header 2011
Tourism & U: News you can use

The Tourism Center is a collaboration of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
and the University of Minnesota Extension.

Fall 2011
In this issue
Quality of life
Event evaluations
All aboard: get online already
Have you seen...!?
Recently read
Quick Links
Tourism Fact

Transportation is only 12% of MN visitor expenditures!

EMT 2011


Fall 2011 is bringing not only a change of leaves, but also administration at the University! At the highest level, President Kaler has joined the University and identified us as the 'engine of the state.' His keen interest in business and community relations bodes well for those in tourism.
The Tourism Center also welcomes new adminstrative support: Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen will join our team, please welcome her! Jodie Kaden will remain an integral part of the team, with the opportunity to focus on the educational components of our work. 

Certainly the fall season brings transitions to your business or community rhythms too. Although change can be difficult, we hope your transitions go smoothly for you: if not, let us know how we can help! Enjoy this update and share your ideas, concerns and opportunities with us at anytime via phone, email, Facebook or Twitter 

Ingrid Schneider, Ph.D.
Director, 612-624-4947, ingridss@umn.edu


Quality of life


"Quality of life" is a commonly used term. Defining quality of life, however, is an ongoing challenge that experts often take on with minimal limited input from citizens.  Groundbreaking research with MnDOT sought citizen input on what comprises quality of life and what role transportation plays in it. The research encompassed three phases between 2010 and 2011: 1) an extensive literature review on quality of life, 2) 24 focus groups that asked Minnesota's citizens about their quality of life, and 3) a mail questionnaire about what matters in quality of life, transportation and their intersection. Find our annotated bibliography and focus group report online and look for the survey report soon!


This work builds on similarly innovative Quality of life and byways literature review we did in 2009 and quantitative work in 2010 on Lake Country Byway and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway. We are honored to be invited to present this work at the Transportation Research Board in January!

Event evaluations: emerging and established 


Who's coming to your event? What are they buying? Should we charge admission...or charge more for this festival? These are just some of the questions event organizers have, regardless of the event's life cycle. This summer we worked with both new and more established events to help them understand their consumers and business practices.


June found us in Blackduck, Minn. working to understand patrons to the first Showy Ladyslipper Festival. Our onsite data collection revealed that 80% or more of their visitors were satisfied with the festival, felt they learned something about the ladyslipper, and intended to return to the area! Great news for the inaugural event! See the report or take a quick glance at a summary of results.


In August, we were invited back to work with the Irish Fair of Minnesota and learn about their guests. More than 60% of their attendees were repeat visitors and 80% or more were satisfied with the event. Our Irish Fair report details the expenditures and expectations of those attending: enjoy the report or the quick glance of summary results.


If you're interested in Festival & Event Management education, consider our online course next winter!

All aboard....get online, already! 


Google recently estimated less than half of Minnesota businesses are online. Given the push toward online sales and information seeking, particularly for travel, the tourism industry needs to get online, already! 


Check out our internet education offerings and get on the map with a workshop on advertising in a digital age!  Initially developed for use in 18 Minnesota communities, Extension is helping all businesses work together to use the Internet for marketing, sales, customer communication, and customer support. The MIRC initiative offers communities workshops, strategy discussions, and consultation to guide planning through the end of 2012.

Where can and will you find our work?!

Tourism Center staff continue to be on the move within the state, nation and world!

Perhaps you've recently seen our work at one of these recent events?

  • Transportation and Livability Performance Measures Conference in Austin, Texas?
  • Real Estate Journal Conference Hospitatity & Entertainment Summit in St. Paul?
  • National Scenic Byways Conference in Minneapolis, Minn.?
  • Ethnic Cultural Tourism Destinations Conference in St. Paul, Minn.?
  • International Association of Community Development Professionals in Lisbon, Portugal?


Look for us at one of these upcoming events:

  • International Society of Travel & Tourism Educators Workshop in Miami, Fla., or
  • Minnesota Main Street in Wilmar, Minn.!


Check out our educational offerings and research to spark your interests and expand your horizons. Contact us for presentations or projects!

Recently read: Boring meetings...what?

According to Jon Petz, "Boring Meetings Suck". You can't really argue with the title, can you? However, you can take responsibility both as a meeting attendee and organizer. This book is a wealth of tips and ideas to enhance your meetings, no matter the size or formality. Meeting planners and those dealing with a daily grind of meetings will benefit from the ideas which range from simply to "get outside" or have "standing meetings" to more complex and interesting ways to embrace the inevitable use of social media. He challenges you to add to his trademarked "suckification reduction devices" (SRD's) and start a movement toward better meetings. Enjoy!