Minneapolis: Where the fun never hibernates.
That’s the tagline of the recently launched Meet Minneapolis winter marketing campaign. It highlights all the fun activities happening in Minneapolis during some of our colder months of the year. No matter the weather, our hospitality industry is a driving force in the vitality (and fun) of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) is the foundation of the hospitality community in our great city. Like the campaign tagline, the MCC does not hibernate in the winter. In fact, our first quarter of business is an important driver to support our road to recovery.
Consumer Public Shows
With the arrival of January comes the onset of our public consumer show season. This yearly slate of shows has welcomed millions of visitors to Minneapolis for well over 50 years.
- These shows are defined as events that are open to the general public with exhibitors displaying their products for marketing and sales purposes.
- Most of these shows are ticketed and have an admission fee.
- Most of the attendees at a public show come from a drivable distance.
- Examples of a public consumer show are the Auto Show, Boat Show, and Home and Garden Show.
Public shows offer businesses and brands an incredible opportunity to connect with consumers that are interested in their products. For attendees, they get the benefit of engaging with multiple brands or businesses in one marketplace. For example, a person who attends the Auto Show is typically interested in cars. The dealers in attendance are able to connect their product to a consumer that has a better likelihood of purchasing their product as they build their sales relationships.
Why Public Shows are Important for Minneapolis
For our city, public shows create a source of activity during a time of need in our community.
Generally, non-resident visitation to Minneapolis is higher during the summer months. Public shows bring consistent numbers of consumers to our downtown hospitality core from January through early April. These consumers park in our ramps, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores, and many extend their activities to other amenities in the city like museums, theaters and sporting events. All of this activity supports the more than 20,000 hospitality workers in Minneapolis and generates tax revenue for the city.
In our current environment, public shows also give us the opportunity to welcome people who may not have been to Minneapolis in several years.
Through a positive experience at the events, our local attendees will start to feel more comfortable returning to our region’s largest urban center. The hustle and bustle of an urban setting can be intimidating to some individuals if they have not been exposed to it in a while. But hibernating will only deny them the wonderful experiences that can come from human interaction through events. Our city becomes more vibrant, not only from the additional monetary resources, but also from the energy of the community being together again.
In addition, these public shows produce billions of dollars in sales and, in turn, sales tax for the State of Minnesota. For example, based on data from the U.S. Coast Guard, Minnesota has the most registered boats per capita in the United States, and Minnesota consumers spend on average over $600 million a year in boat and boat accessory purchases ($1.1. billion in 2020). The compounding effect of these purchases to our state’s economy is overwhelming and supported by our public shows.
Why Public Shows are Important for the MCC
For our convention center, the public show season is the highest grossing direct revenue quarter of our year. With roughly 400,000 people attending events during this time, we sell a lot of services, parking and food to support the activity produced. Our part-time staff and contractors see their highest usage during this time as our work is consistent and robust.
An exciting element for everyone at the convention center during this time is that we are directly serving our community. These events are catering to our neighbors, and we feel pride in opening our doors to Minnesota residents from around our state during public show season.
Whenever I say that I work at the convention center, it is usually met with a story about attending the RV and Camping Show, Golf Show, or Lake Home and Cabin Show, among many others. Our local, metro and statewide communities feel a connection to the convention center because of our public shows. They receive a direct benefit from the events that we host during a time of year that provides them an indoor outlet to dream about future purchases, vacations, projects or activities.
“Minneapolis: Where the fun never hibernates,” combined with our public show season, speaks to many opportunities with none more important than to our city’s tourism and hospitality industry, which has a longtail positive economic impact on both our city and state.
I hope to see you this winter exploring one of our public shows!