Explore Minnesota Tourism Council Meeting Minutes, March 5, 2013
Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Present: Bonnie Carlson, Bill Deef, Randy Gutzmann, Nancy Hanson, Denelle Hilliard, Deb Lloyd,
Bruce Martinson, Terry Mattson, Bill Morrissey, Mark Novotny, John Valliere, Julie Wearn
Conference Call Participation: Chuck Dougherty, Brad Jones, Mark Ronnei, Ingrid Schneider
EMT Staff: John Edman, Bob Erler, Leann Kispert, Peggy Lindquist, Peggy Nasby, Colleen Tollefson
Welcome/Introductions: Chair John Edman welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked attendees to introduce themselves.
Following the Council meeting, some Council members will meet with editorial boards from Star Tribune and Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
Approval of December 11, 2012 Meeting Minutes: Bill Morrissey motioned to approve the minutes from the December meeting; motion seconded by John Valliere. All members in attendance voted to approve the minutes as submitted.
2013 Tourism Conference Feedback: The 2013 Tourism Conference was held at the Minneapolis Marriott on February 12-13. Conference was one of the highest attended in recent years. Tremendous amount of enthusiasm. Thanks to Meet Minneapolis for arranging the social media lab and dinner prior to the conference. Governor Dayton spoke at the luncheon. A summary of the evaluations was distributed to Council.
Topics for future conference sessions should be forwarded to Tourism for consideration.
Comments from Council:
- Strategies for Small Budgets/Marketing was incorrectly titled. Breakout did not address what title reflected.
- Strong interest in how to market
- Meet Minneapolis did a great job
2014 Tourism Conference location: Brad Jones motioned to solicit bids from Duluth for the 2014 Tourism Conference. Randy Gutzmann seconded the motion. All Council members in attendance voted to hold the 2014 Conference in Duluth. Will work with Terry Mattson/Visit Duluth on dates to avoid major meeting conflicts.
Public Policy Committee Report: John Edman thanked the Public Policy for their work on behalf of the tourism industry. Overviews have been given in both the house and senate. Representative John Ward introduced a bill for tourism funding.
Terry Mattson provided the following report on behalf of the Public Policy Committee:
Sales Tax on Clothing:
Doug Killian brought forth the proposed sales tax on clothing at the February 28th meeting and asked that the full Council support a resolution. The sales tax would be on items over $100 per item; it is a new tax on Minnesotans (not just visitors). Border communities could lose shoppers to other states. The Public Policy Committee asked the Council to "Support a resolution that emphasizes the need to ensure that tourism impacts be considered among the competing needs for revenue." Bonnie Carlson motioned to support the broad resolution. Motioned seconded by Julie Wearn. All members in attendance voted to approve the broad-based resolution submitted by the Public Policy Committee.
Rental Car Tax:
The Public Policy Committee continues to be neutral on the position of an increase in the rental car tax and will monitor the issue and work to be part of all discussion.
Aquatic Invasive Species:
The following resolution was brought forward to the full Council for review and approval:
Whereas: Aquatic Invasive Species pose a significant environmental and ecological threat to Minnesota lakes, rivers, water tributaries, and watersheds;
Whereas: The spread of Aquatic Invasive Species pose a significant economic threat to Minnesota's resort and campground industry, Minnesota Tourism, and the economic vitality of our communities and the state;
Whereas: Aquatic Invasive Species pose a significant threat to the aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of Minnesota's greatest natural resource, limiting swimming, boating and fishing opportunities which we now take for granted;
Whereas: Various forms of Aquatic Invasive Species, including Eurasian Water Milfoil, Zebra Mussels, Big Head and Silver Carp, Spiny Water Flea, and others currently infect over 300 lakes, rivers and water tributaries in Minnesota; and,
We, the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council, representing hospitality and tourism interests throughout the State of Minnesota, hereby resolve that:
The State of Minnesota and its affiliated agencies, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, along with the powers and authority vested in the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State University System pursue and implement efforts to aggressively address aquatic invasive species within our state.
Mark Novotny motioned to approve the Aquatic Invasive Species Resolution; motion seconded by John Valliere. All members in attendance voted to approve the above resolution on Aquatic Invasive Species.
A question was asked regarding the University of Minnesota's involvement. The University of Minnesota has provided research on the subject matter.
Post Labor Day School Start:
The bill has passed out of the House Education Policy Committee and referred to the Commerce Committee. A Senate version to the bill was introduced last week.
Comments from the Council:
- Denelle met with Representative Erickson and shared the Tourism Center's report
- The issue is not about tourism versus education; it is about outcomes
- Southern Minnesota is the third year of their testing phase. Test scores have not improved.
Destination: Capitol Hill/Washington DC:
This will take place April 10-11. Travel professionals from across all segments of the industry will meet with lawmakers about issues that impact the travel industry. For Minnesota, these issues include: federal policy on travel, technology/processing visas, work force/immigration and infrastructure (airport, transportation). The following have expressed interest in attending on behalf of Minnesota: Sunny Bhatka, Bonnie Carlson, John Edman, Doug Killian, Deb Lloyd, Terry Mattson, Colleen Tollefson.
The minimum wage/server wage/tip credit issue was raised as an area that should be addressed by the Public Policy Committee. This issue could be devastating to the tourism industry. Minnesota is one of nine states without tip credit. Hospitality Minnesota has something drafted that perhaps the Council could piggyback on. The Council asked the Public Policy Committee to consider supporting Hospitality Minnesota's stand on the issue.
New Funding Allocation: A question that has been asked of Tourism is what would additional funding be used for. Generally speaking, the money would be used for marketing – drive demand, new markets, deepen presence in drive markets, expand private partnerships, support international marketing, promoting meeting & conventions and sports marketing, and expand into niche markets.
Council members were asked to participate in an exercise to determine if Tourism is going in the right direction of where these additional dollars should be spent. After some discussion, the Council felt it would be better to have this discussion at June meeting, when budget has been determined and more background is available.
Marketing Review: Highlights of 2012 marketing:
- The majority of the marketing was digital with 65% used to market to non-residents.
- "Spin to Win" sweepstakes - to get leads from consumers and offered Minnesota prizes.
- Continued many partnerships
- PedalMN continues to promote biking in Minnesota.
- Customers were served through website, travel information centers, mail/digital, telephone, e-newsletter. All but telephone requests increased in 2012.
- Facebook fans tripled and is a top four referring website for Tourism
- 8 to 1 Return on Investment on 2012 advertising and generated $154 million in additional spending.
- Ipsos (research company) presented their "Minnesota Travel Segmentation Study" at the Tourism Conference.
- :15 and :30 television spots created
- Will continue major league baseball promotion with Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers
- A "More to Explore" vacation mixer will be introduced for consumers to create their own vacation mixer on website.
FY14 Creative Direction: The Minnesota tourism spot with Joe Mauer has aired for two years. New commercials have been created that are more visual.
Preliminary discussions underway with Colle + McVoy to feature various local celebrities for future spots. These spots could be incorporated into the existing campaign. Council members offered different perspectives on using celebrities to promote Minnesota tourism.
Comments from Council:
- "More to Explore" is fun theme ... could be used in so many more ways (More to Duluth, Farmers Market, History, etc). Many ways to tie in additional partners on this theme. If there are still ideas to use with this theme, keep going with it.
- Nice to see Minnesota assets in new commercials
- More sophisticated music is needed
- While some Council members thought the new commercials portrayed Minnesotans as "hokey" – i.e flannel shirts, other members thought the new commercials did a great job portraying the "hip" side of Minnesota - rock bands, shopping, arts/culture.
- It's tough to promote the entire state in a 15-second spot
Council recommended that Colle + McVoy fine tune the proposed campaign and discuss at the June meeting. They also agreed with continuation of agency contract for one more year after which an RFP would be issued.
TIC Revenue Generation: As discussed at the December Council meeting, federal legislation has been changed to allow limited commercial activity (sales) at our travel information centers. MnDOT is in the process of doing a study at TICs and rest areas. Once those results are released, a task force will be created with representatives from EMT, MnDOT and the industry. Council members interested in serving on this task force should contact John Edman or Colleen Tollefson.
2013 Council Meetings:
June 4/5 – overnight in Central Minnesota. Planning session. Include Colle + McVoy.