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Responding to a Changing Economy Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB)
Unveils Annual Report & Business Plan: “Navigating the New Norm”

PHILADELPHIA - September 29, 2010 - The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB) released its Annual Report & Business Plan, “Navigating The New Norm,” to its members today at an event at the expanding Pennsylvania Convention Center. The 36-page report reflects how the PCVB and members of the hospitality community are dealing with the challenges of conducting business in a complex economy. It also includes tips for navigating the “New Norm” and highlights of projected industry trends that will drive the PCVB’s FY11 plans, and ultimately drive convention and tourism business to the city.

“It is no longer business as usual. Now, more than ever, Philadelphia must put the customer first. Businesses in every sector have to adjust and adapt to the way our customers and partners expect us to do business; expecting more for less,” said Jack Ferguson, executive vice president/incoming president, PCVB. “We see many bright spots in Philadelphia’s future, as hotel rates rebound, expansion of the convention center opens in six months, our international profile continues to grow, and the financial world continues to right itself.”

Key trends emerging from the “New Norm” are:

  • Customers are demanding more service for their money and incentives to choose a city.
  • The ease of online travel planning means almost 35% of attendees are now booking around the block – making it impossible to accurately measure sales-generated room nights.
  • International origin/feeder markets are changing, with Brazil and China as the fastest-growing markets.
  • More event organizers are using sports commissions or CVBs for planning and logistical assistance.
  • The Group Tour market has retained a level of attractiveness for domestic travelers because it is seen as an environmentally conscious way to travel and explore.
  • Life sciences has seen corporate travel decline because of mergers and acquisitions, but Philadelphia expects a continued rebound in attendance and exhibits.
  • The new economy has meant Philadelphia’s multicultural market is bidding against second and third-tier destinations, versus first-tier cities.
  • The PCVB, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, is creating a sales and marketing buzz around the World Premiere of an expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, opening in March 2011. Currently 91 percent complete, the center will be the 14th-largest in the nation.
    • The first convention in the expanded convention center is the National Association of Student Performance Administrators in early March, which coincides with the Philadelphia International Flower Show. The first convention to use the full expanded building is the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses with $30.7 million in economic impact expected.
    • In time for expansion, the PCVB is developing a Hospitality University with a focus on customer service levels with its members and partners.
  • Life sciences remains a vital part of the meetings and conventions business -- more than 50% of all meetings and conventions in Philadelphia each year are life sciences-related – showing that Philadelphia is “America’s Life Sciences Meetings Destination.”
  • Philadelphia’s motorcoach market is expected to get a boost as the convention center welcomes the prestigious American Bus Association convention in January 2011, with 3,000 tour operators attending from across the country. On average, a host city can expect an increase of business from 10 to 25% as a result of hosting the event.
  • Philadelphia remains focused on being one of the world’s most diverse and dynamic sports destinations, and the PCVB’s Philadelphia Sports Congress is working with many partners to bring the FIFA World Cup™ here in 2018 or 2022.
  • In addition, the PCVB will bid a fond farewell to its long-time president Tom Muldoon on December 31, 2010, as Jack Ferguson takes over as the new president & CEO.
  • The PCVB booked more than $2.5 billion in Pennsylvania Convention Center expansion business for future years, including 667,588 room nights booked this fiscal year, valued at more than $970 million in economic impact.
  • Through the first six months of 2010, demand for Center City’s 10,799 hotel rooms was up 10% from 2009. Convention/Group room nights accounted for the largest segment of room night demand at 37%. Individual/commercial room nights represented 30% and individual leisure 29%.
  • The PCVB’s Bring It Home! campaign, featuring Mayor Michael A. Nutter, with the help of local business leaders, has generated nearly $20 million in impact since inception.
  • During a two-and-half week period in October 2009, three life sciences conventions set record-breaking attendance records and had an economic impact of $25 million.
  • Philadelphia welcomed 594,000 international visitors in 2009; ranked 12th in the U.S.
  • The Group Tour market is a burgeoning market for Philadelphia and accounted for 27,415 room nights in 2009.
  • This year also marked another milestone as the Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC) celebrated more than $1.5 billion in multicultural group business since 1987.
  • The Philadelphia Sports Congress worked with its partners to ensure Philadelphia would remain the home of the Army/Navy Game five-of-the-next-seven years, including 2010.

An Executive Summary of the PCVB’s FY10 Annual Report & FY11 Business Plan can be viewed at

The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB),, a private non-profit membership corporation, is the official Tourism Promotion Agency for the City of Philadelphia, and the primary sales and marketing agency for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The PCVB competes with its counterparts worldwide for conventions and tourism business. The organization has departments dedicated to the multicultural, sports, and life sciences markets.


Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Liz Sullivan, 215-636-3412 (office)

Also See: A Smart Choice for Hotel Investment: The City of Philadelphia Supports Hotel Development and Renovation Projects through Public Financing, Tax Credits, and Many Other Programs / April 2010
Life Liberty And You the City of Philadelphia’s New Signature Brand; City Expects to End 2009 with a 68% Hotel Occupancy / November 2009

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