Since the RNC ended, some are still up to their ears in work, some feel they were promised much more than they got and some are turning their sights to the future.
Yesterday the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce held a meeting with downtown business owners disappointed by the turnout (or lack thereof) at the RNC. According to a MinnPost report, Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Authority staff held the meeting to let frustrated business owners voice their concerns and to learn what the two organizations could have done better. Two major takeaways: ask better questions (like, How big is the perimeter of fencing between conventioneers and protesters?) and be more conservative in estimating attendance and profit.
However, the report also quotes St. Paul Convention and Visitors Authority President Karolyn Kirchgesler saying St. Paul just signed on four new conventions that will bring a total of 14,000 visitor room nights to St. Paul hotels. She attributed these new conventions partially to St. Paul having hosted the RNC. And just last week, representatives of the Minnesota Twins, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority announced Minneapolis’ intent to bid for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The weeklong festivities would bring a projected 2,000 journalists and, according to Meet Minneapolis President Melvin Tennant, potentially more than $50 million in economic impact.
These steps seem to indicate that city leaders (on both sides of the river) are wasting no time in leveraging the Twin Cities' newfound credibility in the visitor market. In this fall’s issue of Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal, I interviewed Tennant about this topic, among others. It will be interesting to see, throughout 2009, what other events Minneapolis-St. Paul is able to attract. What kind of ROI will we be getting from the RNC?
(Photo: Officials at the announcement of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game bid. Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis. Left to right: Chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, Mike Opat; former Minnesota Twins player Tony Oliva; Minnesota Twins President, Dave St. Peter; Meet Minneapolis President Melvin Tennant; Twins Sports Inc. President Jerry Bell and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.)