Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 01 2013

Philly Takes a Big Step Forward

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

One glimpse of the Philadelphia Convention Center calendar shows that the meetings industry is big in the City of Brotherly Love, but be ready to take a second look soon. Why? The PCCA Board of Directors have made a commitment to ensure that the calendar is going to get even bigger and busier in the near future.

“The meetings and convention industry has become much more competitive in recent years, which is why we are undertaking a number of strategic initiatives designed to improve our ability to compete with other venues on a national and international level,” Gregory J. Fox, Chairman of the PCCA Board of Directors, says.

Immediate Impact

One of those initiatives is going to start creating an impact soon. The Board is currently negotiating the terms of a contact to hand over the management and operational reigns of the center to SMG, which will play a key role in helping the convention center review its labor union contracts and identify opportunities to lower costs for customers. SMG is no stranger to success in union negotiations, either. In fact, the company was recently at the center of a landmark deal with five labor unions at Detroit’s Cobo Center.

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Ringing the Expansion Bell

These new initiatives haven’t simply come out of nowhere. The city is serious about showing off its prized meetings asset - - with good reason. The convention center, which is just a nine-block walk from the famed Liberty Bell, recently underwent a $787 million expansion. That investment paid off with what has now become the 14th largest facility in the country with more than 1 million square feet of saleable space.

As the city prepares to welcome groups such as the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Academy of Periodontology and the Public Relations Society of America this year, it’s clear that officials are already looking well beyond any short-term successes toward an even stronger future.

“The Board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority is committed to doing what is necessary to ensure that this building fulfills its promise as an economic engine for our region by enhancing our ability to compete effectively with other venues through the highest level of customer service, competitive pricing and delivering the best possible customer experience,” Fox says. 

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