For the first time in our history, Meet Minneapolis conducted a completely virtual annual meeting. Nearly 300 attendees saw how the event theme, “Resiliency and the Road to Recovery,” permeated the entire program. We reviewed the industry’s successes as we entered 2020 with high expectations that were derailed by the pandemic and the unrest following the death of George Floyd. One of the highlights of the event was our guest speaker, Adam Sacks. As a well-respected travel industry analyst and president of Tourism Economics, he left us with tangible evidence of hope for the future of our industry. He said it best in a recent tweet:
“All our forecasts and scenarios are moored to the non-negotiable assumption that travel will fully recover. The pandemic will end. The drivers of travel – income growth, demographic shifts, the importance of meetings and the intrinsic value of a vacation – will still be intact on the other side. History supports the premise; recovery is inevitable.”
There were also moments of levity, such as looking at how some of us responded to the question: “What would we tell our March 16, 2020 selves based on what we know today?” Attendees were also able to share their own responses.
The recording of this year’s Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting can be accessed here. Our Meet Minneapolis Annual Report can be found here. For the downloadable PDF of Adam Sacks’ “Planning For The Recovery” presentation, go here.
DEED Site Tour
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove and Ben Wood of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry participated in a tour that included the Minneapolis Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The purpose was to provide evidence to accelerate the plans to increase the size of groups we can host. With a decline in the number of new COVID cases and positivity rates, along with an increasing availability of hospital beds and vaccines, the stage is set for our ability to host larger gatherings.
Commissioner Grove saw firsthand that our industry is ready to safely host larger gatherings based on stringent health and safety protocols in our venues and the processes already in place to communicate with guests prior to and following events, if necessary. We were encouraged that the State is open to potentially implementing automatic increases in group size based on positive health and safety benchmarks that are reached. Commissioner Grove has convened roundtable discussions of large venues during the pandemic and the tour was meant to bring those discussions to life.
Tourism and Recovery Improvement District (TRID)
What was originally known as a Tourism Improvement District or TID, now has Recovery as a part of its name. Because of the devastation of the pandemic and subsequent unrest on our industry, a TRID is now a part of the plans for the expedited recovery of our industry.
An agreed upon fee would appear on a guest’s hotel folio to create a fund managed by the hotels in an individual jurisdiction. TRIDs are now in 18 states including several in neighboring South Dakota. In State Senate and House testimony last week, we informed legislators of the critical need for this TRID as it requires no financial ask of the State of Minnesota and will help our fellow Minnesotans who work in the hospitality industry to get back to work faster. It will also allow us to attract more meetings, events, and leisure visitors.
We are thankful for the support of the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and the Greater Minneapolis Hotel Association. Our leaders in the legislature are Senator Kari Dziedzic and Representative Jim Davnie. Their leadership has propelled the level of awareness of the TRID, as we work to ensure its inclusion in an omnibus tax bill during this legislative session.
Our Meet Minneapolis team is honored to represent an industry that continues to demonstrate its resiliency. As we noted in our annual meeting presentation, our role continues to evolve from a destination marketing organization to a destination management organization that is deeply involved in all aspects of the success of our industry.
Thank you for your continued support and for the opportunity to serve you.