Jeff recently shared an article from the organization’s trade journal entitled, “In the US “Convention Centers Are Not Designed to Make a Profit” – A Contrarian View”. I encourage you to read it at your leisure.
In case you're wondering why we might be sharing such insider baseball information, this article outlines some of the hazards of a dysfunctional relationship between a convention center and its local destination marketing organization (DMO). This type of relationship can be detrimental to city’s success. Fortunately, we are ahead of the curve on DMO-convention center relationships.
A number of years ago, several of our predecessors at the MCC and Meet Minneapolis had the wisdom and courage to form an unprecedented partnership that placed Meet Minneapolis sales staff in the MCC as opposed to the building's own staff. The partnership has continued to evolve and Meet Minneapolis later took on the profit and loss responsibility for MCC revenue, another unprecedented move.
Meet Minneapolis staff in the MCC having responsibility for all sales, including the revenue, has been one the pillars of our city's success as a convention destination. In short, convention centers are responsible for profitability as a stand-alone business unit. DMOs are responsible for room night generation, which from time to time requires pricing concessions at the convention center as a condition of sale. It’s easy to see how these goals could often be on a head-on collision course. In short, Meet Minneapolis being responsible for both room night production and MCC revenue provides the balanced attention to measures that are often in conflict with each other.
Over the years, we have heard from other cities that have adversarial relationships between the convention center and DMO. Because of preexisting relationships and the possibility of some entity gaining or losing perceived turf at the expense of another, most cities don’t take this strategic step.
Jeff Johnson summarized the reasons for this move well: “Meet Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Convention Center have a long-standing relationship that continues to provide a competitive advantage to our hospitality community. Meet Minneapolis sales staff are ‘embedded’ into the convention center’s staff, which allows for great collaboration between the sales process and the operation of delivering the event’s needs. Not only does the client benefit from this relationship, but our hospitality community benefits through a more streamlined process that leads to repeat business.”