20 in 2020: Philadelphia Prepares for Full Slate of Conventions and Events

Citywide events expected to bring nearly 400,000 attendees to Philadelphia this year.

Philadelphia’s hospitality industry is preparing for a diverse and multi-faceted year of meetings, conventions and events, anchored by 20 citywides – the most in a decade – which will drive approximately 400,000 attendees to the city and generate 335,000 hotel room nights.


Organization Date Estimated Attendance Total Hotel
Room nights
American Library Association January 24-28 5,000 17,931
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology March 13-16 6,500 11,906
American Chemical Society March 22-27 15,000 23,460
Higher Education User Group, Inc. March 29-April 1 3,500 11,824
Under Armour Northeast Qualifier April 4-12 35,000 24,006
American Psychiatric Association April 25-29 20,000 27,848
Pediatric Academic Societies May 1-5 8,300 14,800
American Thoracic Society May 15-20 16,000 34,764
NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship May 22-25 70,000 9,965
American Transplant Congress May 30-June 3 6,000 10,138
Associated Professional Sleep Societies June 14-17 5,500 9,240
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. July 15-20 20,790 11,258
American Statistical Association August 2-6 7,000 11,476
Rock & Roll Half Marathon September 19-20 21,000 3,600
Natural Products Expo East September 23-26 30,000 23,400
True Value Company October 1-4 15,000 14,230
Association of Corporate Counsel October 13-16 3,000 7,326
Infectious Diseases Society of America October 22-25 10,000 22,110
The American Society for Cell Biology December 5-9 9,000 10,988
Army Navy Game December 11-12 69,600 25,385

Defined as a convention or event that produces more than 2,000 hotel rooms on its peak night, citywides create stability within the industry, supporting the more than 74,300 hospitality jobs in Philadelphia County alone. Of the 20 groups visiting Philadelphia in 2020, eight will be arriving for the first time or returning for the first time in more than a decade. Key new groups include Pediatric Academic Societies, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., American Statistical Association and Natural Products Expo East.

More competitive bids have been won recently, in part, because of the destination’s services, partnerships, and infrastructure working in harmony to execute at the highest level. “Our team is focused on business retention and delivering dynamic experiences that result in future bookings, but that needs to be balanced with a plan for securing new customers from diversified business segments,” said Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Senior Vice President, Convention Division, Kavin Schieferdecker. “This year, we are tracking 19% above our 10-year average for hotel room nights generated by citywides, and that’s a testament to our collaboration with the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association and the Pennsylvania Convention Center over the past decade.”

Last year, the Pennsylvania Convention Center expanded exhibitor rights in a 10-year labor agreement, creating some of the most progressive work rules of any major urban convention center in the Northeast United States. In 2020, the Pennsylvania Convention Center will also deploy $16 million in planned capital investments, making technological enhancements and continuing to improve the attendee experience.

“In recent years we have seen a significant growth in our meeting and convention bookings that help to fuel the preservation and creation of tourism and hospitality jobs, which is now one of the largest and fastest growing employment sectors in the city,” said Pennsylvania Convention Center President and CEO John McNichol. “We expect to see continued growth at the Center in the years to come, but we also recognize that to remain competitive we need to always strive to improve the experience of our customers. We are doing that through the financial investments in our infrastructure, as well as constantly re-evaluating how we do business so we can deliver the best results for our customers.”

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