We regularly deliver the message to our clients that “When You’re Ready, We’re Ready to Plan Your Next Meeting”. In order to live up to that statement, we focus on readiness, advocacy and awareness-building as three key areas to support our ongoing sales efforts.
From the standpoint of our major meetings facility, the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) is working to further bolster the confidence of meeting and event planners. To build that assurance, the MCC recently earned the prestigious GBAC STAR facility accreditation. Under the guidance of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), the MCC has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention.
“GBAC STAR accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to maintain clean and healthy environments,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger.
We are proud of all of the public and private facilities in metro area that have also earned this accreditation.
In another area of readiness, we know that digital and hybrid events are likely here to stay. A recent survey asked meeting professionals if they were planning to launch a new digital event that was not previously held face-to-face, and more than half (52%) said “Yes.”
In response to this growing trend, a trio of Meet Minneapolis and Minneapolis Convention Center staff members recently earned the Digital Event Strategist (DES) certification offered through the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). This certification demonstrates professionals who are knowledgeable and well-equipped to assist meeting planners who need to develop and produce engaging live stream and digital events. Our newly certified Digital Event Strategists for Meet Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Convention Center are:
- Erica Bergum, Meet Minneapolis Destination Services & Event Manager
- Colin Brereton, Minneapolis Convention Center Senior Supervisor of Technology Services
- Megan Wahman, Meet Minneapolis Marketing Manager
Meet Minneapolis is also working to ensure readiness for our industry through programs like consulting with partner businesses to keep their Google profiles current and through our monthly “State of the Industry” webinars. Our next webinar, set for December 17, will feature Sarah J. Psick of Psick Capitol Solutions. Sarah represents Meet Minneapolis at the state legislature on a variety issues including potential new incremental funding sources. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so here.
Government and community relations are parts of the Meet Minneapolis program of work that don’t normally make headlines. However, the efforts our Public Affairs team undertakes in advocacy impacts us in the short and long term.
Our public affairs team has worked extensively with statewide hospitality groups to craft balanced guidelines for our hospitality industry to operate in the midst of a pandemic. We have focused most of our attention on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in order to influence the guidance that emanates from Governor Tim Walz. DEED Commissioner Steve Grove has made himself available to the industry and, even though we have not seen as much movement in the loosening of restrictions as we would like, we know that our concerns have been heard. We have also advocated for financial relief for an ailing local lodging industry. Our recent letter to Commissioner Grove states:
“Many…. hotels rely on groups, meetings and business travelers, which are currently non-existent and unlikely to return until the very end of 2021. Meanwhile, the hotel industry continues to warn Congress that it is on the brink of collapse amid the pandemic. Any assistance to Minnesota hotels and resorts from the Governor and legislature would help to bridge the gap before Congress acts on this issue.”
In spite of the pause on travel, our team has continued to work hard to garner third-party endorsements through earned media for our destination. Regional and national media outlets provide us an opportunity to let the world know we are still a very desirable destination for visitors and conventions.
One recent example of this is from CNN Airport News Network. Locally, media outlets allow us to remind our local audience of the value of travel and tourism and the devastating impact recent events have had on an industry that at one time employed 36,000 workers in Minneapolis. This fall, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and Twin Cities Business published stories our team influenced.
Both regional/national and local media opportunities require savviness in pitching compelling stories to the media that is often skeptical and jaded.
Thank you for your continued support of our efforts on behalf of our industry. Let us know if there are others ways we can partner with you.