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Venues & Destinations
Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Prepares for Full Slate of Conventions and Events in 2019
One of Philadelphia’s key economic indicators – hotel room nights – is signaling a prosperous year ahead for the tourism industry. In 2019, hotel room nights booked by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) through meetings, conventions, and events are currently pacing 60,000 room nights ahead of 2018, a 12% increase year over year. Fueled by 19 citywide conventions and events, which is the same number as 2018, Philadelphia is expected to see a greater return from the meeting and convention segment than has been achieved in more than a decade.
Many of the major groups and events arriving in Philadelphia this year are repeat customers who have held successful events here in the past – a testament to hard work and long-term relationships cultivated by the teams at the PHLCVB and the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Returning to the city will be LIGHTFAIR International (May 19-23), the BIO International Convention (June 3-6), the International Society for Technology in Education (June 23-26), and the 120th Army-Navy Game (December 14). Collectively, they will generate sales of more than 110,000 total room nights. Although the year is marked by several important first-time conventions, business retention has been critical to sustaining and building on the progress of the tourism and hospitality industry in Philadelphia County, which supports close to 77,000 jobs.
“Meeting planners who select Philadelphia to host their meeting or convention are getting intrinsic value from our destination, including record breaking attendance due to our prime East Coast location as well as our standing as a top knowledge capital,” said Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Julie Coker Graham. “Our high customer satisfaction rating has had an impact on prospective groups who are hearing about Philadelphia’s attention to detail and superb execution – made possible by the hard-working team at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and our hotel partners.”
Enhancements to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, including installations from local artists and new LED video displays have provided aesthetic and technological upgrades. Since 2016, $18 million has been allocated to these improvements, and another $10 million will be used for other innovations in the next year. Last year, operations were strengthened with the hiring of Regional General Manager Kelvin Moore, and the five-year renewal of SMG as the official management partner.
“High caliber tourism and hospitality jobs – one of the largest employment sectors in the city – are boosting Philadelphia’s economy, and we anticipate continued growth in the years to come,” said Pennsylvania Convention Center President and CEO John McNichol. “We protect the future of our assets by investing in them today, maintaining our edge in an industry that is becoming more competitive every year.”
Part of the formula for bringing in more meetings and conventions to Philadelphia are the PHLCVB’s business development divisions, devoted to three key market segments: PHL Diversity, PHL Life Sciences, and PHL Sports.
PHL Diversity, a first-of-its-kind division for a destination marketing organization (DMO), will host the 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Conference at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia (March 25-26). In a partnership with Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and Lodging Media, the two-day conference will bring national thought leaders to the city to discuss the direction of corporate social responsibility and minority-owned business leadership. In addition, PHL Diversity played an important role in PHLCVB’s efforts in securing several high profile groups for Philadelphia in 2019, including Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.’s Grand Chapter Meeting (July 30 – Aug. 4).
In 2019, PHL Life Sciences-related events will represent more than 225,000 total room nights. The PHLCVB is the country’s only DMO with a dedicated life sciences business development division. Anchored by the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting (May 4-10), BIO, the American Heart Association’s ‘Scientific Sessions’ (Nov. 15-19), and the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (March 17-21), PHL Life Sciences will support 12 citywide conventions this year.
PHL Sports, responsible for promoting Philadelphia as a national sporting event destination, will again partner with Drexel University and the Philadelphia Eagles to host the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships during Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27) at Lincoln Financial Field. Estimated total attendance for the three day event is more than 70,000, and is expected to generate nearly 10,000 group and leisure hotel room nights in the city. The annual Army-Navy Game, also hosted at Lincoln Financial Field, will make its 89th appearance in Philadelphia in December 2019 and is expected to generate more than 25,000 group and leisure room nights. The 2019 sports calendar also included the NHL Stadium Series and the SheBelieves Cup (women’s soccer), and has NEQ Volleyball, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals (men’s soccer) through the next six months.
A complete snapshot of 2019 citywide conventions can be found below:
The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) creates positive economic impact across the Philadelphia region, driving job growth, and promoting the health and vibrancy of our hospitality industry by marketing the destination and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and attracting overnight visitors. Our work engages our local community, as well as culturally and ethnically diverse regional, national and international convention, sporting event and tourism customers. For more information go to www.discoverPHL.com.
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