Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 31 2014

Big Progress At Big Convention Center

By Daniel Metz
Pennsylvania Convention Center

It’s only been four months since SMG took the management reigns at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, but meeting planners and trade show organizers who have brought their groups to the building are seeing the positive signs everywhere they turn.

“We’re hearing very positive feedback from planners, exhibitors and decorators who have worked with the new SMG team,” Julie Coker, senior vice president, convention division, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, says.

From a new Labor Services Team that interfaces with trade unions on behalf of the center’s customers to a Production Services Department that gathers deeper information to deliver cost-savings in AV and high-end production, it’s clear that the City of Brotherly Love is committed to making sure the meetings industry loves the city, too. Lorenz Hassenstein, the new general manager for SMG and the center, says that he reflects on his personal history in meetings and events to better understand the needs, expectations and challenges of planners and exhibitors. Before his role in Philadelphia, Hassenstein’s 20+ year career in the industry includes serving as a vice president for Reed Exhibitions and vice president and general manager of Merchandise Mart Properties in New York.

“As someone who has worked for years in the industry, I know the stress that comes with putting on, managing and running shows,” Hassenstein says. “SMG has only been in place at the center for a few months, but customers are telling us that they like what they see.”

SEE ALSO: How Convention Centers Spur Creativity And Engagement

Plenty of other groups are preparing to see the progress soon, too. The packed 2014 calendar at the Pennsylvania Convention Center includes the American Academy of Neurology, the American Society of Nephrology, the American Society of Cell Biology and many other associations and corporations.

While many of SMG’s changes are focused on specific areas of the event production processes, the management team has also instilled a broader vision to reinforce the old adage of “the customer is always right.” SMG has hired six seasoned executives across various business units to introduce higher levels of customer service into the center’s culture.

SEE ALSO: What’s New At The Pennsylvania Convention Center

Philadelphia makes an ideal location for any event, and right now is the perfect time to look at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Click here to learn how you can take your meeting to Philly via PCMA’s Citywide Auction.

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