This week, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau announced they have had the strongest convention booking in more than a decade.

Bookings were especially strong in the second half of 2014, which is likely due to changes in work rules and customer rights that were implemented in May 2014. PHLCVB achieved 91 percent of its 2014 booking goal—or 846,357 room nights—with 79 percent of that business slated to take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center with the rest at regional hotels.  

The CVB achieved these impressive numbers due to leveraging positive customer services at the convention center after the signing of a customer satisfaction agreement by four labor unions.

“We are beyond pleased at what we have accomplished in 2014,” says Jack Ferguson, president and CEO, PHLCVB. “The work of the PHLCVB and PCC teams in communicating those changes to clients should also be noted, as meeting planners who had never considered Philadelphia are now coming to the table and taking us into serious consideration as a host city.”

The agreement, signed in May, has brought in definite bookings of large conventions that are 47 percent higher than the same fiscal period in 2013. More than $870 million in new business is expected in upcoming years. Bookings include events by the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Heart Association, the National Association of Black MBA’s and the National Media trade show. The PHLCVB currently has 37 meetings and conventions booked at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of 2015.

“We are extremely pleased with the record occupancy among Center City hotels in 2014,” says Greg Stafford, president, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association. “The PHLCVB’s hard work last year will go a long way to ensuring that we are able to have even more years like these in the future.”

Atlantic City

Last year was the highest grossing ever for the United States commercial gaming industry.* Meeting planners who hold gatherings at casinos may just feel like they’ve hit the jackpot, too. Casino-based events provide one-stop convenience—the amenities of convention centers and bountiful hotel rooms, plus activities, dining, and nightlife. 

 

Doreen Guerin grew up an Air Force brat, living in Texas, Louisiana, and later England and France. When she was 13, her parents moved to Queens and, Guerin says, “I’m a New Yorker through and through.” That’s apparent from her accent as well as her dedication to the Javits Center, where, as the senior vice president of sales and marketing, she oversees the booking and event-related operations for more than 170 events each year. 

M+E: What fueled your interest in working in the conventions industry?

 

If you want to be sure your meeting in the Northeast will strengthen team bonds, consider holding it at Cliff House Maine. Nestled on 70 acres atop Bald Head Cliff on the southern coast of Maine, the luxury property offers 226 guest rooms, including 40 suites, an adjacent 18-hole golf course, and 25,000 square feet of conference and meeting space that can accommodate up to 300 attendees. Venues include the Atlantic Ballroom, with its double-height panoramic windows offering endless views of the Atlantic Ocean.