Jack Ferguson's Annual Luncheon Speech

Good afternoon members and friends! It’s always energizing to see so many of you come together for what has become the biggest networking event of the year. A special thank you to the staff here at the Philadelphia Marriott and Bob Allen, the hotel’s new General Manager.

Special thanks to all of our event sponsors and hospitality partners – now appearing on the screens. And to the growing list of PHL Welcomes U! corporate partners supporting our new free, online education program empowering everyday citizens to become welcoming ambassadors to guests, neighbors and new residents.

I personally want to recognize the Pennsylvania Convention Center, led by Greg Fox and our new partners at SMG, Bob McClintock COO of the Convention Center Division, and Lorenz Hassenstein, the new GM at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, who are going to deliver a new level of service for our customers – just as they have in San Francisco, Chicago and Denver to name a few of the 72 convention centers they manage throughout North America.

Let me reiterate the importance of this new partnership. We are counting on SMG, the Convention Center staff and board, along with the talented workforce in the Center to deliver a great customer experience from start to finish so that we can book and re-book meetings, conventions and tradeshows that will grow demand and increase jobs!

By filling the convention center, the hospitality engine, we create demand, causing compression in the city and region, and everyone wins!

At PHLCVB it is all about the NUMBERS! Our team knows its mission and at the end of the day it is about generating hotel room nights – heads in beds – that’s what makes us relevant to you! Just some of the numbers of the past year:

  • More than 735,000 convention room nights booked

  • 40% during need periods

  • 47% connected to Multicultural, Sports, Life Sciences

  • 34,000 group tour room nights

On the International front PHLCVB has also delivered big time over the past 10 years moving Philadelphia from the 21st most visited destination to the 14th.

  • 595,000 international visitors in 2012

  • 167 tour operators and 72 international journalists hosted last year

And we will continue to work with the City, Airport, Select Greater Philadelphia, the Chamber and our other global partners to attract all types of business here while building the city’s image around the world.

PHLCVB knows our work is under a microscope every day, and we take pride in our transparency and being held accountable.

We are recognized in the industry as the best in the nation for sales, services and marketing (a one-stop-shop), most importantly by our customers – those who matter the most.

So to the PHLCVB staff, who love this City, and care about its perception to our customers, and making it an even greater place to live, work and visit, both Nick & I say, THANK YOU.

The next few years are going to be challenging ones, so it’s incumbent on all of us – PHLCVB, GPTMC, our hotel partners and everyone here to secure short-term business to fill these gaps.

So we are counting on each of you to help Bring it Home, by telling us what meetings & conventions you’re involved in. Send us the leads and we will work to bring the business home to Philadelphia.

We also need your help to continue to turn our unified message into a movement! So we’re also counting on you to Sign Up Today and Become a PHL Partner at PHLpartners.com.

As we look around the room, it was a year ago today that we launched PHL Partners – a growing group of Philadelphia businesses, organizations and individuals committed to promoting our modern renaissance city to the world.

Every PHL Partner, now 75 and counting, is committed to serving as a positive ambassador for our city by communicating PHL messaging in their business channels, helping to reinforce a unified message to encourage more people to choose Philadelphia.

As you know, how we as storytellers talk about our City – our narrative – is critical to:

  • filling the expanded convention center

  • capturing the growing international travel market, expected to increase 23% by 2016 according to US Travel

  • and showcasing Philadelphia as World Class by painting a clearer picture of this modern renaissance city.

The strongest advocate for this is our Mayor Michael Nutter –who was the first to embrace the PHL identifier when he named the City’s new $6 Million seed fund for start-ups Startup PHL. And since then, the PHL movement has taken off like wild fire in twitter handles, advertising, signage and new programs in all sectors both here and out of market.

The Mayor has even encouraged all City departments and partners to embrace the new narrative of this modern renaissance city. He wears his PHL pins proudly every day, hands them out to everyone he meets – whether at City Hall or in London, China, and even in Israel earlier this month where he presented one to President Shimon Peres (what a moment!).

Please welcome the biggest PHL ambassador by far, and our good friend, Mayor Michael Nutter…”


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