Bill found the answer when he met The Opportunity Guy, aka Joe Veneto. Joe is an experiential tourism guru whose expertise blended with Bill’s passions to create what is now our second set of Signature Experiences, which is also the largest experiential tourism collection in the nation.
Joe's company, Opportunities Unlimited, collaborates with organizations to create unforgettable products and service experiences for their customers and their clients. And, as successful as Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Saint Paul and Meet Minneapolis have been in attracting visitors, it was an enlightening experience to have Joe provide a fresh set of eyes on some of our prized assets and guide us down the path of creating those unique, behind-the-scenes experiences that will surprise and delight our visitors.
Meet Minneapolis partner Mall of America provided its new Parkview Meeting + Event Center as the site for last week's Signature Experiences launch event. Speaking at that event, Joe noted that visitors are changing and want more “off-the-menu” offerings that can deepen their appreciation for a community. He recounted some of the details of his work to create and innovate what our partners offer. Signature Experiences are available to all visitors, including those coming here for business, visiting friends and relatives, attending conventions and meetings or taking in an amateur or professional sporting event. Visitors to our community come here for a variety of purposes but all of them want to remember their stay in a special way. Signature Experiences are indeed meant to increase our visitors' enjoyment but Joe let the group know that creating and activating these experiences can also drive visitation and create economic development.
Our partnership with Joe Veneto has also yielded other fruit. He has conducted his Experience Lab in Minneapolis for the last two years and will do so again this October. Experience Lab is described as the most comprehensive, hands-on workshop for destination marketing executives and travel suppliers to engineer experiences for their destinations. The Minneapolis-Bloomington-Saint Paul area is definitely a laboratory for unique behind-the-scenes visitor experiences that other destination marketing executives can see and touch firsthand.
Bob Schmitz of Above the Falls Sports, another Meet Minneapolis partner organization, was at the event and encourages us to fully leverage our existing assets. He was as much at home selling and promoting the other experiences as he was promoting his own kayak tours. While it is a sign of growth when we see the development of new tourism infrastructure, Bob reminds us that we already have a tremendous collection of assets that have worked to make us a very desirable destination. Let’s not forget about what we already have. This collection of 30 Signature Experiences gives us that opportunity.