KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - Hotels across Montgomery County have spruced up everything from room décor to A/V equipment, investing heavily in infrastructure improvements to remain competitive and increase market reach.
The Fairfield Inn Valley Forge, for example, is in the midst of a full renovation that will bring its guests a new breakfast area and fitness center. Makeovers at Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center, Blue Bell, include high-tech ovens in the banquet kitchen.
The reinvestment comes at a time when Montgomery County hotels have enjoyed record levels of room nights. The third-quarter results for 2015 and 2016 were extremely positive, according to data from STR Global, a worldwide hotel data benchmarking firm.
The VFTCB is currently citing more than 100,000 room nights, up 10 percent from 2015, sparked by sources that include meetings. Occupancy levels rose to 69 percent over the summer, and average daily rate was a healthy $118. Revenue per available room, at $82, represents a 6.6 percent improvement year-over-year.
"These levels of performance began over the summer with the DNC but the trending has continued into 4Q16," says Lisa Karl, Vice President of Sales and Strategic Partnerships. "Hoteliers are responding by allotting more resources for accommodation refreshes and expansions.
"The VFTCB is leveraging this convergence - increased visitations and hotel renovations - by strengthening its marketing in sports/tournament and meetings/conventions lines of business," she continues.
In addition to improvements among the county's hotels, new properties are joining the market in Montgomery County. These include a Residence Inn in Collegeville, designed to serve the local corporate market as well as sports travel teams competing at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks.
Filling both the refreshed and new rooms in the county are the ongoing efforts of both the marketing and sales staffs of the VFTCB.
The tourism board is unveiling a new focus on the meetings market, branding its support for corporate offsites as "Revolutionary Events." In encouraging attendees to tack on time in the county to their before- or after-agendas, the call is to "Forge the Extraordinary" in Montgomery County.
"Fortune 500 global leading firms continue to select Montgomery County as a location for setting strategy and direction for their business," says Edward Harris, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "Aside from our modern facilities they're also discovering unique team building activities for their staff from places like the iFly, Escape Room King of Prussia and Cooking Spotlight in Phoenixville."
The improvements to area hotels aren't the only tourism-related investments currently underway. Valley Forge National Historical Park, for example, celebrated the opening of the Sullivan Bridge this fall, providing a scenic connection to the Schuylkill River Trail. And the access routes to the park's Visitor Center are currently being reconfigured to ease traffic flow. The investment, funded by PENDOT and private contractors, is $11 million, according to park sources.
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The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa., as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 400-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Board's award-winning website, valleyforge.org, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents, as well as hosts The Pursuit, a nationally recognized blog. The VFTCB oversees a portfolio of brands that include Valley Forge Sports, Montco 360, Destination Montco Weddings, Patriot Trails and Destination Montco Golf. It is also the publisher of the new dining magazine Crave, issued twice yearly.