As we approach summer, which is traditionally our highest hotel occupancy and profitability period of the year, we are extremely optimistic. The much-anticipated downtown Prince mural will be underway, creating another must-see attraction. We will see the start of another exciting Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) season and fans will continue to enjoy the Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa-led Minnesota Twins. And we will be able to enjoy a robust and wide-ranging Hennepin Theatre Trust schedule.
There is certainly a lot for us to celebrate, even as we deal with economic headwinds fueled by inflation not experienced in our country for decades. Fortunately, Destination Analysts, in its May 2022 “State of the American Traveler,” found that 90% of those surveyed still have summer travel plans in place.
Nationally, our industry recently celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), as it has for nearly 40 years. According to the U.S. Travel Association, NTTW is a time when all aspects of our industry can join together and celebrate the massive social and economic benefits of travel and tourism.
This year, U.S. Travel has also elevated the need to have an inclusive industry recovery. Locally, activating an inclusive industry recovery means that we must ensure that the composition of our Meet Minneapolis workforce and board reflect our community and that we effectively communicate with an increasingly diverse visitor base. Meet Minneapolis applauds this move by U.S. Travel as it mirrors a board mandate our organization has had in place for some time. I previously shared some thoughts on an inclusive industry recovery. The Meet Minneapolis team continues to embrace the inclusive recovery mandate in two key ways:
Telling Our Full Story
Prospective meeting/event planners and leisure visitors are often surprised to learn how diverse our community truly is. For us to more genuinely tell that story, we have elevated our commitment to working with the City of Minneapolis to highlight the seven designated districts and small businesses they contain. As we tell a more diverse story, we can naturally attract a more diverse visitor base. Highlighting the unique aspects of these districts and businesses can also give all visitors more reasons to stay longer and enjoy a more authentic experience while they are in Minneapolis. (Minneapolis Cultural Districts)
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Focus
Meet Minneapolis recently hired our first Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (VP of EDI). She is Ka Vang (pronounced Gah Vah). In this role, Ka will be leading our internal and external equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. Ka most recently served as the Director of Impact & Community Engagement at American Public Media, the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio. Prior to that role, she worked in the Office of the Chancellor for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
Even, if there are questions about the inherent moral value of focusing on all dimensions of DEI, numerous studies have shown that there is a strong business case. Take a look at this summary of some 2021 McKinsey & Company research (https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion).
Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about how an inclusive recovery makes good moral and economic sense for our community.