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 The Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association Booked 279
Future Meetings, Creating $313 Million in Economic Impact; 
Makes Point for New Convention Hotel
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MINNEAPOLIS, March 30, 2006 - The Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association (GMCVA) today announced that 2005 represented a marked shift in the size and kind of conventions booking Minneapolis.  Convention sales efforts that filled in "gaps" in hotel occupancy and short-term tourism sales and marketing strategies contributed to an incredible 82 percent hotel occupancy rate from June through October.
    
"Downtown Minneapolis was jammed during the summer of 2005," said Greg Ortale, GMCVA president & CEO.  "Convention-goers at events like the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference with its 10,000-plus attendees flooded area hotels, restaurants and attractions."  For the year, hotel occupancy finished at a strong 71.5 percent and nearly 340,000 convention attendees spent $265.5 million in the metro area.

Same Number of Meetings, Smaller Size
    
At the organization's annual meeting today, association leaders noted that while GMCVA sales efforts last year were unprecedented and it booked the same number of future meetings as in past years, the size of groups choosing to host conventions in Minneapolis has slipped to an all-time low since the expansion of the Minneapolis Convention Center.  This, because Minneapolis can no longer offer the compact downtown hotel inventory to attract many large conventions.
    
"Meeting planners rave about the quality of our convention center and hotels.  They are some of the best in the industry," said Ortale.  "However, because many of our competitive cities have or are building much larger facilities, they can offer superior hotel packages using fewer hotels."  For example, Minneapolis is competing with Denver for a future convention.  While the meeting planner prefers Minneapolis, the group would need to use 14 hotels to house attendees.  In Denver, they'll need to only negotiate contracts with five hotels.
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Top Conventions Booked in 2005
Group
Year
Attendance
Room Night
Natíl Recreation & Park Assn 2010 9,000 17,726 
USA Volleyball 2008 6,000 17,055 
Assn of Public-Safety Communications Officials Intíl, Inc.  2012  4,000 8,980 
Associated Professional Sleep Societies 2007 2,700 7,344 
American Railway Engineering & Maintenance of Way Assn 2010 2,000 6,742 
International Code Council  2008 1,700 6,110 
Target Corporation 2009 4,000 5,364 
COMMON Ė A Users Group 2006 2,000 5,150
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New Convention Hotel Needed
    
As a result of situations like this, the city is losing many large conventions that would otherwise book Minneapolis to competitive cities.  It
demonstrates a strong need for a new, 1,200-room convention headquarters hotel in close proximity to the Minneapolis Convention Center, said GMCVA leaders.
    
Several studies have proven a need.  In addition to a hotel feasibility study conducted in 2004, the GMCVA entered into two research projects in 2005. Recently released results demonstrate the urgent need to come up with a hotel solution.  Both showed that Minneapolis is losing business due to several factors, including:
  • The lack of a large convention headquarters hotel in close proximity (preferably attached) to the Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Little awareness about Minneapolis and what it has to offer as a destination
  • Perception of Minneapolis as a "second tier" city
Despite the challenges, the GMCVA created nearly a third of a billion dollars in future convention business for Minneapolis by shifting its sales efforts to focus on smaller meetings, short-term business, niche selling, and high-potential geographic areas.

Other 2005 Highlights

  • Minneapolis Arts Explosion -- As five major arts institutions began to unveil $500 million in new arts infrastructure, the GMCVA spearheaded a collaborative public relations effort with all the arts organizations that were expanding and building.  Numerous initiatives, including a media party in New York, created 36.3 million media impressions in publications like Travel + Leisure, Boston Globe, New York Times and more than 130 others.
  • Online leisure booking engine -- Event and special offer-focused tourism marketing and sales efforts brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to GMCVA-hosted websites, generating a 93-percent increase in sales through an online hotel booking engine.
  • Wedding service -- The GMCVA's unique service that helps brides findhotel room blocks and reception spaces continued to be in demand. With a lift from an online advertising campaign, the service booked  more than 16,000 rooms and contributed to the tourism sales department's successful year that finished 14 percent ahead of 2004.
  • A focus on quality service -- The GMCVA received praise from meeting planners, clients and partners.  In 2005, the convention services department won two coveted awards for the ninth time.  This level of quality and service helped the GMCVA secure two respected local corporations as "Premier Partners."  American Express Cardmember Services and Metro Transit will work with the GMCVA in 2006.
About the GMCVA
The Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association (GMCVA) is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association.  It actively promotes Minneapolis as a venue for conventions and meetings and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to bring a positive economic impact to the greater Minneapolis area.
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Contact

Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association
http://www.minneapolis.org

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Also See: Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association Booked 276 Future Conventions In 2004, Nearly 513,000 Future Room Nights / March 2005
Convention Hotel Feasibility Study Overwhelmingly Demonstrates Need for a New 1,200-room Hotel near the Minneapolis Convention Center; Downtown Minneapolis' Inadequate Hotel Inventory Negatively Affects Future Convention Business / December 2004

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