Bookings on the rise at Pennsylvania Convention Center

The Academy of Management brought close to 10,000 attendees to Philadelphia in August for its annual meeting. Assistant Director of Meetings Taryn Fiore answered a few of our questions about her experience in Philadelphia.

  • What was your experience like hosting a conference in Philadelphia?
  • Overall our experiences were very good. Logistical planning of a conference for the Academy of Management which tends to see about 10,000 attendees can be complex, without the help of many volunteers, committees, staff members and vendors the task would be unmanageable. Philadelphia as a site lends itself easily to good logistical management of a meeting like ours, with over 1500 sessions taking place in 5 days the number and proximity of meeting rooms and facilities as well as walkability and transportation within the city are all key to a successful meeting. City support and properties working together for a citywide like the AOM conference is an added benefit, and shows a group that their business is important and valued.

  • What concerns did you have about your conference prior to arrival in Philadelphia?
  • The Academy of Management returned to Philly in 2014 after a successful meeting in 2007. While our attendees had overall very good experiences, volunteers and staff prepared for another year with potential issues related to union concerns at both the center and within the hotels. In all, the 2014 meeting was successful, with high attendance and positive feedback from our members. Every site has its challenges, the rollercoaster ride we had in Philadelphia was no exception.

    Based on our experience in 2007 we prepared for a lengthy set up process but much to our surprise carpet was starting to get laid in the hall much sooner than anticipated. The entire setup process went very smoothly with all the center labor and vendors working together and on schedule. As a result of the changes at the convention center, what we did not expect however were about 45+ union organizers protesting at the main entrance of the center the opening day of our conference.

    (Editor’s note: The 2 unions which did not sign the Center’s new Customer Satisfaction Agreement have been protesting at the Center. Conventions have not been affected.) However the center and our PHLCVB representative, Mariya Brewer acted quickly to help us understand the rights of the organizers and to help us assist attendees who may have had concerns about the group and accessing the building.

    Cost is another concern and as we go through the billing process we are eager to evaluate the final expenses related to hosting a meeting in Philadelphia where union labor is a given, but direct member expenses such as hotel nights are often less costly than other sites.

  • What did your host hotel or PHLCVB representative do to make your Philadelphia experience a satisfactory one?
  • Our Convention Services contact Mariya Brewer from the PHLCVB was helpful from start to finish. Over the past year Mariya worked to educate staff about all the ways the city could help us create a wonderful conference for our attendees. CVB assistance varies from site to site, but the PHLCVB was attentive to our needs and the needs of our attendees from the pre-planning stages to assistance on-site. Not only did the CVB help welcome AOM attendees in various ways throughout the city, they also provided great services to help members enjoy their time in the city beyond the convention center and hotels.

  • What was the response from your exhibitors?
  • We are still collecting survey data.


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