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 Survey Says Mall of America is Major Draw for Conventions
Twin Cities a Top Pick for Meeting Planners

BLOOMINGTON, Minn., March 26, 1998 -  Mall of America is one of the top reasons many convention
planners consider the Twin Cities for their meetings, according to a national survey of meeting planners. Central location and accessibility followed by Mall of America and overall cost are the region's most attractive qualities identified by meeting planners.

The survey was conducted for Mall of America to determine what factors have the greatest impact with meeting planners who decide locations for conventions and meetings. More than one-third of meeting planners surveyed say proximity to the nation's largest retail and entertainment complex would influence their decision to hold future meetings in the Twin Cities.

When survey participants were asked to identify cities considered for their most recent event the Twin Cities was listed second, closely following Orlando. The Twin Cities edged out Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.

"Mall of America is already the top tourist destination in the country," said Maureen Bausch, Mall of America's associate general manager. "We want to help make the Twin Cities the top convention destination as well. "By developing partnerships between Mall of America and the area's convention facilities, we can showcase all the region has to offer and make a strong convention business even stronger," added Bausch.

Among the reasons meeting planners said Mall of America would influence their decision to bring a convention to the Twin Cities included: variety of things to do, shopping, landmark attraction, family activities, surrounding hotels and easy access.

Overall, meeting planners rated the Twin Cities better than other potential convention sites on important market attributes. The highest ratings were given to shopping availability and safety of the city.

The survey was done by Rockwood Research and Platform Marketing, Inc. Telephone interviews were conducted in November with 200 randomly selected meeting planners from throughout the United States. The respondents were screened to make sure they had direct responsibility for planning meetings and conventions for their organizations.

Located in Bloomington, Minn., just 15 minutes from Minneapolis and St. Paul, Mall of America is the nation's largest retail and entertainment complex attracting more visits annually than Disney World, the Grand Canyon and Graceland combined. Since opening in August 1992, more than 200 million people have visited Mall of America. In addition to more than 520 stores, the mall is home to the nation's largest indoor theme park, Knott's Camp Snoopy; a 1.2 million gallon walk-through aquarium, UnderWater World; an 18-hole miniature golf course and a 14-screen movie theater.

Meeting Planners Survey Summary
Nearly one-third of all survey participants acknowledged that Mall of America would influence their decision to choose the Twin Cities as an event site. The reasons given for the Mall's attraction included the variety of things to do, shopping, landmark attractions, family activities and surrounding hotels.
Mall of America was the only specific Twin Cities location listed by meeting planners as a factor in making Minneapolis/St. Paul attractive for events. Other attractive features of the Twin Cities included central location, ease of access, overall cost, hotel options and local membership/industry.
Minneapolis/St. Paul was second only to Orlando when planners were asked to identify the cities considered for their most recent event. The Twin Cities edged out Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
Survey participants that had to choose between two cities for their most recent event most often chose Minneapolis/St. Paul as their site, followed by Atlanta, New Orleans and Phoenix.
The four most important reasons that meeting planners select a meeting or convention site are: a central U.S. location, size of convention facilities, hotel selection, and ease of access.

Survey participants were given fifteen market attributes and asked to indicate whether Minneapolis/St. Paul is "better than," "about the same as," or "worse than" other potential convention sites. The Twin Cities were rated "better than" other potential sites in all but one of the fifteen categories. The highest ratings were given to "shopping availability" and "safety of the city." (The question used a 3-point scale where "1" is "better than" and "3" is "worse than.") The mean scores for each of the attributes are listed below:

1.32 shopping availability
1.49 safety of the city
1.63 condition of convention facilities
1.65 overall cost of event 
1.67 cost of having meeting in the city
1.71 past experience with locale
1.72 central U.S. location
1.78 dining alternatives
1.82 off-property venues (theater, museum)
1.83 hotel selection and availability
1.84 size of convention facilities
1.88 ease of access
1.95 transportation
1.97 entertainment options
2.06 air expenses
Pamela Gentry or Patricia Calfee 
 The Regency Plaza Hotel, 415-332-2081

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