Meet Minneapolis, a not-for-profit convention and visitors association, announced that the Destination Sales team achieved a highly successful first quarter 2012 by booking 97,388 future hotel room nights and more than beating their goal by 23 percent. Many convention groups that have been to Minneapolis recommitted to returning to the city in future years, including Railway Interchange, a convention of four separate railway industry organizations that have co-located their four separate events at one location, and chose Minneapolis for two of their future events.
In September 2011, the first-time, combined event was conducted at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The success of that event spurred convention organizers to rebook in Minneapolis in 2015 and 2019, which will bring $14 million and $15 million in economic impact to the city, respectively. Attendees at the 2011 event boosted the local economy by $13 million.
“Railway Interchange, the largest North American-based international conference and exhibition for the railway engineering industry, is very pleased to have just signed a multi-year commitment to bring the event back to Minneapolis in 2015 and 2019,” said Charles H. Emely, CEO, AREMA, the railway engineering professional. “The Railway Interchange event was a tremendous success in 2011 in Minneapolis, and Meet Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Convention Center and the hotel community all went to extraordinary lengths to bring us back for 2015/2019.”
Other groups that have committed to returning to Minneapolis include Midwest Volleyball, which will hold their 2014 Northern Lights Qualifier in Minneapolis with 6,000 attendees and $19 million in local economic impact. Minnesota School Boards Association has extended their annual commitment to bringing their 850 attendees back to the Minneapolis Convention Center in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018; each event generating $1 million in economic impact for Minneapolis.
More notable returning groups that were booked first quarter are BBI International 2013 Biomass Utilization Conference and Expo, Capella University 2014 Commencement, Minnesota Safety Council 2012 79th Annual Conference this May, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 2013 Benefits Update Conference, Red Frog Events 2012 Warrior Dash in July and United Hardware Distributing Company 2016 January and 2016 July Tradeshows.
Returning groups are not alone in choosing Minneapolis: convention groups booking large and notable events in the next few years include: Out and Equal Workplace Advocates and AIGA | the professional association for design, both in October 2013, and Little League International 2014 Congress, a $3 million event that will bring 1,500 people to Minneapolis during the youth baseball organization’s year-long 75th anniversary celebration, April 2-7, 2014.
“We plan to showcase Minneapolis and welcome the world,” said Jerry Sandler, Minnesota District 1 administrator and congress chairman, Little League International. “Hosting a Congress is a big task, and expectations are high, but Minnesota’s Little League volunteers are up to the challenge. I am anxious and excited to get started …. We’re going to put on a great event.”
Destination Sales’ successes mirror the strong first quarter results seen in Minneapolis hotels, which are beating the nationwide results in occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR). Through February 2012, Minneapolis hotel room occupancy is up 7.6 percent versus a nationwide occupancy increase of 3.7 percent.
Industry-wide, improved economic conditions are spurring corporate business to return, driving growth in the market and anticipation of a busy summer season in Minneapolis.
“Since the fall of 2011, the Marriott City Center has witnessed resurgence in demand from our corporate clientele for hotel rooms and meetings,” said Anthony Stewart-Moore, general manager, Minneapolis Marriott City Center. “Our advanced bookings for the next few months indicate that this trend will continue into the summer and beyond.”