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Pennsylvania Convention Center Board selects SMG to operate and manage convention center


The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA) has approved the selection of SMG to privately manage and operate the Pennsylvania Convention Center as part of a coordinated effort to improve the customer experience and reduce costs at the center with the goal of attracting additional conventions, meetings and tradeshows to the Philadelphia region.

By bringing in a private management firm with extensive experience managing and operating convention centers across the country, the PCCA is looking to SMG to implement industry best practices, achieve operational cost savings and enhance the center’s ability to compete with other major facilities in the increasingly competitive tradeshow and convention industry.

“The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority looks forward to working with SMG to enhance the experience of our customers and increase the number of events we host on an annual basis, which will have a significant impact on the Philadelphia region’s economy,” said Gregory J. Fox, board of directors chairman, PCCA. “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.”

SMG is a staple in the facility and convention center management industry, with more than 30 years of experience at more than 200 facilities and 70 convention centers. SMG currently manages centers in some of the nation’s largest cities, including Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, San Francisco and Salt Lake City as part of a portfolio that represents more than 14.5 million square feet. 

“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,” said Fox. “The hiring of SMG to manage the center’s operations is a first but significant step in modernizing our operations and improving our ability to rebook our existing customers while attracting new events, meetings, conferences and tradeshows.”

In addition, SMG has extensive experience working with organized labor in Pittsburgh, Providence, Chicago and Detroit. Fox said SMG will work closely with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau to increase bookings at the center by developing new business and bringing back past customers, and he added that the decision to bring in a firm to privately manage and operate the Pennsylvania Convention Center is the first step in a targeted effort to modernize operations, reduce costs and improve future bookings.

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