Hot in Minneapolis-St. Paul: Assessing the Live Events Landscape
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
These days, Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) is hotter than ever. Getting ready to host Super Bowl LII, and already home to such iconic venues as the Mall of America and Target Field, you could say the excitement for live events in this areas is definitely trending upwards.
In 2019, ILEA Live will call MSP home as well! We caught up with Maria Cabrera Hutera, CMP, ILEA MSP president, to give us a rundown of what makes this area so hot when it comes to live events.
ILEA: What are some trends you’re noticing with live events in the MSP region?
Hutera: Minneapolis-St. Paul is quite fortunate to have an array of diverse live events professional disciplines in our area! In general, continuing trends include green meetings; mixing up meeting environments (e.g., indoors for general session, outdoors for a stretch break or teambuilding); hybrid meetings; fresh, locally sustained food choices; and CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.
ILEA: What are some specific challenges event planners encounter in your area? How do they overcome these challenges?
Hutera: Challenges?! Our Minneapolis-St. Paul live events community prefers to call them opportunities! Exhilarating victory is often felt when delivering excellence to something deemed difficult. Having four seasons within a year, as is the case here, is wonderful, but also necessitates the ability to outwit Mother Nature with backup plans and risk management learnings. Downtown Minneapolis has 11 miles of “skyway” (enclosed pedestrian footbridges) that connect various buildings. This skyway is comparable to the Houston tunnel system, the systems in Canadian cities such as Toronto's PATH, Montreal's Underground City, Calgary's 11-mile system and the 8-mile Edmonton Pedway system. These skyways are a great alternative to walking outside in inclement weather.
As a growing and thriving community, “Twin Cities” transportation (i.e., Minneapolis and St. Paul) can also be difficult due to unforeseen traffic jams and road construction. However, the Twin Cities is quite easy to get around, no matter what mode of transportation you choose. Riding public transportation is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around. Our Metro Transit operates one of the largest public transportation systems in the country. Other options include hopping on a bus, hailing a cab, car sharing via Zipcar, catching the light-rail transit train to downtown Minneapolis from the airport or to Mall of America and Saint Paul, renting a Nice Ride bike, or using Uber and Lyft.
ILEA: For an event planner who is not from Minneapolis, what are some things to be aware of/take into account when putting on a live event there?
Hutera: From the great outdoors to lakes and parks to Mall of America, the Minneapolis -St. Paul area can be leveraged as a destination location, particularly for out-of-state and international event participants (clothing purchases are tax-exempt here!).
If you’re a part of ILEA, use www.ileahub.com to pull contact info for chapter leaders and/or members. ILEA peers are a great resource for connecting to suppliers that may be of interest. Some of our local members include DMOs, and they are a fantastic resource for whittling down what is available in town for specific event needs. You’ll discover tons of resources for things to do and suggest itineraries in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you’re not an ILEA member, then you need to join!
ILEA: What are the biggest factors influencing the way events are being planned in your city?
Hutera: There are many factors that influence the way events are planned in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Event dates, as well as goals and objectives, are two of the biggest factors. Are you looking for a spring, summer, fall or winter event? Are you looking for a convention center, hotel, sports stadium, restaurant, cultural center, outdoor space? Do you have a target audience size or square footage that you’re looking for? Do you need food and/or beverage? Minneapolis-St. Paul has a plethora of options to fit really any type of event. It just may be that some of these options are outside the box.
A Minnesota native, Maria has been passionate about building spectacular event experiences for the past 16+ years. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration from Capella University and a Certified Meeting Professional credential (CMP) from the Events Industry Council. In 2011, Maria was recognized by Minnesota Meeting & Events magazine with the “Up-And-Coming Meeting Planner” award.
Maria is an active member of International Live Events Association (ILEA) and serves as the 2017-2018 president for Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter’s Board of Directors. Maria currently resides in Eagan, Minnesota.