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We build the brand and image of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia surprises people.
It reveals its multifaceted, captivating personality to them block by block, mural by mural, garden by garden, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Here, 100-year-old cheese shops happily live a few doors down from lauded chef-run restaurants. There’s so much art; it’s inside, outside and on the sides of buildings. The corner bar thrives, and just about everyone is a craft beer enthusiast. Clothing design, building design and park design inspire. Creativity bursts from art galleries, modern dance troupes, street performances, story slams, concerts and DJ parties.
Philadelphians count on festivals for any and all reasons, bike trails for fun and bike lanes for transport and people just being themselves.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA invites people to...well, visit Philadelphia.
We believe in the power of travel; it shapes a person and expands horizons. Philadelphia delivers on our promise of an urban, main street, foodie, historic, cultural, cool, eye-opening, independent experience. It’s one destination, five counties, countless things to do.
Philadelphia is our job and our passion. Some may call us Philly freaks, and we’re ok with/proud of that.
We want you to get to know Philadelphia. Smile at our ads; click around our websites; watch our videos; follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest.
We're called VISIT PHILADELPHIA because that's we get people to do.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do. These marketing efforts also enhance the quality of life and sense of pride for residents.
We build Philadelphia’s brand and image. We give Philadelphia a voice through VISIT PHILADELPHIA's campaigns, media relations, advertising, websites and social media. It’s important that people feel that they know a destination — that’s what makes them want to visit.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA was founded in 1996 as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
In 1998, House Bill 2858, Act 174 designated VISIT PHILADELPHIA, then GPTMC, to serve as the official Regional Attractions Marketing Agency.
CLICK HERE to read VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s statement regarding the recent Controller's Report, An Analysis of Philadelphia's Destination Marketing Infrastructure and Its Role in the Hospitality Sector, published September 2014.
Leisure and hospitality is the sixth-largest industry in Greater Philadelphia, generating more than $10 billion in economic impact in 2013. The health of the industry depends on all segments — leisure, business, convention — performing well.
Visitors generate taxes and jobs, and they support local businesses. Visitor dollars also build quality of life in Philadelphia.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA invites all travelers to visit the region, but our marketing specifically targets leisure travelers from America, Canada and Mexico — those who come to Philadelphia to have fun.
Leisure travelers make up 88% of domestic visitation to the area — and VISIT PHILADELPHIA has been an integral part of attracting and welcoming them here.
In 2013, 12 million more leisure travelers came to Greater Philadelphia than in 1997, when VISIT PHILADELPHIA began advertising. There’s been a 78% growth in overnight trips (more than twice as fast as day trips) and an 84% growth in overnight leisure trips.
As Philadelphia’s appeal as a destination has grown, the leisure segment has become a key driver of downtown hotel demand.
Leisure hotel demand in Center City has grown by an average of 8.4% a year over the last 17 years, more than twice as fast as overall demand (3.4%).
Since VISIT PHILADELPHIA began advertising in 1997, Center City has seen a 273% increase in leisure hotel demand.
This higher-than-average growth has accounted for an additional 5.4 million occupied hotel rooms since 1997.
Weekend occupancy is a key indicator of a destination’s leisure strength.
For the past eight years, Saturday night has been the most popular night of the week for Center City hotels. And in 2014, Saturday night occupancy reached a record high of 88.2%.
Friday night also had a record year in 2014, reaching a occupancy of 81%. For the first time ever, Friday night was the second highest occupancy night of the week, behind only Saturday, making Friday and Saturday the two highest occupancy nights of the week in Philadelphia.
The continued growth in weekend occupancy rates means Philadelphia is increasingly being seen by potential visitors as a must-see leisure destination. And that's what we do here at VISIT PHILADELPHIA – we help people see how much fun there is to be had in Philadelphia and, in return, people are coming to Philadelphia to have fun.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA placed it's first ad in 1997, marking the first time that people were invited to Greater Philadelphia for leisure. Today, Philadelphia is a leisure travel destination.
Philadelphia once relied on blockbuster events to fill leisure rooms. Now people know that it's always a good time to visit. They're choosing Philly because of Philly — and because there's incredible things to see and do year-round.
For an in-depth look at the success of leisure travel in Philadelphia, download the two-page printable report, Philadelphia's Leisure Story. (First published February 2015)
For more information on the importance and impact of the tourism and travel industry in Philadelphia, download VISIT PHILADELPHIA's full 2014 Annual Report.
We bring people to Philadelphia and The Countryside®. We get them to experience more while they're here and to stay in hotels. How? Branding, image building and activating.
Everything we do — advertising, communications, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, social media, media relations, event and attraction promotion, hotel packages, product development and even playing up Philly's starring role in pop culture — showcases and strengthens the ever-evolving Philadelphia brand.
As a marketing agency, VISIT PHILADELPHIA is always open to adapting how we brand and market Philadelphia to ensure that our messages are heard clearly and convincingly. Here are some of the ways we achieve our mission.
In 2014, these two sites had 14.9 million combined visits.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA seeks website visitors because we can convert "online visits" into "real-life visitors." Each web visit is an opportunity for VISIT PHILADELPHIA to improve that person's impression of Philadelphia, increase their desire to visit and get them to do more things while they're here.
Driving ReferralsVisitphilly.com and uwishunu.com sent 3 million clicks to our partner websites in 2014.
Called one of “Social Media’s Most Innovative Travel Companies” by Travel + Leisure, VISIT PHILADELPHIA takes its social standing seriously. We embraced social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy early on, breaking into the newest and most effective platforms, and we continue to refine our properties.
We now have more than 750,000+ fans on nine platforms.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA's advertising uses creative messaging that engages our key audiences and reaches them in locations where they’re most receptive to our invitations to visit. We enhance our traditional media buys and search-engine marketing with buzz-worthy tactics such as station dominations in New York and Washington, DC.
With Love shows you how Philly speaks. Phillyosophy will show you how Philly thinks.
We know who we are, and we’re proud to be just that. And we can't wait to share how the people who make up our great city think about our great city.
Inspired by the original Philly philosopher Benjamin Franklin, Phillyosophy continues the With Love tradition of a burst of expression, embodying how people are thinking, feeling and talking about Philadelphia today.
Through high-quality content, direct pitches, media events, an ever-expanding Visiting Journalists Program and strong media relationships, our media relations team places thousands of positive stories each year about Greater Philadelphia in a blend of high-value print, television, websites and blogs. Here's just a sampling of some of the accolades Philadelphia won this year and a look at some of the 5,100 stories generated last year:
52 Places to Go in 2015, New York Times
America’s Next Great Food City, Travel + Leisure
31 Reasons Philadelphia Is The Most Underrated City In America, The Huffington Post
The Late-Night Capital of the United States: Philadelphia, Esquire
The 5 Best Beer Cities in America, GQ
America’s best July 4th celebrations, Yahoo! Travel
In addition to the aforementioned web, social media, advertising and communications efforts, VISIT PHILADELPHIA has several other initiatives aimed at bringing even more people to the region.
We run multiple campaigns at any given time — efforts that speak directly to art lovers, urban adventurers and millennials, along with African-American, Hispanic, LGBT and Canadian travelers. People respond best to messages that are tailored to them, and With Art Philadelphia®, Philadelphia Neighborhoods, Philly 360°®, and campaigns focused on the LGBT and Hispanic markets are a few examples of VISIT PHILADELPHIA's targeted approach.
For more information on these and all of VISIT PHILADELPHIA's marketing initiatives, take a few minutes to review our full 2014 Annual Report.
President & Chief Executive Officer
In her role as president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Meryl Levitz is responsible for building the region’s image and growing its tourism industry, worth $10 billion in economic impact. Stated simply, her job is to get people to visit Philadelphia. A respected civic leader and consummate convener, Levitz has spent more than 30 years working to get Philadelphia’s hospitality industry recognized as a vibrant one and to get Philadelphia and The Countryside® recognized as a premier destination. In 2013 alone, the region welcomed 39 million domestic visitors—that’s 12 million more than in 1997 when the company started marketing.
Levitz works closely with VISIT PHILADELPHIA's board and staff to build the region’s economy and image through destination marketing that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area. The company employs advertising, public relations, web and social media tactics, hotel marketing and research. Successful campaigns include: Phillyosophy®, an evolution of the well-loved With Love, Philadelphia XOXO®; Philly’s More Fun When You Sleep Over®, the most successful post-9/11 hospitality recovery campaign in the country; the groundbreaking Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight And Your Nightlife Gay®; Philly 360°® for younger, tech-savvy travelers; and With Art Philadelphia®, the city’s first-ever coordinated visual arts marketing effort.
After receiving Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, Levitz began her career as an educator but soon began promoting her adopted town of Philadelphia, first as co-founder of the Center City Proprietors Association in 1978 and later at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she oversaw the opening of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, opened the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing and developed annual celebrations (Jambalaya Jam, River Blues, Yo! Philadelphia and others) to draw crowds to the waterfront. In 2002 and 2003, Levitz co-chaired Governor Ed Rendell’s tourism-transition team. In all of her positions, the thought leader and cultural champion has focused on image building and branding, economic development and civic engagement, determined to make Philadelphians proud of and passionate about the place they call home.
Levitz serves on the U.S. Travel Association board; the Philadelphia International Airport Advisory Board; the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Sales and Marketing Advisory Committee; the Drexel University Center for Hospitality and Sport Management Advisory Board; the Mayor’s Hospitality Cabinet; and the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. She is also on the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Independence Visitor Center, Historic Philadelphia, Inc., Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Welcome America, Inc. and Global Philadelphia.
Recognized locally and nationally for the tourism marketing work they do, Levitz and the VISIT PHILADELPHIA team have accrued a wealth of honors over the years. Travel news site Skift named Levitz to its World’s Top Travel Marketers list in December 2013. VISIT PHILADELPHIA's campaigns and web and social media properties have garnered plenty of praise as well from lauded organizations and publications such as U.S. Travel Association, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, International Academy of the Visual Arts, Travel + Leisure and Travel Weekly, among others.
You can find more VISIT PHILADELPHIA executive bios here.
Manuel N. Stamatakis, Chair Founder and CEO, Capital Management Enterprises
Robert W. Bogle President and CEO, The Philadelphia Tribune
John H. Estey, Esquire Executive Vice President, Administration, Hershey Trust Company
Carl BuchholzPartner, DLA Piper
Honorable James F. Kenney Councilman-at-Large, Philadelphia City Council
Robert Asher Co-Chairman, Asher’s Chocolates
Fred A. Shabel, Chairman Emeritus Vice Chairman, Comcast Spectacor
Rhonda R. Cohen, Esquire, Vice Chair
Craig R. Carnaroli Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania
Brent Martin General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
Darwin BeauvaisShareholder, Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C.
Marsha R. Perelman Chair Emerita, The Franklin Institute
Kevin Murnane General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City
Nicholas DeBenedictis Chairman and CEO, Aqua America, Inc.
Desiree Peterkin-Bell Communications Director / City Representative, City of Philadelphia
William R. Sasso, Esquire Chairman, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP
Greg Stafford General Manager, The Inn at Penn, a Hilton Hotel
Richard Vague Chairman, Governor’s Woods Foundation
Meryl Levitz President and CEO, VISIT PHILADELPHIA
Engage with us. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, subscribe to our emails and help us reach even more people.
If you have a question or comment for VISIT PHILADELPHIA or regarding visitphilly.com, please contact us via phone or email at:
Telephone: (215) 599-0776
30 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Click here to review job openings at VISIT PHILADELPHIA.
Stay in touch with us to see first-hand how we think, talk and live VISIT PHILADELPHIA every day. Our social media properties are engaged and engaging, offering an immediate way to be a part of our community.
We also encourage you to sign up for our e-newsletters. Always free-of-charge, our e-newsletters offer the best and latest information as to what’s happening with VISIT PHILADELPHIA and our work with the region.
In the world of destination marketing, more collaboration means more visitation. That’s why VISIT PHILADELPHIA has been teaming up with regional partners for years. Learn how we can work together to promote your business and Greater Philadelphia to travelers. We want to share your stories through our communications, advertising, websites and social media.
Partnership Opportunities: We offer in-kind support to our partners through communications, advertising, social media, hotel, web and research initiatives.
Advertising on visitphilly.com: VISIT PHILADELPHIA provides advertising opportunities for museums, attractions, restaurants, hotels and more in the region interested in advertising on visitphilly.com.
Joint Marketing Program: The campaign With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® is a proven image builder and business driver. Organizations can get in on the media buy through this program, which includes strategic direction, creative support and matched investment from VISIT PHILADELPHIA.
Special Sections: Visitphilly.com is our call-to-action not only on ads, but also for press materials, social media, newsletters, brochures and everything else we do. Secure more coverage of the trip-planning site through our advertising program, launched in 2013.
Themed Programs: Attractions and organizations partner together to spread a strong message to consumers. To make our With Art Philadelphia campaign a reality, we brought together 17 civic and cultural institutions to shine a light on the city's art scene. We intend to run more collaborative programs like this in the future.
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