Explore Minnesota Tourism Council Meeting Minutes, Dec. 11, 2013
Release Date: Dec 16, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Mall of America
Present: Bonnie Carlson, Bill Deef, Chuck Dougherty, Randy Gutzmann, Nancy Hanson, Lisa Havelka, Denelle Hilliard, Brad Jones, Doug Killian, Deb Lloyd, Bruce Martinson, Rep. Joe McDonald, Lisa Paxton, Cynthya Porter, Mark Ronnei, Sen. Tom Saxhaug, John Valliere, Julie Wearn
EMT Staff: Pete Dian, Leann Kispert, Peggy Lindquist, Pat Simmons, Colleen Tollefson
Guests: Luci Botzak (MACVB), Christine Fruechte, Matt Kilian (Brainerd Lakes Chamber), Ryan Olson, Ken Sweeker (Rep. Paul Gazelka's Office)
Welcome and Introductions: Colleen Tollefson welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked attendees to introduce themselves. Chair John Edman was not available for this meeting.
Lisa Paxton has resigned from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce. She has also stepped down as the chair of the Public Policy Committee. She will remain on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council.
The "Ethical Standards for Members of the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council" were e-mailed to members prior to today's meeting. Council members must sign and return the form to Peggy Lindquist.
Approval of September 12 Meeting Minutes: John Valliere motioned to approve the minutes from the September meeting; motion seconded by Julie Wearn. All members in attendance voted to approve the minutes as submitted.
Explore Minnesota Tourism Audit - Colleen Tollefson: The Office of the Legislative Auditor worked with EMT staff throughout the summer on their audit. This is done approximately once every three or four years. Findings and Recommendations from the audit are:
1. Explore Minnesota Tourism did not assess and document financial and compliance risks to ensure that it had designed and implemented effective internal controls.
2. Prior Audit Finding Not Resolved: Explore Minnesota Tourism did not effectively safeguard and promptly deposit receipts.
3. Prior Finding Partially Resolved: Explore Minnesota did not mitigate the risk created by allowing incompatible employee access to the state's accounting system, and it did no monitor certain access staff from another agency had under and inter-agency agreement.
4. Explore Minnesota Tourism did not obtain required grant evaluation data from some grantees, and it did not use evaluation data it did receive to measure success of various types of grants.
Copies of the full report are available for review.
Strategic Plan: Previously, EMT's Strategic Plan was a 10-12 page document. The new version is a one-page overview. EMT held Listening Sessions in five locations throughout the state to gather information from the industry. A Listening Session was also held with EMT staff. The Mission statement remains the same. EMT will continue to produce the Marketing Opportunities piece. Comments from the Council:
- How will it be monitored to know EMT is reaching its goals? Council would like EMT to report back on results/progress quarterly (at Council meetings).
- Add "Progress of strategic plan will be reported and recorded on a quarterly basis."
- Add in core functions - something about why EMT exists.
- Should add something to the vision statement; it currently reads "Tourism will be a $20 billion business in Minnesota by 2020." Should state this is an increase of __% so it has a greater impact to the reader.
- Add some things about press fam trips, media opportunities, BrandUSA initiatives.
Advertising RFP - Leann Kispert: As proposed at the June Council meeting, an RFP was sent out for EMT's advertising contract. Six submissions were received; five agencies provided oral presentations. The evaluation committee consisted of nine people from Explore Minnesota Tourism and industry representatives. The contract was awarded to Colle + McVoy.
Christine Fruechte and Ryan Olson, Colle + McVoy: Colle + McVoy showcased parts of their oral presentation, including video footage of what consumers from out-of-state think of when they hear Minnesota Vacation. Consider this an opportunity to really show what Minnesota has to offer by showcasing specific places and activities. The strategic position is "When you explore Minnesota, you can break free from the ordinary with a unique and authentic experience." Will use the hashtag "ONLYINMN" for consumers to tell about their unique experiences. This hashtag will follow through on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.
Will also create an out-of-home campaign with digital billboards that could change daily to promote unique experiences consumers are posting.
Increased budget helps media strategy. Explore Minnesota Tourism advertising currently reaches Minnesota, North Dakota, Winnipeg, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Will expand to: Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Calgary and Edmonton. These markets have the greatest potential because they are still driving markets and offer air access.
The campaign will target the cultural explorers and spontaneous adventurers.
As directed by the Council, 30% of the ad budget will be used to retain instate travel and 70% will be used for outstate markets. With EMT's budget increase, the instate budget is still higher than in previous years.
- Really like the "ONLYINMN" concept. Need to showcase and explain at Tourism Conference. Colle+McVoy should have a table at the Conference for people to ask more questions. Also have an exercise for conference attendees to contribute their experiences that are unique to their community/location. Do we want to launch this in a bigger way and include sweepstakes?
- Look at developing a campaign similar to All Star Game promotions for the 2016 Ryder Cup.
- Schedule June Council meeting at Colle + McVoy to get a real connection.
- Make sure the industry can tie in to our advertising. Let them know what markets we'll be in and when. How can businesses/communities leverage what is going on with EMT advertising? Provide multiple ways to engage and involve industry.
Fall and Winter Campaign: The fall campaign continued with the "More to" theme with "More to Fall Color." It provided a strong digital fall plan.
Three bloggers were hired to help populate Instagram. The site had 55,361 visits; 49,323 unique visitors; 62,158 pageviews; with 89% new visits. The objective of the campaign was to create awareness about versatility of fall colors in Minnesota during key campaign timeframe.
Result: 2,496,727 social media impressions
A poster with some of the photos from the fall campaign has been created and will be available at Explore Minnesota office.
The winter campaign theme is "More Cool Moments." The television spot is almost complete. Will be in the marketplace in January. Will also be airing during winter Olympics. Banner ads will be used.
Capitalizing on #Exploremn: The fall promotion enforced that there is no shortage of great imagery being tagged. User-generated images provided great content for social streams and led to high engagement statistics. Will continue the great imagery this winter on Instagram and Facebook. There will be a limited-edition poster depicting hand-selected submissions of winter moments.
Web Redesign - Pete Dian: Working with BarkleyREI on the website redesign which will launch in March. Website fundamentals are incremental visitation, customer service, promotion of Minnesota businesses/stakeholders and lead generation. It will target the "cultural explorers" who are 40-50 years old with older children/ample disposable income, looking for a getaway, their travel planning is not limited to a family vacation and they are looking for new and distinctive experiences. It will also target the "spontaneous adventurers" who are younger than the cultural explorers, looking for adventure/outdoor activities, tend to do spur of the moment/weekend trips, family friendly activities and activities with friends without kids or spouse.
Homepage will have increased visibility of activity-based tourism, showcase Minnesota's diverse opportunities and reach a broader market. Functions will remain the same on the search results page but will have the keyword search available on all pages.
The navigation on the top of the page is the same, except for the addition of the Drink and Eat dropdown.
Will also be user-friendly for desktop, tablet and handheld equipment.
Public Policy Committee - Brad Jones and Doug Killian: As announced earlier, Lisa Paxton has resigned from her leadership role of the Public Policy Committee. Thanks to Lisa for her outstanding leadership in securing a $5.5 million budget increase for EMT. Brad Jones will now chair the Public Policy Committee and Doug Killian will chair the Minnesota Tourism Growth Coalition.
Minutes from the November 25th Public Policy Committee were sent to the Council. Preparing for next legislative session which begins in February. Also developing a Communications Plan.
Additional issues brought forward to the committee that need attention are trail fees, sales tax on clothing, business to business tax, and lodging tax compliance.
Have a Public Policy Committee or MTGC table at Tourism Conference. Tie into Duluth's presentation on first day of Conference.
The Public Policy Communication Plan is being developed. Explore Minnesota Tourism will develop another cereal box with economic impact information. They are also working with the Governor's Office to schedule a leadership meeting with representatives from the tourism industry. Explore Minnesota industry website has additional information including economic impact, annual report, tourism awareness video. Council members are encouraged to take an active role in the Tourism Conference. EMT needs to be prepared to justify budget increase.
Senator Saxhaug suggested doing industry overview in Senate with next Council meeting and have industry testify.
Return on Investment - Pat Simmons: Explore Minnesota Tourism contracts with Longwoods International for research. The purpose of the research is to provide insights about the image of Minnesota and provide an evaluation of the spring/summer 2013 tourism ad campaign. Top reasons Minnesota is viewed as a great place to vacation over its' competition is because of the boating/water sports, excellent fishing, excellent shopping, great snowmobiling. Minnesota's product delivery is working well; first time visitors are pleasantly surprised once they visit. Need to show specific scenes so consumer can see themselves visiting.
Revised preliminary results of incremental trips, spending and taxes due to 2013 advertising are:
|Ad investment||$2.3 million|
|Incremental trips||1.92 million|
|Incremental visitor spending||196.1 million|
|Incremental taxes||18.6 million|
With the increased budget, EMT will be entering new markets. Council would like new market data separate from previous market data. Would also like out-of-state spending separated. Would be a great benefit to also be able to have some type of segmentation by SEC codes to build upon.
- Tourism Conference will be held February 4-5 in Duluth. Pre-meetings will take begin Monday, February 3.
- The Governor's Office has asked us to continue to work with Little & Company on the development of three additional Minnesota brand concepts. The final version must be finished and approved by March 1, 2014 in order to be ready for our spring ad launch. Explore Minnesota's logo will also be refreshed.
- Destination Capitol Hill will take place February 26-27 in Washington DC. This is an opportunity to meet with Minnesota's congressional delegation. If you are interested in participating, contact John Edman/Colleen Tollefson.
- Minnesota is now a preferred partner with ASAE. MPI will meet in Minnesota in August 2014.
- Checkpoint MN was launched on December 10. This event includes 10 checkpoint signs placed at iconic Minnesota winter destinations. The contest aims to mobilize thousands over the course of eight weeks, with $40,000+ in prizes ranging from winter jackets and ski gear to GPS devices up for grabs. More details are available at http://checkpointmn.com.
2014 Meeting Dates:
Tuesday, March 4 - @ State Capitol
Wednesday, June 4 - @ Colle + McVoy
Wednesday, September 10
Tuesday, December 2