Release Date: June 17, 2019
Minnesota Resorts Continue Trend of Increased Sales, Declining Number of Properties in 2017
Sales and state sales tax at Minnesota resorts grew for the eighth consecutive year in 2017. This growth occurred even as the number of resorts declined, just as it has every year since consistent annual resort reporting resumed in 2004. According to a recently released report from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, gross sales increased 2.1% to $306.3 million in 2017 and state sales tax increased 1.6% to $18.6 million. This continued a trend of annual growth in resort sales and state sales tax that started in 2010. The number of Minnesota resorts reported for 2017 (i.e., 716) represented a decrease of 24 resorts (-3.2%), following a similar annual decline of 28 resorts (-3.6%) in 2016. Between 2004 and 2017, gross sales at Minnesota resorts increased 34.5% while the number of resorts decreased 27.2%.
The following three graphs show a timeline of gross sales, state sales tax and number of Minnesota resorts from 2004 through 2017, including regional and statewide totals. (Resort data in the graphs is available in a series of annual reports, accessible via links found immediately below the graphs. The reports include county level detail.) The graphs depict growth through 2007, followed by recession-related declines in 2008 and 2009 before a return to growth in 2010. Four regions through 2006 were replaced by five regions starting in 2007 after reconfiguration of tourism regions. Since then, resort activity has been similar for each of the three northern regions (i.e., northwest, central and northeast regions), as evidenced by the close proximity of their lines on the graphs.
Total sales activity at the relatively few metro and southern region resorts has been considerably lower than for northern regions, as evidenced by the overlapping metro and southern region lines at the bottom of the graphs through 2010. Starting in 2011, the small amount of remaining metro resort activity was distributed equitably among the other regions in order to avoid disclosing specific information about them when the number of metro resorts dropped below four that year. The scale of southern regional activity makes it is hard to see that the southern region saw substantial declines in gross sales (-27%) and state sales tax (-42%) in 2017, along with the biggest proportional decline in the number of resorts (-16%) among regions. Southern was the only region to experience 2017 sales and tax declines.
Complete annual sales tax statistics for Minnesota resorts, by region and county, beginning with 2004. Two additional reports cover 1985 through 2000, one providing the number of resorts and the other providing gross sales at resorts for most of the years during this period. (Note: The Minnesota Department of Revenue did not provide resort reports for all of these years.)
2016 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2015 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2014 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2013 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2012 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2011 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2010 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2009 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2008 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2007 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2006 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2005 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
2004 Resort Sales & Use Tax Statistics
1985 - 2000 Number of Minnesota Resorts, by County
1985 - 2000 Gross Sales at Minnesota Resorts, by County
Release Date: June 19, 2019
Metrics include data for the most current available month, and year-to-date data through that month.
Updated on 6/19/19 with data through May 2019.
To comply with STR's conditions for re-publishing this data, EMT will replace the posted data with data for the subsequent month, when it is provided to EMT. This will typically take place approximately 18 to 20 days after the end of the month in question. At that time, only data for the new current month will be available. Lodging performance data for previous months and years can be purchased from STR.
Republication or other re-use of this data without the express written permission of STR is strictly prohibited.
Release Date: Jun 3, 2019
- Overview: A recent Explore Minnesota Tourism (EMT) survey revealed that Minnesota lodging and camping properties have positive expectations for the upcoming summer season. More than a third of respondents (36%) expect occupancy to be up this summer compared with last summer, and a larger portion (43%) expect revenue to be up. By contrast, only 18% of respondents expect summer occupancy to be down and 18% of respondents expect revenue to be down. Respondents to the pre-summer 2019 survey were upbeat about the financial health of their businesses. Results for spring business levels were less positive, due in part to another late and wet spring. Respondents attributed their positive summer expectations to continued strength in the economy, but some of these same respondents noted uncertainty about the future of the economy. Many comments reflected recent themes of challenges related to private rentals and workforce shortages.
- Expectations for Summer 2019 (June through August): Survey responses pointed toward overall improvement in summer 2019 occupancy and revenue, when compared with summer 2018. Positive expectations outnumbered negative expectations 2-to-1 for occupancy and by an even greater margin for revenue. (Note: For this and other questions about year-over-year changes, only the direction and not the degree of change was ascertained.) The strength of these expectations is further enhanced when taking into account that the 2018 summer season, i.e., the point of comparison for 2019 expectations, was another good summer in a string of recent strong summer seasons for Minnesota accommodations.
A weighted average 36% of respondents expect their upcoming summer occupancy to be up, 46% expect it to be the same, and 18% expect it to be down from last summer. These occupancy expectations are similar to expectations a year ago for summer 2018, when 39% of respondents expected summer 2018 occupancy to be up, 43% expected it to be the same, and 18% expected occupancy to be down from summer 2017. (Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding. Also, see "rebalancing by accommodation type" below for an explanation of weighted averages.) Positive summer 2019 occupancy expectations were reflected in results for all accommodation types and all Minnesota tourism regions.
Expectations for summer 2019 revenue are even more positive than occupancy expectations. A weighted average 43% of respondents expect upcoming summer revenue to be up, 39% expect it to be the same, and 18% expect it to be down from last summer. A year ago, 41% of respondents expected summer 2018 revenue to be up, 41% expected it to be the same, and 18% expected it to be down from summer 2017. Continuing a trend of recent years, revenue expectations that exceed occupancy expectations reflect rate increases.
Among the reasons respondents cited for their positive outlook for summer were a continued good economy, strong customer service, their own good marketing, social media inspiration, property expansions and improvements, higher rates and hope/expectations for better weather. A few resort respondents with "same" expectations for summer occupancy noted that they are always at capacity during the summer, so raising rates is their only way to experience growth (i.e., revenue growth only). Summer business for some respondents is hampered by increased room supply in their area, both from traditional properties and an increase in private rentals available. Campground operators were optimistic about business prospects into the future, citing increased interest in the camping experience.
- Spring 2019 Business Levels: Similar to a year ago, a late arrival of spring and cool, wet spring weather posed challenges for survey respondents, especially those featuring outdoor experiences. Overall, survey respondents reported lower occupancy and revenue in spring (i.e., April and May) 2019 compared with spring of 2018. A weighted average 24% of respondents reported that spring 2019 occupancy was up, 45% reported it to be the same, and 31% reported occupancy to be down from a year earlier. For spring revenue, 29% of respondents reported that it was up, 40% reported it to be the same, and 31% reported it to be down from spring 2018 levels. The metro was the only region of the state with net positive spring business results for both occupancy and revenue, where more respondents reported that occupancy and revenue were up than reported that they were down. The boost provided by the NCAA Men's Final Four basketball tournament at U.S. Bank Stadium in early April likely contributed to these results.
- Financial Health: Continuing a trend of the past few years, a very high portion (80%) of survey respondents were positive about the current financial health of their business. A weighted average 23% of respondents rated their business as "growing" and 56% rated it as "stable, but positive." On the negative side, 13% of respondents rated their business as "stable but negative" and 6% rated it as "declining." Two percent of respondents said they didn't know. While financial health results skewed positive for all accommodation types and regions, more resorts and campgrounds and northeast Minnesota respondents reported positive financial health than respondents from other lodging types and regions.
- Primary Business Goals: A new question on this survey asked about respondents' primary business goals in 2019, aside from strictly profit-oriented goals. Responses focused on improving customer satisfaction, retaining both existing customers and staff, and generating additional business by way of guest referrals and improved social media presence. Some goals were oriented toward property improvements or expansions, and several addressed expanding business during slower periods, whether they be weekdays, weekends or off/shoulder seasons. A few respondents addressed getting out of debt, or transitioning their property via sale, liquidation or passing it on to the next generation.
- Current "Heavy" Issues: Another new question asked what issue is currently weighing most heavily on respondents and the success of their properties. Staffing shortages continued a thread of workforce-related issues seen in responses to all open-ended questions. Representative responses include "no help!!" and "lack of and quality of staff available." A number of respondents reflected on increased room supply and associated downward pressure on rates in their market, including competition from private rentals that present "… so many choices for vacationers, just a click away." On the flip side of that issue, a vacation home rental respondent commented about "the county's negative attitude toward Airbnb/VRBO operators and desire to add regs and fees." Some respondents are challenged by the expenses required to replace equipment and otherwise maintain aging properties. A number of responses to this and the following economic outlook question cited taxes/property taxes as an issue, including concerns about the impact of the proposed 20 cent gas tax increase while it was still under consideration at the legislature. That tax increase was not passed into law.
- Economic Outlook, and Resulting Shifts in Business Approach: The final new question on this survey asked for respondents' outlook on where the economy is headed and what, if anything, they are doing differently because of it. Considerable variation emerged regarding respondents' economic outlook, including a few "great" and "growing" responses, numerous "positive" and "good" responses, and also numerous "slowing," "softening" and "down" responses, some of which were accompanied by notes of concerns about what may be on the horizon. Some of those concerns referenced economic uncertainty in the face of political unrest, plus numerous mentions about the impact of staffing shortages on the economic outlook for the respondent's business. Many respondents are continuing their current strategies of providing good value and good customer service, regardless of their outlook. Some noted that they are taking measures in accordance with their outlook, from continued expansions/improvements and winterizing resort cabins in order to improve future business prospects, to controlling expenses and building up cash reserves in anticipation of a down period. Expanded and more strategic marketing was also noted as a hedge on an economic downturn.
- General Comments: The survey asked respondents to comment on anything else, including trends they have observed or things that are likely to impact their summer business. Several responses noted customers' last minute planning and shorter stays (i.e., at resorts), but fewer responses reflected customers' interest in deals and discounts compared with previous surveys. This may reflect a shift to a new normal. A few responses reflected increased demand for camping versus indoor accommodations, including "… a growing need for campgrounds to accommodate people working in the area and living in their RV's." Many of the remaining responses to this question were similar to responses already noted above for other open-ended questions, including numerous ones addressing perceived unfair competition with private rentals.
- Survey Invitation Lists, and Response Rates: Explore Minnesota Tourism (EMT) conducted an informal, unscientific online survey in May 2019, soliciting responses by email from 1,670 accommodations (indoor lodging properties and campgrounds) throughout Minnesota that have provided EMT with an email address. A total of 222 responses were received for a 13% response rate. All respondents indicated that they would be open during the summer 2019 season (question 2), so qualified to proceed through the survey. Among the respondents, 213 (96%) completed the entire survey. Results reported here reflect self-reported data from all survey respondents.
- Responses by Accommodation Type: The distribution of survey responses by type of property over-represented B&B/historic inns (10% of responses, 7% of total distribution), and under-represented hotel/motels (32% of responses, 36% of distribution), campgrounds (13% of responses, 15% of distribution) and resorts (35% of respondents, 36% of total distribution). Eleven percent of respondents checked "other, including vacation home rental" as their accommodation type. Vacation home rentals were among 6% of the total survey distribution list that was not represented by a specific accommodation category on the survey.
- Rebalancing by Accommodation Type: Results for most survey questions were rebalanced to minimize the distortion caused by substantial overrepresentation or underrepresentation of respondents in some accommodation types. Weighted average results reflect Minnesota's distribution of properties by accommodation type (found above under "responses by accommodation type").
- Responses by Region: The distribution of survey responses across Minnesota's five tourism regions overrepresented the northeast region (28% of responses, 23% of total distribution) and the central region (24% of responses, 22% of distribution). By contrast, survey responses underrepresented the northwest region (16% of responses, 19% of distribution), the southern region (16% of responses, 19% of distribution) and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro region (15% of responses, 17% of distribution).
Summary statistics for the survey can be viewed online at Results for Survey Questions.
Release Date: Sep 11, 2018
- Overview: Results from a recent Explore Minnesota survey of Minnesota lodging and camping properties reveal a successful summer 2018 travel season. The informal survey showed summer 2018 occupancy and revenue levels to be up overall, compared with summer 2017. Positive results extended across all accommodation types, especially resorts and campgrounds, and most regions of the state. Minnesota’s hotel/motel sector showed positive results, despite challenges related to significant pre-Super Bowl room supply growth that was concentrated in the Metro region.
The survey also provided a positive assessment of business expectations for the upcoming fall season for all accommodation types and Minnesota regions, as well as a continuation of positive financial health among Minnesota accommodations. Open-ended responses attributed the successful summer to sustained strength in the economy and payoffs from respondents’ improved marketing efforts, but also noted challenges related to increased room supply and private vacation rentals.
Release Date: May 7, 2019
This article and graphs are provided under permission granted by STR, Inc., the source of the data.
Minnesota experienced declines in five of six lodging metrics during the first quarter of 2019. It is no surprise that the positive impacts of the Super Bowl VII event in early February 2018 translated into negatives, by comparison, in the first quarter of 2019. This was especially the case for the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. The year started with big declines for most metrics in January and February, before turning to modest growth for all metrics in March. Statewide room supply growth remained steady and positive throughout the quarter. Two sets of graphs, with links below, show changes in Minnesota’s lodging metrics for the first quarter of 2019 and monthly for the last 12 months.
First Quarter 2019 Lodging Performance Changes for Minnesota, the U.S., the Region and Minnesota Areas – Five of Minnesota’s six lodging metrics saw negative growth during the first quarter of 2019, compared with the first quarter of 2018. The biggest declines were in the three revenue-related metrics of revenue per available room (i.e., RevPAR, -12.5%), revenue (-10.4%) and average daily room rates (-10.1%). Statewide first quarter demand growth was just short of flat (-0.3%). However, occupancy declined more substantially (-2.7%), attributable in part to 2.5% room supply growth – the only metric to show positive statewide first quarter growth. Room supply growth was distributed throughout the metro area, as well as in the St. Cloud/I-94 corridor and southern Minnesota area, exclusive of Rochester and Mankato.
With the exception of room supply growth, first quarter 2019 U.S. and regional (i.e., the seven-state West North Central U.S.) lodging performance exceeded Minnesota’s, with stronger growth for the remaining five metrics. Greater Minnesota first quarter growth exceeded Metro area growth for the same five lodging metrics, i.e., all except supply growth. Among Minnesota’s 11 distinct market areas (i.e., five in the metro and six in greater Minnesota), the metro’s Minneapolis area (i.e., ground zero for Super Bowl VII) saw the biggest declines overall, while the three southern Minnesota areas saw the most growth overall.
Year-over-year first quarter changes in Minnesota lodging metrics (i.e., 2019 compared with 2018) and 2018 compared with 2017 (in parentheses) were:
Month-by-Month Lodging Performance for Minnesota – Super Bowl-related January and February dips are hard to miss on graphs of change in Minnesota’s monthly lodging metrics, with supply growth being the exception. Most metrics bounced back in March, aided by a calendar shift for Easter to a later April date in 2019. Travel is subdued for a few days leading up to Easter. By comparison, the last nine months of 2018 portray relatively stable and mostly positive growth, though the year ended with soft November and December lodging performance. Monthly occupancy and RevPAR growth during the second half of 2018 were negatively impacted as room supply growth ticked up each month, prior to leveling off around 2.5% during the first quarter of 2019. Supply growth peaked at 3.5% monthly growth in November 2018.
Click below for accompanying graphs of Minnesota lodging performance (repeats of links from above):
Detailed March and year-to-date lodging metrics for Minnesota can be viewed online for a limited time at Current STR Lodging Metrics for Minnesota. (Note: The most current available monthly lodging metrics are replaced by data for the subsequent month when they are provided by STR.)
Previous Quarterly Lodging Performance Reports
Release Date: Jan 14, 2019
This report provides annual counts of international arrivals at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, based on their country of origin and world region. It is solely based on passenger itineraries and does not designate passenger nationality.
New starting with the 2017 report, passenger volume is broken down into the following categories:
o Origin (more likely to be visitors to the U.S.)
o Destination (more likely to be U.S. residents)
o Other (insufficient information to categorize as origin or destination).
While statistics reflect itinerary origins, they provide no indication of passenger nationality or residency. Also, U.S. residents returning from international travels are not differentiated from residents of other countries arriving for a visit to the United States.
As an example, a passenger may have started in South Africa, flew to India, then France and on to MSP. Previous to 2017, reports provided no indication about whether the passenger was more likely to be an international visitor to the U.S. versus a U.S. resident returning from South Africa. However, starting in 2017, origin versus destination categorization provides that indication, as long as the point of origin was discernible from a single (i.e., round trip) itinerary.
Release Date: Jan 11, 2019
Complete annual sales tax statistics reports for Minnesota's Leisure and Hospitality Industry, beginning with 2004. Includes Accommodations; Food Services and Drinking Places; and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Industries, with a separate table in each annual report for each tourism region and county. The contents page (first page) serves as a guide to the geographic area(s) of interest to you.
2016 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2015 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2014 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2013 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2012 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2011 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2010 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2009 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2008 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2007 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2006 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2005 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
2004 Leisure and Hospitality Sales Tax Statistics
These statewide and regional lists include attractions for which attendance was monitored and reported to Explore Minnesota. Attractions on the lists are ranked by attendance and feature things to see or do that are entertaining, recreational or educational in nature, and cater to tourists. Additional information about the lists is provided in notes at the bottom of each list.
Release Date: September 17, 2018
Annual Minnesota Accommodations and Attractions Database Comparisons, beginning with 2002. Some lodging categories have changed over the years. Attractions were added in 2010, and appear as the last page of the report.
View the report here.
Release Date: Feb 28, 2019
Minnesota 2018 Tourism Advertising ROI Research, by Longwoods International, describes the research objectives and methodology, the campaign that was being evaluated and the findings. This report also includes the "Halo Effect" results from the Minnesota spring/summer 2017 campaign, along with survey results for social media and information sources used for travel planning.
A survey-based study of consumers in Minnesota's advertising markets provided fundamental strategic insights about the image of Minnesota, compared with a set of six competing states - Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Colorado, Illinois and Missouri.
The study also addressed the return on investment (ROI) of Explore Minnesota Tourism's spring/summer 2017 advertising campaign. The study provided estimates of incremental travel, travel spending and direct state and local taxes generated by the advertising campaign. These measures were combined with Explore Minnesota's investment in the campaign to arrive at estimates of the return on investment for travel spending and taxes.
This study also investigated the impact of travel advertising and visitation have on Minnesota's economic development image - the "halo effect." Results showed that both awareness of Explore Minnesota's advertising and actual travel to Minnesota in the past year had significant positive impacts on people's view of Minnesota as a good place to live and do things like start a business, attend college and retire.
The Economic Impact of the Spring/Summer 2018 Tourism Ad Campaign in Minnesota, by Tourism Economics, details the economic impacts associated with the advertising-generated travel and travel spending.
The Minnesota 2017 Tourism Advertising Evaluation and Image Study was conducted by Longwoods International. Reporting of results from the 2017 study includes a main report plus three appendices, presenting a level of detail not included in posted reports from previous years:
A survey-based study of consumers in Minnesota's advertising markets provided fundamental strategic insights about the image of Minnesota, compared with a set of six competing states - Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Colorado, Illinois and Missouri. The study also addressed the return on investment (ROI) of Explore Minnesota Tourism's spring/summer 2017 advertising campaign; and the impact of travel advertising and visitation have on Minnesota's economic development image - the "halo effect." Results demonstrated significant positive impacts on people's view of Minnesota as a good place to live and do things like start a business, attend college and retire.