Help Yourself — Why a Minnesota CVB Should Be Your First Call

Freebies! Who doesn’t love them? But if you’re not taking advantage of all the complimentary services and advantages of working with Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) you are literally passing up on hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars’ worth of freebies! When one of your biggest challenges is working within the confines of a “streamlined” budget, you need to help yourself to all that these Minnesota CVBs have to offer.

Bloomington CVB

Profile:  Home to the world-famous Mall of America, MSP International Airport, over 40 hotels and more than 500 restaurants, this bustling city is the fourth largest in the state and just a 15-minute drive to the Twin Cities.

Services:  Bloomington offers a long list of valuable cost-free services for your event such as a welcome and hospitality booth on site, venue recommendations, bid presentation materials, liaison to hotels and customers, coordination of site visits, entertainment options, and discounts on rental cars and vans.

Lakeville CVB

Profile:  Just drive south out of the metro for thirty minutes and you’ll arrive in pastoral Lakeville “where nature meets the Twin Cities.” Not far from the tranquility of the city’s parks, lakes, and walking paths, visitors enjoy nearby Canterbury Park, Valley Fair, and the Minnesota Zoo, as well as four championship golf courses. Hotels range from upscale to budget-friendly and extended stay.

Services: The team at the Lakeville CVB are happy to recommend event facilities, venues, lodging and vendors such as caterers, entertainers, or photographers. They’ll also help with suggestions of team building activities and assist you in the planning process with their extensive referral network.

Visit Mankato

Profile:  Located a little over an hour outside the metro, this southwestern community has earned the distinction of being one of the least expensive places to do business in the Upper Midwest. Breathtaking landscape, scenic rivers, lakes, bluffs, and prairies provide a stunning backdrop to a state-of-the-art city with more than 14 hotels and a convention center with capacity for 6500.

Services:  The experienced staff at Visit Mankato are ready to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with bidding assistance, site inspections, program planning, shuttle transportation, media and public relations, guest tours and events, visitor information, a grant program, and video production.

Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Profile:  Head due south from the Twin Cities and in one hour, you’ll be transported to Owatonna, known as the “Jewel of the Prairie.” This tree-filled city built on the shore of the Straight River is teaming with parks and trials, exciting outdoor activities year-round, shopping, entertainment and a downtown listed as a National Register Historic District.

Services:  Owatonna’s capable and friendly tourism team can help with competitive bid presentations, requests to lodging properties, room block assistance, free welcome bags with visitor guides, maps and coupons, arrange a welcome by local dignitaries, and schedule group tours to local attractions. Additionally, a small grant program can help with the costs of advertising, meeting space, bus tours, and other convention needs.

Red Wing CVB

Profile:  Take a scenic one-hour drive south of the cities to historic Red Wing, a unique and charming river city beside the mighty Mississippi. Visitors enjoy picturesque bluffs, historic sites, year-round activities, and world-famous Red Wing Shoe Store and Red Wing Stoneware & Pottery shop. From quaint B&Bs to historic hotels and roomy motels, there is an abundance of comfy lodging sites to accommodate any budget.

Services:  With more than 40 venues in the area, the Red Wing CBV team is happy to help assist with your planning needs. They provide info on activities, dining, and local events, and will help customize your meeting or event experience. 

Discover Stillwater

Profile:  A quick 30-minute jaunt east of the metro lies Stillwater, a picturesque town nestled up to the scenic St. Croix River and long considered the birthplace of Minnesota. It’s a place where paddle wheel riverboats and gondolas navigate the waters, shoppers hunt for treasures at more than 100 boutiques and shops, and local wineries and breweries encourage sampling. Stillwater boasts over 400 lodging rooms, some of the best cuisine around, and limitless indoor/outdoor activities.

Services:  Voted best Small Town CVB in Minnesota in 2015 and 2016, the Stillwater CVB team is ready to help you with group activity ideas, venue suggestions, free visitor guides, travel planning assistance, and more.

Minneapolis Northwest Tourism

Profile:  The vibrant cities represented by Minneapolis Northwest include Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, and Maple Grove. Just minutes from downtown Minneapolis, this area features nearly 20 hotels with 2200 guest rooms, two venues with over 50,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a wide variety of restaurants, outdoor recreation, sports facilities, attractions, and more.

Services:  The expert staff at Minneapolis Northwest Tourism are available to assist you with a grant program designed to offset your event costs, as well as arrange site visits, find group lodging, provide area information and welcome packets, assist with arranging entertainment and dining options, and on-site registration help.

Twin Cities Gateway

Profile:  This collection of northwest suburbs are just minutes from the cities and includes Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Moundsview, New Brighton and Shoreview. From the National Sports Center in Blaine with 75,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space to TPC Twin Cities with its championship golf course, these growing communities have much to offer. Twenty-two lodging properties, more than 70 dining options, biking and hiking trails, parks, shopping, and entertainment make Twin City Gateway the ideal spot for your meeting or event.

Services:  Twin City Gateway offers a comprehensive website detailing all the information a planner needs to know about the communities, including hotels, activities, dining, venues, and more.

Discover St. Louis Park

Profile:  Just 15 minutes west of the Twin Cities, St. Louis Park offers big city amenities while delivering small town charm. With its central location, seven comfortable hotels, wide variety of restaurants, bistros and cafes, and proximity to venues, golf, theater, shops, Target Field, and Target Center, the possibility of a memorable meeting is assured.

Services:  Discover SLP offers a host of complimentary services, including venue recommendations, bid presentation materials, liaison services with hotels and community assets, coordination of site visits, transportation grant opportunities, publicity, welcome packets, assistance finding speakers, entertainment catering, and more.

Explore Hutchinson

Profile:  Known as “Minnesota’s Hometown” this welcoming city is located just one hour west of the metro. Comfortable hotels, dozens of restaurant choices, two golf courses, and the scenic Luce Line State trail that runs right through town makes Hutchinson the ideal spot for your meeting or event.

Services:  Hutchinson’s online visitor’s guide is an easy-to-use guide developed by the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce with details on lodging, dining, parks and amenities, outdoor recreation, shopping, activities, and meeting and event facilities.

Willmar Lakes Area CVB

Profile:  Just as the name implies, Willmar Lakes area is filled with lakes…more than 100 of them! There’s also 81 holes of golf, dozens of hotels, motels, B+Bs, and resorts, along with almost 90 restaurants, year-round activities and attractions, art galleries, aquatics, museums, wineries, and much more.

Services:  The crew at the Wilmar Lakes Area CVB is more than happy to tailor their services to your needs. They’ll assist in coordinating meeting space, lodging, spouse programs, special events and group tours. Plus, you’ll be given access to their pool of community resources and connections to plan the perfect meeting or event.

St. Cloud Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Profile:  A little over an hour northwest of the metro lies St. Cloud, located along four major highways so it’s easy to get to. Downtown is within walking distance of hundreds of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. The River’s Edge Convention Center offers 60,000 square feet of exhibit space with 13,000 square feet of breakout space.

Services:  The team at Greater St. Cloud CVB is there to help you through every step of planning including housing arrangements, event promotion, tour programs, collateral material design, as well as assist with locating the ideal event venue. They’ll help out with a welcome center, registration assistance, name badges, and digital visitor services, along with dozens more services all available to you at no charge.

For a complete list of Minnesota Convention + Visitors Bureaus, view our directory, here.

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