Releases: Expanded View
Memorial Day Weekend Breaks Records For Center City Hotels
Crowds In Historic Philadelphia, Special Events & Exhibitions & Great Weather Played A Part
Center City hotels were full this Memorial Day weekend with both Saturday and Sunday seeing the highest occupancies for those nights in at least a decade.
Overall Weekend Hotel Occupancy:
- Friday: 82.8% (+5% from 2015 when occupancy was at 78.5%, source: Smith Travel Research)
- Saturday: 98.0% (+1.4% from 2015 when occupancy was at 96%, source: Smith Travel)
- Sunday 93.4% (+21.1% from 2015 when occupancy was at 77%, source: Travel Click 2016)
“Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer tourism season, and what a great one it was for Philadelphia thanks to so many factors in Historic Philadelphia and beyond,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®. “It was also our first great weather weekend, and that always helps drive travel.”
Here’s a look at what else helped Philadelphia draw crowds over the weekend:
- Historic Philadelphia: In advance of Memorial Day, Philadelphia launched a campaign to redefine and rename the city’s prized historic district, Historic Philadelphia, and the area proved to be a hotspot for warm-weather fun over the weekend. The Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches welcomed 7,000 people to listen to free stories on an increased number of storytelling benches—13 to be exact—around Independence National Historical Park. The National Constitution Center saw record attendance (2,632 people as opposed to an average of nearly 1,400 on other Mondays in May), and the Independence Visitor Center (IVC) drew a high turnout too, drawing 15,461 people this year, up from 14,814 in 2015.
- 2016 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships: Philadelphia hosted the event in 2015 as well, but both teams in Sunday’s final (Maryland and North Carolina) were within driving distance of Philadelphia. That was not the case in 2015 when a team from Denver appeared in the final.
- Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest: The popular attraction opened on Friday of Memorial Day weekend and features a roller rink, a mini-golf course, a boathouse-style lodge, a play area for kids, new food and drink options and special events throughout the season.
- Major Exhibitions: Philadelphia is currently host to a number of special exhibitions, such as Headed to the White House at the National Constitution Center, The Science Behind Pixar at The Franklin Institute and The Golden Age of King Midas at the Penn Museum.
- Weather: With a wet and cold spring and a great weekend forecasted for Memorial Day weekend, people were eager to enjoy the weather. “We’ve had so much rain in May, leisure travelers had cabin fever,” said Stephen Charamella, director of sales and marketing, Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel. “A nice holiday forecast, and we see last-minute pickup.”
- Gas Prices: Historically a drive destination, Philly benefitted from the lowest gas prices over Memorial Day weekend in a decade. In fact, AAA projected that travel volume for the weekend would be the second-highest on record, with more than 38 million Americans hitting the road
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.
- Jenea Robinson, (215) 599-2291
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Festivals Keep Philly Neighborhoods Hopping All Year Long
Philadelphians can always find a reason to get festive. It could be a gathering of artists and artisans in Manayunk, a traditional Yoruba-style street fair or zombies taking over South Street, a craft beer party on East Passyunk Avenue or a weekend celebrating all things Harry Potter in Chestnut Hill. Throughout the year, Philly’s neighborhoods make merry with special events and activities that reflect their distinctive personalities. Here’s a look at some of the mark-the-calendar happenings for 2014:
Benjamin Franklin Parkway:
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