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Minnesota Associations Win Two Awards of Excellence
From the Minnesota Society of Association Executives

ST. PAUL, MN (May 19, 1998) - Hospitality Minnesota-Minnesota's Restaurant, Hotel & Resort Associations - today received two Awards of Excellence from the Minnesota Society of Association Executives (MS AE). This brings to 11 the total number of awards Hospitality Minnesota has received from MSAE over the last four years.

The first award, given in the marketing and public relations category, was presented for the development of a new identity and logo for Hospitality Minnesota and the three associations for which it serves as an umbrella, the Minnesota Restaurant Association, Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association and Minnesota Resort Association.

Hospitality Minnesota, which serves as the "parent" for these three associations, had been known as Upper Midwest Hospitality since its inception in 1958. That name was confusing given that the membership of the three associations is comprised of hospitality businesses from Minnesota. In order to establish the umbrella organization as the voice of hospitality in Minnesota and to achieve long-range goals related to membership and government affairs, the Hoard of Directors determined that a new name and corresponding logos for the family were essential.

Several criteria for a new name were identified as the process began. It should reflect hospitality's warmth, be easy to remember and simple. It needed to explain the umbrella and its associations. After extensive discussion facilitated by the Minneapolis public relations firm of Padilla Speer Beardsley, the Board and staff settled on Hospitality Minnesota with the tag line of 'Minnesota's Restaurant, Hotel & Resort Associations.' The Minneapolis graphic design firm of Designstein was then brought in to give the new name a graphic treatment. The added challenge was to rework each individual association logo to reflect an overall family.

The new name and graphic treatments have been praised by members of the associations and key publics alike. The efforts have already been successful in clarifying the role of Hospitality Minnesota as the umbrella for the three associations and in providing a clear picture of a complicated organization, resulting in the award from MSAE.

The second honor was conferred in the education category for development of a Quality Assurance (QA) program for the Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Guild, which operates as an affiliate of the Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association under the umbrella of Hospitality Minnesota. The Bed & Breakfast Guild set out to develop its Quality Assurance program with the goal of helping the public to be confident that the facilities offered by QA designated members of the B&B Guild meet the highest standards of quality, cleanliness and comfort.

Here's how the program works: former innkeepers (who are not members of the guild) visit each participating B&B to review the property against a well-established checklist. In addition to ensuring that the B&B meets these criteria, these consultants offered the B&B owners advice on improving all aspects of operations.

Of the 165 members of the B&B Guild, 72 chose to participate in the program and all successfully achieved the QA designation, which is good for two years. The B&Bs were located across Minnesota and the QA consultants traveled more than 4,100 miles conducting visits. With this designation, reviewed B&Bs are entitled to use a special QA logo in all marketing materials. These B&Bs were provided with logo slicks as well as a sample release to present to area media. In addition, these B&Bs were designated as Quality Assured with the logo appearing next to their B&Bs in the 1998 Explore Minnesota Bed & Breakfast and Historic Inns guide, of which 85,000 were printed and are now being distributed.

The comprehensive program, which ranged from the development of the criteria to the hiring of the consultants, coordinating their visits and following the program through to its completion, provided MSAE with a solid application for this second Award of Excellence. The awards will be presented in a ceremony coinciding with MSAE's annual conference on May 19 at RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Hospitality Minnesota represents Minnesota's restaurants, hotels, motels, B&Bs, resorts, campgrounds and their suppliers. It is one of Minnesota's largest business trade associations with a membership of 4,000 and a staff of 18 based out of the St. Paul office. Hospitality Minnesota provides a comprehensive government affairs program, regular communications, education, marketing and direct benefit programs to members.

The Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Guild has 165 members and operates as an affiliate of the Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association, which represents 850 hotels, motels, B&Bs and their suppliers under the umbrella of Hospitality Minnesota.

The hospitality industry is Minnesota's second largest, employing more than 175,000 people with a payroll of $3.5 billion. Newly released figures from the Minnesota Office of Tourism reveal gross sales of $9 billion generating sales tax revenue for Minnesota of $1.1 billion.

David Siegel
Communications Director
Jill Cook
Communications Specialist
(612) 222-7401

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