Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Johnson

Jeff Johnson

Executive Director, Minneapolis Convention Center

Jeff Johnson is an Assistant City Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis and is the Executive Director of the Minneapolis Convention Center, a 1.6 million square foot facility that hosts more than 350 events and 1 million guests each year. The work of the convention center produces significant economic impact of $400 million to the region and helped support more than 8000 jobs in 2018.

The Minneapolis Convention Center provides guests and residents the gateway to exploring the City of Minneapolis. The idea of place is important to Mr. Johnson and there has been significant work done in recent years to make the convention center feel like a more integrated representation of Minneapolis and its people. Significant renovations have occurred and are underway to add amenities that add to relationship building within and around the facility, including unique ways of introducing all forms of art into the spaces of such a large public place.

In addition to the convention center, Mr. Johnson oversees the management of the Target Center arena and the convention and visitors' bureau, Meet Minneapolis, for the City of Minneapolis. Mr. Johnson joined the Minneapolis Convention Center in 2004 and has increased his responsibilities from the Guest Services Manager, to the Director of Event Services, and finally to the Executive Director.

Prior to working for the City of Minneapolis, Mr. Johnson worked at the Xcel Energy Center/Rivercentre in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Bi-Lo Center (now Bon Secours Wellness Arena) in Greenville, South Carolina, and the Wake Forest University Athletic Department in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Mr. Johnson attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota graduating with a degree in Business Administration and the University of Minnesota-Mankato graduating with a Master in Sport Administration. Mr. Johnson is married with three young children and is originally from Lakeville, Minnesota.

Please visit http://www.minneapolis.org for more information.

Mr. Johnson can be contacted at +1 612-767-8000 or jeff@minneapolis.org

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.