State GOP and DFL conventions help Rochester hospitality get back on its feet

(ABC 6 News) – The city of Rochester is on its way back to a pre-pandemic economy thanks to some help from state leaders.

Last week, the Mayo Civic Center hosted the Minnesota GOP for their state convention. Now, setup is underway for the Minnesota DFL’s convention. While those events are about politics, for the city of Rochester, it’s about getting the hospitality industry to where it was pre-pandemic.

Between both conventions, the city is expecting 3,500 people. The group Experience Rochester expects about $2.3 million will be spent in the community between the two conventions. Total hotel revenue is also seeing good numbers as it’s back to 90% of what it was pre-pandemic, with a full recovery predicted by 2024.

"It’s really exciting to see that it’s coming back because it’s critically important. Our hospitality industry was the most affected probably of any industry. Certainly in Rochester, as well as throughout the country," said Joe Ward, president of Experience Rochester.

Putting on an event like this is not an overnight process for the Mayo Civic Center, or local hotels. Especially for back-to-back weekends.

"When you’re putting an event like that together, you reach out to all of the hotel partners that can accommodate a group like that. They’ll submit bids for certain rooms and room rates," added Ward. "By the nature of an event like that, they’re typically drawn more to the downtown hotels."

The Rochester Chamber of Commerce president, Ryan Parsons said in a statement to ABC 6 News: "The most immediate impact we see is in our restaurants, retail, and hotels. But the long-term impacts are great too because when people leave here, they return home and remember their Rochester experience. The goal is they plan a visit to the city again."

Rochester Public Transit said parking ramps and meters bring in about $10,000 on your average Friday night. For the Friday night of the Minnesota GOP convention, that number rose to $20,000.