Hey Rochester: Let’s be a first-rate version of ourselves, not a second rate version of someone else!

Brad Jones, Blog Author
Brad Jones, Blog Author

As I watch many cities across North America become similar versions of one another those which really stand out to me are destinations which are distinctive and have a personality all to their own. In my opinion, the cities and destinations who concentrate on the essence of who they are will differentiate themselves from the clutter of similarity so prevalent in today’s quest to be relevant and successful as a visitor destination.

For years Mayo Clinic has been the gold standard for the health care industry. With varied success many have tried to copy or emulate portions of Mayo’s model and delivery methods. As government and market pressures are forcing the entire health care industry to reshape itself, Mayo Clinic has begun to reshape how they deliver world class healthcare. Mayo Clinic and other destination medical centers have come to understand that the destination component of the overall patient experience is equally important to their patients, and support travel companions but also to their workforce who deliver these services. This is precisely why the Destination Medical Center economic development initiative is so important to the State of Minnesota.

Rochester has an amazing and diverse variety of offerings, from our incredible independent restaurants and retail to our natural resources, vibrant neighborhoods and evolving downtown vibe. DMC will build on these attributes to further exemplify what is desired by our more than 2.5 million visitors each year, likely to be over 5 million annually by 2025. Although it is important to understand what other destination medical centers are doing, it will be tempting to copy others, as they have done to Mayo Clinic for years. I encourage us all to lead, be unique and different from other communities and destination medical centers. Let’s build from what has made Rochester and Mayo Clinic successful and manage the Rochester destination experience based on confidence rather than fear.

People will ultimately make the difference!

From Rochester’s early days, and more so today, our community has been built on hospitality. The cornerstone of Rochester is that we treat others (guests and fellow residents) as we would want to be treated. Our businesses and organizations operate under this simple yet extremely difficult promise which creates a culture of service excellence within our destination. I have the privilege of witnessing the great people who deliver on this promise each and every day…they, are the everyday hero’s who will make our success and DMC possible. The people who deliver the hands-on service in Rochester continue to inspire, The stories of caring and understanding that they create truly make a difference.

As we write the Destination Medical Center chapter of Rochester’s rich history and State of Minnesota enables Rochester to recapture a small percentage of our new tax growth, we will appoint a DMC authority to ‘officially’ begin this quest of evolving toward the world’s best Destination Medical Center. We will see new buildings, new streets, new businesses and new needed infrastructure, all of which are important and necessary components to the process. In the end people will make the difference – caring people, understanding people, hospitable people! We must use this ‘Hospitality Promise’ to guide us through change and growth. This promise will be carried forward by our nurses, taxi drivers, food servers, housekeepers, maintenance staff, shuttle bus drivers, doctors, bellman, volunteers, desk agents etc. – Let’s not ever forget the power of us, the people!

Brad Jones is executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau