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Data: STR; Chart: Axios Visuals

Twin Cities hotels weathered a devastating dip in business in 2020 — and local tourism experts warn the pain will likely continue well into this year.

By the numbers: Area hotels' occupancy rate plunged to 33% in 2020 from 66% in 2019, the lowest rate among the top 25 metros nationwide,  according to STR, a global hospitality benchmarking company.

Driving the trend: Travel, including business trips and lucrative conference bookings, nosedived during the pandemic.

  • While conditions are starting to improve, just 20% of hotels statewide think business will rebound to pre-pandemic levels by this summer, per a recent state industry survey.

What to watch: Concerns about last summer's unrest and the prospect of more protests during the upcoming trials of the four police officers charged in George Floyd's death might hinder the local rebound, Explore Minnesota CEO John Edman told Axios.

  • "It's a nerve-wracking time for a lot of the folks in the hotel community," he said.
  • "The concern [is] about the trials and what that's going to do for peoples' feeling of embracing the city, safety, and things like that. That they’re going to have to overcome."'

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

A sneak peek inside Minnesota's only 5-star hotel

This rendering shows what the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Minneapolis will look like. Photo: Smallwood Architects

Developer United Properties shared this not-yet-publicized rendering of the Four Seasons lobby in downtown Minneapolis with Axios.

The state of play: The 222-room hotel — which will be Minnesota's only five-star property — is part of the 37-story RBC Gateway Tower office-retail-condo project at Nicollet and Washington, the largest current development in the Twin Cities at a cost north of $400 million. It's set to open in 2022.

The mad dash for COVID vaccines among Minnesota seniors

Data: Minnesota Department of Health; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Minnesota's system for scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for citizens 65 and older again saw extraordinary demand this week.

By the numbers: More than 226,000 seniors entered the lottery for one of just 9,425 doses available at state pilot sites this week, MDH told Axios.

Jan 29, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

A new proposal to overhaul the Minneapolis Police Department

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Minneapolis Police Department would be replaced with a new entity responsible for "various public safety functions" under a draft ballot measure introduced by three council members.

What's happening: The proposed charter amendment would maintain a division with police officers but remove a requirement to maintain a minimum head count based on population.