Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

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Sep 12 2016

Fact Sheet: VISIT PHILADELPHIA's 20-Year Timeline (1996-2016)

Twenty Years of Greater Philadelphia's Tourism Marketing Corporation

1996:

Started as a three-year experiment by the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The Pew Charitable Trusts, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® (then the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation) is founded to market the five-county region as a leisure destination. An op-ed published in The Philadelphia Inquirer calls on the destination-marketing organization to fulfill the “Golden Promise” of a successful and economically vital travel and tourism industry in Philadelphia.

1997:

VISIT PHILADELPHIA advertises Philly on national TV for the first time in the city’s history. The advertising campaign This Is My Philadelphia positions the region as The Place That Loves You Back, a tagline people still use today.

1998:

Joining the ranks of the few forward-thinking destinations on the web, VISIT PHILADELPHIA debuts gophila.com (now visitphilly.com), Greater Philadelphia’s first and only official visitor website.

1999:

Philadelphia can count on a growing leisure travel segment. Lawmakers pass a 1% hotel tax increase—championed by Philadelphia hotels—to establish permanent funding for VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s tourism-marketing efforts.

2001:

Pajamas and slippers become iconic symbols when VISIT PHILADELPHIA launches Philly’s More Fun When You Sleep Over® and the Philly Overnight® Hotel Package, contributing to “the most successful hospitality recovery in the country” after the 9/11 attacks, according to Smith Travel Research. During a time of uncertainty, the simple message—it’s fun, so sleep over—resonates.

2002:

The Philadelphia region welcomes 30 million visitors for the first time. (Tourism Economics, Longwoods International)

2004:

Philadelphia becomes the first destination in the world to launch a LGBT-themed television commercial, part of VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay® campaign.

2005:

National Geographic Traveler declares Philadelphia the “Next Great City” in October. The whole region celebrates the tremendous honor, and residents exude pride for their once cast-aside city. (Although, many good-humoredly question the word “next,” insisting that Philadelphia is already a great place.)

2007:

Once again, VISIT PHILADELPHIA sees the beginnings of a trend and becomes an early adopter. Through its uwishunu® campaign, funded by then-Mayor John Street and Philadelphia City Council, in-the-know residents spread the word about Philly through a blog, uwishunu.com. Philadelphia is one of just a few destinations in the blogosphere, and the emerging insider phrase “social-media marketing” is already a main focus for VISIT PHILADELPHIA.

Hotel revenue in the five-county region reaches $1 billion for the first time. Increased visitation and the rising cost of hotel rooms contribute to this destination-defining milestone. (Smith Travel Research)

2008:

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enables the City of Philadelphia to institute a 1.2% increase in the Philadelphia County hotel room occupancy tax, which is shared among VISIT PHILADELPHIA, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.

2009:

Proving that travelers choose value over discounts, VISIT PHILADELPHIA sells the 100,000th Philly Overnight Hotel Package, representing 200,000 room nights and $20 million in hotel revenue, plus another $48 million in spending on food, retail, recreation and transportation. (PKF Consulting, Tourism Economics)

VISIT PHILADELPHIA launches With Love, Philadelphia XOXO®. In a time of economic uncertainty, people respond positively to the inviting and playful tone of Philadelphia’s love letters.

2012:

The City of Philadelphia, VISIT PHILADELPHIA and a group of civic and cultural partners launch With Art Philadelphia®, the city’s first-ever coordinated and sustained visual arts marketing campaign.

2013:

After years of planning—and years of people asking for it—VISIT PHILADELPHIA begins its visitphilly.com advertising program to give partners more visibility on the valuable trip-planning website.

2014:

VISIT PHILADELPHIA launches an evolution of the popular With Love, Philadelphia XOXO campaign. Phillyosophy® uses Philadelphia’s familiar voice, spirit and attitude while reflecting the region’s new confidence.

2015:

Philadelphia takes #3 on the coveted New York Times’ “52 Places to Visit in 2015” list.

From June to September, #visitphilly Photo Spots give locals and visitors even more reasons to snap and share photos of the city. Structures around town include giant XOXOs and With Love chairs. Even after the summer season, some of the Photo Spots remain in place because of their popularity.

Total domestic visitation to Greater Philadelphia reaches a record 41 million, 88% of whom are leisure visitors. (Econsult Solutions, Inc.) Since VISIT PHILADELPHIA starting marketing, Center City Philadelphia has seen a 287% increase in leisure hotel room nights, while the five-county Philadelphia region has had a 90% increase in overnight leisure visitation. (CBRE Hotels)

2015-2016:

In two years, VISIT PHILADELPHIA promotes and plays a role in major news for the city: World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit (September 2015), Philadelphia’s designation as the country’s first World Heritage City (November 2015) and the Democratic National Convention (July 2016).

2016:

Started in earnest in 2007, VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s award-winning social media program hits one million fans and followers.

People get a fun way to share their Philly love and pride with the Philadelphia Keyboard. VISIT PHILADELPHIA launches the messaging app with 60 emojis, including a LOVE statue, XOXO and winking Liberty Bell.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA works with the writers of two destination-defining media hits. In February, Philadelphia takes the top spot on Lonely Planet’s “Best in the U.S.” list, and in April, The New York Times’ “36 Hours in Philadelphia” highlights the city’s vegan restaurants, BYOB culture and bike-share program, Indego.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA airs the Philazillas TV commercial—its first in five years—with the line “There’s more to a legendary city than its legends.” A larger-than-life Ben Franklin battles with a giant cheesesteak while locals and visitors enjoy the other, lesser-known sides of Philadelphia: museums, dining, parks and urban life.

In its 20th year, VISIT PHILADELPHIA continues its history of forward thinking with its new Entrepreneur in Residence program, a first-of-its-kind initiative for a destination-marketing organization.

Visitphilly.com is the most visited city-DMO website in the country, ranking above major destinations such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. (SimilarWeb 2016 Traffic Data)

At the U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO), VISIT PHILADELPHIA earns a Destiny Award—the organization’s 76th industry award—for Branding and Integrated Marketing Campaign with its With Love, Philadelphia XOXO campaign.

 

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
 

Contact(s):
  • E-mail

Related Releases

Sep 25 2017

Fall Brings Seasonal Perks To The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts, Plus Indego & PHLASH Passes Return

The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the fall with seasonal perks, plus its ever-valuable and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight, the autumn edition runs from September 5 through November 30, 2017.

Package Perks In Detail:
The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, responsible for more than 16,000 room nights in 2016, is available for one or more nights at more than 30 hotels in Center City and beyond. The fall deal includes the following with a combined value of up to $173:

  • Hotel parking (up to a $100 value for a two-night
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Sep 12 2017

Fact Sheet:

VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s African-American Video Series

OVERVIEW:
Part of the With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign, VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s latest African-American marketing initiative centers on a documentary-style travel video series hosted by Philly native Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of Grammy-award-winning, hip-hop band The Roots. The five-episode series, dubbed We Got You: Philly by Tarik, taps into the power of a national celebrity, pairing Trotter with trend-setting influencers to show off Philadelphia.

The videos will be promoted across all of VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s marketing channels to gain video views, visits and, of course, hotel stays.

The full series is viewable online at visitphilly.com/wegotyou.

RESEARCH & STRATEGY:
Philadelphia

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Sep 12 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Debuts New African-American Travel Series

Five-Episode Series & New Ads Spotlight Philly To Reach African-American Travelers

Today, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® launched its latest African-American marketing initiative—the key component of which is a documentary-style travel video series hosted by Philly native Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of The Roots. The five-episode series, dubbed We Got You: Philly by Tarik, taps into the power of a national celebrity, pairing Trotter with trendsetting influencers to show off Philadelphia. The videos will be promoted across all of VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s marketing channels to gain video views, visits and, of course, hotel stays.

Part of VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign, the series is viewable online at visitphilly.com/wegotyou. Digital

...
Sep 6 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Releases Philadelphia Messaging Toolkit

Entrepreneur in Residence Creates Resource For Local Businesses To Help Tell Philly’s Story

Today, VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, together with its Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), launched the Philadelphia Messaging Toolkit to help local entrepreneurs and business leaders talk about Philly. The new resource is available to view and download online at visitphilly.com/messagingtoolkit.

“We’re enlisting entrepreneurs and business leaders to join us in spreading the good news of Philadelphia’s vibrancy as a place to visit, work and play,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “As the region’s official tourism-marketing agency, VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s mission is to do this every day, but many others can help us tell Philadelphia’s story. The

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Jul 14 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Marks World Emoji Day With New Philly Stickers

Philly Emojis Now Available For Apple's Messages App

In honor of World Emoji Day, VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, the region’s official tourism marketing agency, today announced the launch of its sticker pack, featuring expressive Philly-themed illustrations and animations that locals and visitors can use in iMessage chats on iPhones and iPads.

The sticker pack features 33 shareable emojis that give Apple users a creative way to talk about the City of Brotherly Love in their private day-to-day messages. Graphics include an animated Liberty Bell with heart-eyes, a Philly cheesesteak, VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s own “XOXO” from the beloved With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign and, of course, an illustration of

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Jun 20 2017

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Philly In Top Three On Best Places To Visit In The USA List

City Also Lands On Best Historic Destinations List

U.S. News & World Report today released its Best Rankings, and Philadelphia ranked #2 on two key travel lists: Best Places to Visit in the USA and Best Historic Destinations in the USA—great timing as travelers prepare to make their summer travel plans. The rankings are based on an analysis of expert and consumer opinions.

The Best Places to Visit in the USA list features New York City, Philadelphia and Honolulu in the top three spots, while the Best Historic Destinations list includes New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco highest in its ranking.

“Everyone should have Philadelphia, New

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Jun 14 2017

Summer Brings Seasonal Perks For The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts, Plus Indego & PHLASH Passes Return

The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the summer with seasonal perks, plus its ever-valuable and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight, the summer edition runs from June 16 to September 4, 2017.

For stays beginning June 16, guests receive: free hotel parking; passes for Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; tickets for the PHLASH downtown loop, stopping at more than 20 Philly attractions; $20 for use at any of Chef Jose Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants; $20 toward dinner at the Moshulu, a restaurant within a Tall Ship permanently docked at Penn’s Landing; and roller

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May 24 2017

2016 Shows Record Visitation Again To Greater Philadelphia

Five-County Region Welcomed 42 Million Visitors Last Year

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced yesterday that Greater Philadelphia—that’s Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties—welcomed 42 million domestic visitors in 2016. This marks the seventh consecutive year for record visitation and a 2.4% increase over 2015. Of those 42 million visitors, 37 million (88%) visited for a leisure purpose. More details appear in VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s annual report, downloadable at visitphilly.com/annualreport.

“Since 1997, Philadelphia has become a better destination—with investments in the region’s attractions, art, history, culture and parks—all of which have been amplified by consistent marketing,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “Today, Philadelphia is a

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May 3 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Marks National Travel & Tourism Week

New Video Welcomes All People To Visit With Love

To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), taking place from May 7-13, 2017, VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today released a video highlighting the people who welcome visitors to Philadelphia every day. Entitled the “Faces of Travel,” the video supports the U.S. Travel Association’s NTTW 2017 theme and invites travelers to Philadelphia. It echoes VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s 20-year tradition of extending inviting and love-filled messages to potential visitors. The video is viewable on YouTube.

“Philadelphia is the City—and region—of Brotherly Love, and our campaigns have long had a welcoming message of love and inclusion to reflect that,” said Meryl Levitz, president

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Mar 17 2017

The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package Springs Into A New Season

Indeg & PHLASH Bus Passes Return To The Popular Package That Always Includes Free Hotel Parking

This spring, the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package includes not only its always-offered-and-convenient free hotel parking, but extra perks that make it easier for visitors to get around once they arrive too. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight for stays beginning on March 20, 2017, the spring edition of the package comes with free passes for Indego, the City of Philadelphia’s bike-sharing program; free tickets for the PHLASH downtown loop, which stops at more than 20 Philly attractions; credit toward an Uber ride and $50 in SugarHouse Casino perks.

“There’s nothing quite like spring in Philadelphia,” said Meryl Levitz, president and

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