The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau announced that 2016 was its highest convention booking year ever with 713 events and 903,199 hotel room nights secured for future years. This is an 18.2 percent increase in the number of events and a 5.8 percent increase in room nights secured during 2015.
Booked groups include the 2022 American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery/American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators Annual Symposium & Congress; the 2019 and 2025 National School Boards Association Annual Conference; and the 2026 Leading Age Annual Meeting & Expo. ASCRS/ASOA was last held in Philadelphia in 2002, noting dissatisfaction with their experience at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Since then, the center has undergone a transformation that include simplified work rules and a renewed spirit of cooperation among SMG, the PCCA and the labor unions working in the building. The National School Boards Association is a first-time group for Philadelphia; Leading Age was last held in Philadelphia prior to the changes at PCC.
"We are extremely proud of our teams at the PHLCVB and the PCC who have done significant work to secure both new groups and those who in previous years had said they would not return to Philadelphia," said PHLCVB President and CEO Julie Coker Graham. "As our Center, our labor unions and SMG continue to cultivate a strong customer-focused environment, Philadelphia can continue to look forward to a robust convention calendar for years to come."
The PHLCVB'S 2016 bookings include 28 citywide events compared to 25 in 2015. Almost 70 percent of the room nights secured for the future are related to meetings and conventions. In total, the meetings, conventions and events booked in 2016 are estimated to generate $1.3 billion in economic impact for Philadelphia and the surrounding region.
"Our commitment to efficient management and value for our customers is allowing the PCC and PHLCVB to bring groups back to the table for future years," says Gregory J. Fox, PCC chairman Esq. "The center is fulfilling the Board of Directors' vision for first-class experiences."
The large citywide conventions that PHL CVB booked are major contributors to driving hotel occupancy in Philadelphia. In 2016, convention and group business represented the largest market segment influencing hotel room demand with 1,062,000 room nights contributing to 78 percent hotel occupancy (+1.6 percent YOY), average daily rate (+5.0 percent YOY)) of $191 and revenue per available room of $149 (+6.7 percent YOY) for Philadelphia.
"We are delivering on the promise of customer service and performing at a very high level for great customers such as World Meeting of Families, the Democratic National Convention, the American Association for Clinical Chemistr, and most recently, for a record-setting Philadelphia Auto Show," says John J. McNichol, PCC president and CEO.
In 2017, PHLCVB-booked conventions and events are estimated to account for more than 620,000 room nights and generate more than $900 million in economic impact for Philadelphia. Some of those groups include the NFL Draft, LIGHTFAIR International and the National Black MBA Association among others.
"We are immensely pleased with the positive strides being made by both the PHLCVB and the PCC," says Greg Stafford, president, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association. "We feel confident that Philadelphia is on the right track and are looking forward to another terrific year with the NFL Draft coming to our city next month."