2018 was another year of growth for Philadelphia’s hospitality industry, tourism and hotel executives said Tuesday.
With 79.6 percent occupancy at center city hotels, the industry recorded $675 million in revenue, a 9.2 percent rise over 2017, said Jeff Guaracino, CEO of Visit Philadelphia, the region’s tourism marketing agency.
Guaracino said the last time the hotel occupancy increased this much in a year was when Philadelphia hosted the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
“People are coming far enough away from everywhere,” said Guaracino, speaking at Visit Philadelphia’s 2019 Outlook event, at the Met Philadelphia on North Broad Street. “They are here for business, meeting, sports events, a lot of different reasons. The fact that people finding us all year long is the strongest signal of our tourism economy.”
“Domestic and international leisure visitors, group and convention attendees, and business travelers together fill our hotel rooms all year long,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney added in a statement. “This crucial mix helps keep our tourism industry strong and growing year after year.”
Guaracino said another factor this year is that Visit Philadelphia is focusing on attracting different communities and using technology to provide people more personalized travel options. "As the country’s population diversifies, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBT collectively represent the biggest source of new visitors to Philly,” he said.
2018 marked the fifth consecutive year that Philadelphia hotels saw record occupancy, with 186,000 more room nights (or a 5.6 percent increase) compared to the 3.3 million in 2017, Guaracino said.
Saturday was the busiest average night at 91 percent occupancy, and the average daily rate (ADR) for a hotel room in Philadelphia was $191, up from $185 in 2017.
“Philadelphia’s tourism success can be felt throughout our economy,” said Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association. “2018 saw higher average occupancy and ADR every day of the week compared to 2017. All of our hospitality partners worked together to achieve these great results that generate taxes, support job growth and spur economic development in Philadelphia.”
Three new hotels, offering a total of 402 new rooms, were added to center city in 2018. There are plans to open six more hotels in 2019, including the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, Pod Philly, the Lokal Fishtown and Hyatt Place Hotel Airport.