Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Feb 15 2017

Visit Philadelphia Announces Three New Staff Appointments

New Hires & A Promotion Focus On Strategic Alliances, Hotel Relations & Visitor Appeal

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® welcomed two new staffers and promoted another within the organization this month, adding Kara Callahan as vice president of advertising and strategic alliances, Laura Burkhardt as vice president of visitor appeal, and elevating Jim Werner to vice president of hotel relations and tourism development.

“We’re happy to welcome Kara and Laura and to promote Jim, a long-time member of our team,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “We’re coming off a banner year for hospitality in 2016, and the new leadership positions will strengthen our talented team by helping us to fulfill our mission, reach our goals and maintain the success of leisure tourism in our region.”

Kara Callahan, Vice President of Advertising and Strategic Alliances:
As the vice president of advertising and strategic alliances, Kara Callahan oversees VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s advertising and partnership programs. She will also work to expand the reach around brand campaigns like With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® while leading the company’s integrated marketing programs, design services and video production.

Callahan comes to VISIT PHILADELPHIA from The Franklin Institute, where she spent six years leading marketing strategy and promotional partnership efforts. Callahan has received two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards and a nomination for her work on the museum’s “80 Years Of Discovery” commercial spot and other video promotion of exhibitions such as One Day In Pompeii and Gengis Khan: Bring The Legend To Life. This seasoned marketer also spent eight years as the national marketing director with Madison Square Garden Entertainment for the national tour of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Callahan earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware and, in 2016, completed Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business’ Leading for Change Fellowship, a leadership development program for the city’s leaders in the public sector.
 

Laura Burkhardt, Vice President of Visitor Appeal:
As the vice president of visitor appeal, a new role at VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Laura Burkhardt leads the company’s strategic relationships with restaurants, shops, museums and attractions throughout the five-county area to ensure a high-quality experience for Philadelphia’s 41 million domestic visitors each year. She also oversees company-wide photography initiatives, helping communications, web, advertising and social media efforts to tell compelling visual stories for Philadelphia.

Before Burkhardt joined the VISIT PHILADELPHIA team, this experienced travel professional worked as the publisher of Where Philadelphia magazine since 2005 and brings more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector.

Jim Werner, Vice President of Hotel Relations and Tourism Development:
Previously VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s senior director of industry relations, Jim Werner now serves as the vice president of hotel relations and tourism development. In this role, Werner leads the expansion of new overnight leisure initiatives and manages the company’s relationships with the hotel, hospitality and lodging community, which is set to see a flurry of development over the next couple years. By July 2018, Center City Philadelphia is projected to add 1,795 new rooms—a 16.1% increase in supply over the end of last year (source: CBRE Hotels).

Since 2015, Werner has taught as an adjunct professor at Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, where he teaches courses in destination management/marketing and destination planning and development.

A native of Philadelphia, Werner joined the VISIT PHILADELPHIA staff in 2005 as the partnership and promotion manager. A graduate of LaSalle University, he began his career in the public sector in 2002 as a communications manager for the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

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):
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Related Releases

Jan 24 2018

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Reports A Record 2017 For Leisure Tourism & Announces Marketing Plans For 2018

Key Stories & Stats From The Annual Hospitality Event

At the 9th annual New Year’s breakfast for VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today, the destination marketing organization (DMO) released record numbers for hotel occupancy in 2017 in Center City Philadelphia. The tourism marketing organization also announced a strengthening of its focus on food, with plans to:

  • launch a video series in partnership with Bon Appétit,
  • bring the 2018 James Beard Awards Nominations Announcement to Philadelphia and
  • create a dining-centric Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for spring.

In addition, VISIT PHILADELPHIA announced it has evolved its With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® campaign around the new City of Brotherly Love theme. The

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Jan 19 2018

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Board of Directors Announces Leadership Transition as Founding President & CEO, Meryl Levitz, Plans Departure in 2018

Founding President & CEO, Meryl Levitz, Plans Departure in 2018

The Board of Directors of VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today announced that its founding president and CEO, Meryl Levitz, plans to leave her leadership post by the end of the year. A search committee has been established by the Board of Directors to oversee the process of identifying the organization’s new chief executive and it has engaged Diversified Search to undertake a national effort to recruit and secure a highly qualified and passionate candidate. Until the transition to a new leader is complete, Ms. Levitz will continue in her current role as president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA to ensure a

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Dec 19 2017

The Rittenhouse Hotel General Manager Joins VISIT PHILADELPHIA Team

Reginald Archambault Is The Most Recent Addition To The Company’s Board Of Directors

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® announced today that it has welcomed Reginald Archambault, general manager of The Rittenhouse Hotel, to its board of directors.

“We are pleased to have Reg join our board,” said Manuel Stamatakis, VISIT PHILADELPHIA board chairman. “He has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector, and we look forward to taking advantage of his knowledge and expertise as we develop marketing plans and strategies for VISIT PHILADELPHIA moving forward.”

Archambault started his career in the hospitality industry in 1991—serving as restaurant manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island in Florida. He quickly moved up the ranks

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Nov 20 2017

Winter Brings Seasonal Perks To The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Visitors Now Receive Dining Discounts & Museum Admission In Addition To Free Parking

The popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package returns for the winter with dining discounts and museum admission, plus its ever-popular and convenient free hotel parking. Bookable now at visitphilly.com/overnight, the winter edition runs from December 1 through March 4, 2018.

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 40 hotels in Center City and beyond. The winter hotel deal includes parking and tickets to the following with a combined value of up to $235:

  • Free parking:
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Oct 31 2017

VISIT PHILADELPHIA & City Of Philadelphia Bring Philly To Seattle As Part Of Amazon Headquarters Bid

Ads Showcase Philly’s Art, Food, Outdoors & Neighborhoods To Amazon Community

Now through November 26, Seattleites will catch a glimpse of Philadelphia in 48 transit ad placements and social media posts highlighting the city’s food and drink, arts and culture, neighborhoods, outdoor activities and people. The campaign reinforces the message driven home in the city’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters: that Philadelphia residents enjoy a high quality of life.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA collaborated with the City of Philadelphia and its Amazon HQ2 Coalition on the strategy and development of the four-week paid-media campaign, which began running the week of October 23. The newly created ads, concepted and designed in house at VISIT

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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
...
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

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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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