Amid the backdrop of the Van Gogh Up Close exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB) last night showcased its strategies for attracting business to Philadelphia through its global marketing efforts and how local businesses can be involved in shaping and telling Philadelphia’s story to the world.
The PCVB brings business to Philadelphia by drawing hundreds of thousands of convention and meeting attendees annually and attracting international visitation through consumer marketing and tour operator packages.
“Philadelphia’s reach is global and we must learn more and adapt to our existing and potential customers’ needs and desires,” said Jack Ferguson, president & CEO, PCVB. “With proper planning and implementation, we can attract new visitors and conventioneers from all around the globe and make them feel welcomed and appreciated in Philadelphia.”
According to the US Travel Association:
• International traveler spending totaled $134 billion in 2010.
• Overseas arrivals (excluding those from Canada and Mexico) represent 78 percent of total international travel receipts. (2010)
• Each traveler spends approximately $4,000 and stays on average more than 17 nights in the U.S.
Today, many conventions in Philadelphia have global appeal and Philadelphia is positioned to capitalize on global trends as the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center can now host larger international conventions that previously did not fit in the Center – now 62 percent bigger. Currently, at the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is holding its annual convention and more than 100 countries are being represented among the attendees. Of the more than 7,000 attendees expected, approximately 30 percent will be international.
Since 2000, the PCVB’s international tourism sales and marketing efforts have increased inbound overseas visitors to Philadelphia by 50 percent and have increased Philadelphia’s ranking among U.S. cities from 21st to 13th as a destination for international visitors coming for business or leisure.
Ferguson recently returned from traveling with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett to France and Germany to educate both the business and travel communities on what makes Philadelphia and the Commonwealth a global destination. This four-city, two-country mission, privately funded by Team PA, was designed to increase Pennsylvania exports to France and Germany, as well as encourage direct foreign investment and tourism travel into the Commonwealth.
The PCVB works with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s overseas office in China, as well as contracting representation firms and partners in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland and The Netherlands. Also, the PCVB features translated websites in 12 languages, more than any other U.S. destination marketing organization and the City is the only destination with a China in-market website – www. PhiladelphiaUSA.cn. The PCVB also features more than 20 customized social media channels targeting global consumers.
In addition, the PCVB relies on strategic partnerships with its member organizations like the Barnes Foundation, Mural Arts Program, the Philadelphia Orchestra and many others who are looking to increase overseas visitors to their attractions, and through collaborations such as With Art Philadelphia™, in conjunction with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and the City of Philadelphia.
For the life sciences community, an average of 35-40 percent of the attendees at some of the PCVB’s largest life sciences association meetings – American Association for Cancer Research, BIO International and American Psychiatric Association – are international.
Culture is big business. The PCVB’s Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC) focus is to increase Philadelphia’s appeal as a multicultural travel destination. MAC aims to grow Philadelphia’s market share in multicultural meetings, conventions, tourism and sporting events by increasing hotel room nights. In addition to traditional marketing, public relations and advertising strategies, MAC utilizes its commitment to cultural diversity to enhance the PCVB’s sales efforts through relationship building, which is rooted in culture.
On the sports scene, the focus is on international sporting events that are viewed around the world. In the coming months, the Philadelphia region will host:
• USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship, June 2-3 at PPL Park
• TD Bank Phila. Int’l. Cycling Championship, June 3, through the streets of Philadelphia
• MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park, July 25 at PPL Park
• Army-Navy Game, December 8 at Lincoln Financial Field
During the event, the PCVB engaged attendees in its global messaging project, designed to create a compelling, modern, authentic message that positions Philadelphia as a must-choose destination. The message platform will be available in both visual and written formats for open source use by any interested organization.
To learn more about the PCVB, visit www.PhiladelphiaUSA.travel.