Denise Olsen
Credit: Enjoy Eagan

Denise Olsen is starting her 17th year with Enjoy Eagan, and as senior sales director, her main role is working with tour operators, travel agents, and group planners as they create itineraries that include Eagan, Minnesota. “I love offering ideas and suggestions and focus not only on Eagan, but Minnesota as a whole,” Olsen says. We chatted with Olsen to learn more about Eagan’s group-friendly offerings.

Q. How would you describe Eagan to someone who has never visited before?

A. Eagan is located south of St. Paul, and just east of Minnesota’s largest tourist attraction, the Mall of America. We are literally less than 30 minutes from any of the main attractions in the Twin Cities area.

Q. What makes Eagan a great place for group tours?

A. We are a great location in that we offer easy freeway access, all hotels have free on-site motorcoach parking, most hotels include breakfast in their rate, and Eagan has a 3% lodging tax. Groups staying here in Eagan receive Enjoy Eagan gift bags including fun Eagan goodies! We also have great shopping with Twin Cities Premium Outlets in Eagan and the Mall of America just a short distance away. We are now home to the Minnesota Vikings and the Vikings Museum (one of only five NFL team museums in the country). If you have groups that enjoy the outdoors, then Lebanon Hills Regional Park is the place with more than 2,000 acres of hiking, biking, canoeing, SUP, bonfires, and educational programming.

Twin Cities Premium Outlets
Credit: Enjoy Eagan

Q. How does Enjoy Eagan help tour operators plan their group tours?

A. I’m happy to work with any tour planner on itinerary ideas! I have two- and three-night tours that can be sent out at a minute’s notice and also work with many of the local attractions to make setting up tours and visits easy for the planner.

Q. Are there areas, themes, or activities you would like to promote to group tours right now?

A. We love to welcome groups to Viking Lakes. This new development includes the Vikings Museum and is also home to the Minnesota Vikings training camp, held in late July-mid-August. The Twin Cities boasts some of the best live performance venues in the country, including Chanhassen Dinner Theatres as well as Hennepin Theatre Trust and other smaller venues scattered throughout the area. With the Mississippi River flowing through Minneapolis and St. Paul, I always encourage groups to get out on the river and experience its peacefulness and serenity by taking a cruise with Padelford Riverboats.

Q. What’s your long-term outlook for group tours in Eagan?

A. We, like many other destinations, took a hit during the pandemic and we are definitely seeing an uptick in motorcoaches rolling into Minnesota. Our numbers have not yet returned to 2019 levels, but interest is strong, and we are excited to invite everyone to come Enjoy Eagan!

Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Credit: Enjoy Eagan

Q. Is there anything new or upcoming in Eagan that group tour should know about?

A. There are so many wonderful group tour options with many of them being free due to a strong philanthropic community that supports the arts here in Minnesota. The Como Conservatory is wonderful and offers seasonal flower shows all year long (and it’s free). The Minnesota Historical Society has locations throughout Minnesota offering unique insights into Minnesota’s past and present.

Q. Is there anything else our audience of tour operators should know about Eagan?

A. Eagan offers 20 hotels options (from limited service to the full-service 4-star Omni Viking Lakes hotel). With a low lodging tax, free Enjoy Eagan gift bags, personalized itinerary assistance, and convenient access to all attractions, we are the place to stay when visiting the Twin Cities area.

Lead Image:
Omni Viking Lakes Hotel
Credit: Enjoy Eagan