Philadelphia’s hospitality industry is having a blockbuster summer thanks to the Democratic National Convention, two major sporting events and eight citywide conventions, which combined will generate close to $500 million in economic impact for the city. Area hotels and businesses have already seen substantial summer activity thanks to the incredibly strong summer convention calendar.
For the duration of the DNC (Monday, July 25 – Thursday, July 28) hotel occupancy topped out at 97.6 percent – a 10.3 percent increase over the same period last year and as a result, hotel RevPar (Revenue Per Available Hotel Room) is now 6.6 percent ahead of what it was at this time last year. The additional hotel demand for the week of the DNC resulted in a $16.3 million increase in Center City hotel room revenue over the same period in 2015 for a total of $22.9 million, with areas surrounding Center City also benefitting from the four-day event.
“This will be an incredibly successful summer for our entire hospitality industry thanks to the phenomenal impact of the DNC, along with the large citywide conventions and sporting events we bring to Philadelphia plus the contributions of the city’s cultural attractions which helped to draw even more event attendees,” said Julie Coker Graham, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau president & CEO.
In addition to the DNC and citywide conventions, the 2016 Copa America Centenario helped fill the city with visitors in June and pumped $41 million into the local economy.
“There is a great deal of optimism within the hotel community as result of what has been an extremely productive summer for our industry,” said Greg Stafford, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association president. “Our hotels and employees do well when our partners work together to bring conventions and large events to the city, so we’re thrilled that not only was the DNC here but that our summer event calendar has been incredibly solid.”
Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, which served as the venue for DNC caucus meetings and daily press briefings, has been operating at high capacity hosting the Drug Information Association ($21.7 million in economic impact), followed by the AME Church Bicentennial ($21.2 million), the American Podiatric Medical Association ($7.8 million in economic impact) and the AVID Summer Institute ($8.2 million) which led straight into the DNC. On the heels of the DNC, AACC ($39.8 million) moved into the facility bringing 20,000 attendees, its highest attended show in the past four years and the second highest attendance for any convention in Philadelphia this year behind the DNC.
“This is a banner summer for the Pennsylvania Convention Center as we have welcomed citywide and national events to Philadelphia,” said Gregory J. Fox, chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. “We teamed with our partners to showcase American political history, chemical and medical advances, and the bicentennial of a historic African American church founded here. We are a proud supporter of the 68,000 hospitality jobs in our region.”
Local businesses have also reported increased activity stemming from the active summer convention calendar. Additional foot traffic from visitors plus private space rental and catering are all typically impacted by meetings and convention business.
“Business this summer was well over summer 2015 but more important was the excitement created by the DNC, other conventions and sporting events. The visitors loved our city!” said Chris Mullins Sr., co-owner of McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Philadelphia’s oldest continuously operating tavern and one of the oldest in the country.
The other major conventions rounding out the summer calendar are the American Chemical Society, American Political Science Association, ACN Inc. and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers for a total of $93.5 million in projected economic impact.
Source for statistics: STR, Inc., DMAI Event Impact Calculator and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics