The nine-mile, temperature-controlled Minneapolis Skyway has added a huge sense of comfort for meeting planners, not only in winter, but year-round—such as if it happens to be raining, or hot and humid, says Melvin Tennant, CAE, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis.
While the first quarter is the lowest season for national meetings in the city, Tennant says it’s a popular time for state agriculture conferences, such as Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, to meet. It’s also a period when Minneapolis Convention Center hosts most of its annual public events, like auto or home and garden shows. “We fill in nicely with regional and state conventions when there are not as many national conventions to go around,” says Tennant.
The city’s latest message is one that’s tackling its coldest months head on: “We don’t look at winter as a liability; we look at it as an asset,” says Tennant.
The CVB was able to demonstrate its warm hospitality when Minneapolis was home to Super Bowl LII. Over the game weekend, Meet Minneapolis brought in 80 meeting planners to participate in many different activities and events, such as a snowmobile flip contest downtown. The temperature on Sunday morning was -6 degrees with a wind chill of -25—yet everything went off without a hitch.
“The point was to show that if we can manage the Super Bowl in winter, we can handle anything that comes our way with your convention,” says Tennant. At least a few of those meeting planners have booked meetings in the city as a result of that experience.