MINNEAPOLIS — Today is the day that Minnesota dials back more of its COVID-19 restrictions. That’s excellent news, especially for the state's hotel industry that was hit harder than most.
"For 2020, Minneapolis ended up with a hotel occupancy of about 22%, with the metro area being about 33%, the state of Minnesota about 34% and the national average 44% so, we were a little less than half of the national average,” says Melvin Tennant with Meet Minneapolis.
The City of Minneapolis lost some 400 events last year. From business and convention travel to live music, theater, and sports at all levels.
“Until all of those come back, we won't see a complete recovery,” says Tennant.
Just down the road in Bloomington:
“We've, at the airport, faired a bit better than others because of the attachment to the airport,” says Dan Maurer with InterContinental Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
The InterContinental at MSP has switched its focus from business travel to stay-cationers. When restaurants closed for indoor dining, they added tables and chairs to their rooms.
“What's great here is some nice views, where you can see both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, watch airplanes take flight, and have a nice romantic dinner,” says Maurer.
They've also created room packages where you can bring your dog, which is super smart. Meet Minneapolis is trying to woo the locals, too.
They started a couple of ad campaigns including one called “Get Away without Going Far,” to encourage folks to stay right in the city. No one can predict when normal will return, or what normal even means anymore, but no one here plans to sit around and wait either.
“The good news is we still have a Women's Final Four scheduled for next year 2022, and plans are underway for that, so we're excited for the future. We just need to get our workers back on the job,” says Tennant.
The federal stimulus bill that was just passed does have money for travel and tourism and live entertainment venues, so that influx of cash will hopefully help, too. No word yet on just how much or when it will show up.