The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center voted last month to privatize management of the Center, hiring management firm SMG to oversee operations. Bob McClintock, Senior Vice President – Convention Centers at SMG, recently gave an update on the changes at the Center.
What is SMG’s focus at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC)?
SMG will be seeking to bring a level of management expertise to the PCC that will allow it to achieve its promise as a premiere convention destination. Our focus will be simple; provide the users of the Center with the finest and most cost effective experience available. Our track record in Centers such as the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and most recently at Cobo Center in Detroit and McCormick Place in Chicago, resonates with customers who have high expectations for the performance of staff at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. We will seek to exceed those expectations.
How soon should existing customers expect to be working with SMG?
SMG is currently working with the PCC Board to outline the transition process and timeline. SMG personnel are already on site and we anticipate completing the transition process in the fall of 2013. We will work with the PHLCVB and the Pennsylvania Convention Center board to share additional information and details of the transition as they become available. Given our past experience in assuming management of operations at other convention centers, we expect the transition process to be smooth and seamless for customers.
How will SMG work with staff at the PCC?
SMG’s approach is to work with the existing staff, providing the mentoring and resources that come with being a part of the SMG network. We take a comprehensive approach to sales and service training with the goal of providing customers with the best possible experience and service. With a staff committed to implementing industry best practices and equipped with training and network support, we expect customers to immediately reap the benefits of this new structure. We will be working with the PHLCVB and the PCC to communicate with customers any changes in how the center had traditionally operated as we move to improve efficiency and implement best practices.
Will this decision have an impact on labor at the PCC?
We are already in discussions with the PCC board regarding these issues and the importance of providing customers with a quality experience on the exhibit floor. The PCC board has made this one of their top priorities and we share in their view. While these discussions are ongoing, SMG will also focus on an active and involved management approach on the trade show floor. Working in partnership with trade unions, the labor supplier, the service contractors and the PCC board, our goal is to provide customers the most flexible and cost effective experience possible.
What else should customers know?
We know there are many questions that existing customers need answered as they prepare for events at the Center. We commit to constant communication that will let existing customers and prospective customers share in the excitement that we all feel about this transition. As I mentioned earlier, the Center has the promise to be a premier convention destination. Our goal is to enable the center to fulfill that promise. As we move forward, customer input will be invaluable and we look forward to receiving feedback and suggestions from our past and future customers.
Read more about the changes at the PCC.