So, in our role as destination marketers as well as managers and molders, we must ask some tough questions, including:
What tier of destination do we want to be?
Our current set of primary convention competitors includes:
- Kansas City
- St. Louis
This is an increasingly difficult set of cities with which we compete.
Do we have the assets that will keep us competitive with the group of cities we lose the most business to?
Several of the cities listed above have embarked upon major tourism asset expansion including Louisville, which opened a transformed convention center last year and new headquarter hotel. Kansas City is in the midst of completing a major convention hotel project. Denver and Indianapolis actually view us in their “rear view mirror,” and Denver has gone so far as to remove Minneapolis from its list of major competitors. These cities have not stood still.
We’re excited about the 30th anniversary of our Minneapolis Convention Center, our most versatile and valuable tourism asset. But at this stage of the building’s life, we must begin serious discussions about expansion or even a new facility in a different location.
Can our local tourism/hospitality industry better position itself as the fourth largest employer in the city?
As an industry that is dispersed into so many sectors, it is surprising to many – particularly to those without a connection or familiarity with our work – that there are 36,000 hospitality and tourism workers in the city. We are not like the auto industry that can report a tangible metric like the number of cars coming off of an assembly line. How can this industry better communicate the value it brings to the community?
If it sounds like I have been working with our Meet Minneapolis team and our volunteer leaders to help chart our industry’s future course, that is correct. And if this sounds like this is a shameless plug for our upcoming annual meeting, I’ll own it. It will be held on Feb. 25 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Go here to register to attend.
The theme of our event is "2020: Connecting the Industry – Navigating the future of meetings, events and tourism in Minneapolis". This is Meet Minneapolis’ intentional effort to draw as many stakeholders as possible into the discussion of our industry’s future. As we approach this important crossroads for our hospitality/tourism industry, we invite you to engage with us through our annual meeting and through other opportunities in the near future.