|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
Top Conventions Booked in 2005
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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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.
demonstrates a strong need for a new, 1,200-room convention headquarters
hotel in close proximity to the Minneapolis Convention Center, said GMCVA
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:
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
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
Other 2005 Highlights
About the GMCVA
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.
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.