Four Minnesota destinations launch largest experiential tourism collection in nation
Minneapolis (March 31, 2016) – Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Meet Minneapolis, Visit Saint Paul and Mall of America announce the launch of 30 Signature Experiences at an event April 7 at Parkview Meeting & Event Center at the Mall of America from 4 – 7 p.m. This collection of experiential tourism offerings is the largest in a metro area in the nation.
Signature Experiences is a collection of new and unique tours, performances and demonstrations that offer groups exclusive and interactive activities, ranging from outdoor adventure to culinary arts, to arts and culture. The new experience offerings will drive visitation to the four destinations for conventions, meetings and groups. Meet Minneapolis launched their Go Minneapolis Signature Experience program in fall 2013 with 19 experiences as a first phase of the rollout, including some at the Mall of America. The other destinations joined for this second phase, adding to and enhancing the program to create a new collection of Signature Experiences for visitors and residents alike.
“Partners from our first round of Signature Experiences experienced such positive results that it was natural for expansion to occur,” said Melvin Tennant, president and CEO, Meet Minneapolis. “We are pleased that we can work with our friends from Saint Paul, Bloomington and again at the Mall of America to enhance this outstanding program.”
“People want more,” said Chris Grap, senior manager of Experiential at Mall of America. “They want to experience something that’s exclusive and unique.”
Examples of some of the unique, new experiences include:
- Como Zoo: Behind the Scenes, where visitors hear stories from Como’s fascinating past, make a treat for polar bears, feed a giraffe and meet one of the many zookeepers who make Como Zoo a world class facility.
- Saint Paul Saints: Saint for a Day, where groups will take the field and see individuals’ names in lights at CHS Field, just like a member of the St. Paul Saints. The visit includes a tour of CHS Field, team work out, official jersey, Saints-issued cap and a meal.
- Spoonriver: Harvest Your Health, where attendees will become inspired to be healthier by learning about how to support local and sustainable agriculture through a four-course luncheon and discussion at Chef Brenda Langton’s restaurant Spoonriver in Minneapolis’ Mill District.
- Textile Center: Felting Fun, where guests will discover this ancient technique for crafting designs from a variety of wool textures, colors and materials and leave with a hand-made mug rug, colorful coaster or felted artwork.
- VOM FASS Presents: The Art of Delicious Dining | Mediterranean Style, where visitors will experience an interactive tasting, learn the benefits of cooking with oils, vinegars and spices and be inspired by an international small business success story.
- Hard Rock Café: Behind the Scenes, where guests will discover the history and stories that have built Hard Rock Cafe into an iconic global brand, test their skills with Rock and Roll trivia and be prepared to meet a special guest.
Each partner was selected to take part in the program after research was conducted by Joe Veneto of Opportunities Unlimited, experiential tourism expert. Veneto conducted an assessment of the area and its tourism assets to understand the destination drivers. The partner businesses will be represented at the launch event to promote their experiential offerings to hotel sales managers, corporate meeting planners and destination management companies.
Each partner implemented Veneto’s experience formula with their organization. This process included scripting, staging, testing and training their docents and guides. The Signature Experiences will be marketed to conferences, small meetings, motor coach groups, family reunions, destination weddings and the local market.
“Bloomington is very excited to offer our customers these new experiences and believe it will give them more choices throughout the metro area showcasing all we have to offer,” said Bonnie Carlson, president and CEO, Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Veneto collaborated in conjunction with the four destinations and each partner to engineer these unique tourism experiences. He has worked with a number of destinations throughout the country to create competitive advantage for each that drives visitation and create economic development. A 25-year veteran of the tourism industry, Veneto also has worked previously with clients like Destination Marketing Association International, Experience Columbus and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
“Saint Paul is thrilled to add these one-of-a-kind experiences,” said Terry Mattson, president & CEO, Visit Saint Paul. “While creating quite a buzz these six offerings highlight the genuineness of our destination and its people.”
Members of the media are welcome to attend the launch event April 7
The new Parkview Meeting & Event Center is located at Mall of America in the southwest corner of Nickelodeon Universe between the Hard Rock Café and Flyover America. Appetizers and drinks will be served. Please RSVP to Kristen Montag, firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 7 at noon.
More information: https://www.bloomingtonmn.org/signature-experiences-launch-event.
ABOUT MEET MINNEAPOLIS
Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit of the greater Minneapolis area.
Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International.
ABOUT BLOOMINGTON CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
The Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Bloomington. They are a private, not-for-profit corporation.
ABOUT VISIT SAINT PAUL
Visit Saint Paul, formerly the Saint Paul Convention & Visitors Authority, was founded in 1927 as the Saint Paul Convention and Visitors Bureau, making it one of the oldest destination marketing organizations in the United States. The mission of the organization is to generate economic growth for Saint Paul by effectively marketing the RiverCentre campus, Saint Paul and the region as a preferred convention and tourism destination. Visit Saint Paul oversees management of the Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention Center and Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. For more information go to www.visitsaintpaul.com/.
ABOUT MALL OF AMERICA
Mall of America® is the largest retail and entertainment complex in the Western Hemisphere. At 5.62 million square feet, the Mall is home to more than 520 world-class shops; Nickelodeon Universe®, the nation’s largest indoor family theme park; the 4D FlyOver America multi-sensory experience; SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium, a 1.3 million gallon walk-through aquarium; Hard Rock Cafe; Moose Mountain Adventure Golf; Theatres at Mall of America, a 14-screen movie theater with digital projection including 4K, digital sound and 3D capabilities; Radisson Blu Mall of America, a 500-room hotel, and the five-star JW Marriott, both connected to the Mall by skyway. The Mall opened in August of 1992 and is located in Bloomington, Minn., just minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Follow Mall of America on Facebook and Twitter.
- Kristen Montag, Meet Minneapolis communication and public relations manager, 612.767.8038, email@example.com, @Minneapolis_PR on Twitter.
- Nick Cusick, Visit Saint Paul marketing and media relations manager, 651.265.4907, firstname.lastname@example.org, @ncusick on Twitter.
- Leif Pettersen, Mall of America tourism communications manager, 952-883-8814, email@example.com, @leifpettersen on Twitter.
- Pamela Joy, Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau events, PR & group travel manager, 952-278-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org,