travel have provided challenges, but we see a lot of positive momentum in Minneapolis,” says Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant. “I’m encouraged that we are on the road to recovery and excited as we continue the important work to impact our community in critical, meaningful, and unexpected ways—from the millions of dollars in additional tax revenue that’s generated by visitor spending, to supporting tourism and hospitality workers in Minneapolis.”

Major Meetings Industry Event Coming to Minneapolis

This August, Minneapolis will host a major event in the meetings industry, Connect Marketplace. It has the potential to create some big waves of future success for meetings and events in Minneapolis. From August 22 to 24, more than 1,000 meeting and event planners will gather at the MCC to meet one-on-one with key decision-makers, hear from industry experts, network with peers, discover event solutions, and learn more about what Minneapolis has to offer as a meeting and event destination.

Coming Soon: Major Tourism Advertising Campaign

During the meeting, Meet Minneapolis provided a sneak peek at a new tourism campaign that will be released to the public on March 27. The campaign, created in partnership with the Minneapolis-based agency Periscope, will address misperceptions about Minneapolis, and boldly tell the city’s story to people who used to travel to Minneapolis often—as well as those who are new to the destination—by highlighting the amazing things that the city has to offer. More details on the campaign will be released on March 27.

More 2022 Highlights

  • Despite challenges faced from the COVID-19 omicron variant at the beginning of the year, MCC—the foundation of the city’s tourism and hospitality industry—hosted more than 480,000 people at nearly 220 meetings, conventions, trade shows, and sporting events.
  • Meet Minneapolis launched the “Make Waves. Create Change. In Minneapolis.” sales and marketing initiative to encourage meeting planners who have a passion for embracing and creating change to make Minneapolis their destination of choice for their meeting or event.
  • In May, Meet Minneapolis hired Ka Vang as the organization’s first vice president of equity, diversity, inclusion and access (EDIA). Since then, Meet Minneapolis has unveiled several EDIA initiatives, including a BIPOC/multicultural media directory and a diverse supplier guide. In addition, Meet Minneapolis staff is participating in ongoing equity training.
  • Meet Minneapolis added to its dedicated website to showcase the city’s seven designated Cultural Districts. In addition to unique first-person perspectives on each cultural district, there are now 28 videos—created in partnership with Free Truth Media—that help to bring the districts to life.
  • Minneapolis.org set new website visitor records: More than 2.7 million people visited the Meet Minneapolis website in 2022, to learn more on where to visit, eat, drink, shop, and be entertained in the city, resulting in 4.6 million page views and over 930,000 outbound clicks to partner websites.
  • Meet Minneapolis social media channels also set a record and generated nearly 30.1 million total impressions in 2022 (compared to 21.5 million in 2021).

Awards and Board of Directors

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Bruce Karstadt, American Swedish Institute president and CEO, for leading the cultural institute for more than 30 years.
  • Innovation in Tourism Award: Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis for opening the city’s first five-star hotel in the heart of downtown, thereby expanding the visitor base, benefitting the city’s tourism and hospitality industry, and enhancing the value of the community.
  • President’s Award: Mark Nerenhausen, Hennepin Theatre Trust president and CEO, for leading an organization that brings more than a half million visitors to Minneapolis each year, ensuring that the city has a vibrant and art-filled downtown.
  • Excellence in Meetings, Events & Conventions Award: 2022 Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America, which brought more than 10,000 craft brewers to the MCC in May 2022.
  • 2022 Hospitality Hero award winners:

    • Martha Barnes, laundry attendant (Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown)
    • William Blackwell, director of guest services (The Marquette Hotel)
    • Jacob McKee, front office manager (Hampton Inn & Suites Minneapolis)
    • Jaymin Jansen, guest service captain (Towne Park/W Minneapolis–The Foshay)
  • New officers of the Meet Minneapolis Board of Directors:
    • Chair: Lester Bagley (Minnesota Vikings)
    • Vice Chair: Robert Lilligren (Native American Community Development Institute)
    • Secretary/Treasurer: Christy Loy (W Minneapolis–The Foshay)

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