Contact: John Golden
Valley Forge Meets - and Exceeds - Meeting Planner Expectations
A Vibrant 2016 Tourism Outlook Helps Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board Attract Business
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board's job in attracting meetings to Montgomery County, Pa., is getting just a bit easier in 2016. Joining the county's well-known tourism draws - Valley Forge National Historical Park and the King of Prussia Mall - is a number of new experiences, many representing franchise debuts in the Mid-Atlantic States. Further, a series of hotel renovations ensure that meeting attendees connect, conduct their business and subsequently rest in complete comfort.
Among the more high-profile openings in 2016 are:
- Completion of an expansion project at King of Prussia Mall, connecting the former Plaza and Court and bringing another 155,000 square feet of retail space.
- Sullivan's Bridge, a new pedestrian entryway into Valley Forge National Historical Park.
- Additional connectors on the Schuylkill River Trail, part of the county's 91 miles of linked trailways for running, hiking and biking.
- The Pottstown Carousel, a project that has restored a 1905 mechanism, outfitting it with 50 hand-carved, hand-painted wooden animals and two chariots.
- A terminal in Pottstown for the historic Colebrookdale Railroad, a scenic train line running on a track that dates back to the Civil War.
- The Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. The new exhibit highlights a reconstructed blacksmith forge and examples of early belt-driven technology for machining carriage parts.
- iFly offers one of the most unique indoor experiences ever to captivate the heart of a thrill-seeker: indoor skydiving.
- Escape Room Mystery, a series of four themed puzzle rooms that challenge groups to collectively use their brain power to get out.
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center, site of snappy, imaginative play that includes Master Builders, party rooms and a 4-D movie.
- Expansion of Elmwood Park Zoo, bringing a new giraffe enclosure and a completely renovated jaguar encounter.
Among new area restaurants are a transformed former factory in Glenside (Roberts Block) and a new Limerick location for a Collegeville standout in barbecue (Phamous Phil's BBQ & Catering).
In addition, the King of Prussia Town Center, a mixed commercial and residential business park, includes a number of inviting restaurants. Newcomers to the area's eclectic dining scene are Fogo de Chao (Brazilian Steakhouse), Honeygrow (farm-to fork stir fry), Old Town Pour House (craft beers on tap) and Paladar Rum Bar & Kitchen.
A number of meetings-related locations have also benefited from recent refurbishments and upgrades, including:
- Fairfield Inn and Suites Willow Grove Opening in May 2016 this property will offer 108 rooms, a heated indoor pool and free wi-fi.
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites - King ofPrussia The property has updated everything from its exterior to the bathrooms. Guests will enjoy renovations to the whirlpool and the replacement of the guestroom furniture. The new gloss is even apparent upon check in, with the refurb of the front desk.
- Hilton Garden Inn - Philadelphia/Fort Washington: A $2.5 million renovation completed in March of 2015 has the accommodations here sparkling. When the improvements were unveiled, they revealed updates to all guestrooms, beds, carpets, walls, curtains and sheers, art and bathrooms. The lobby and ballroom also sport a new look and feel.
- The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center is one of the largest and most flexible convention sites in the state, with up to 240,000 square feet of uninterrupted exhibition space on a single floor. Work in 2016 includes fresh paint on the entire exterior, making use of current fashions in colors and textures. Other plusses now include new lighting, a higher efficiency HVAC system, new lobby configurations and bathroom facelifts.
- The Hub opened its first suburban location on November 1 in the Four Falls Corporate Center in Conshohocken, Pa. The unique venue offers 8,000 square feet of meeting space with an additional 7,000 feet in outdoor terrace and atrium space.
- DoubleTree Suites has completed a $7 million transformation, completely renovating all guest rooms, meeting space, atrium bar and lounge, Brandywine restaurant and lobby. Room enhancements include upgraded carpeting, furniture, wall furnishings, draperies and bathroom vanities. The restaurant revamp increases the convenience of the property's breakfast service.
Michael Bowman, president and CEO of the VFTCB, commented: "The tourism industry in Montgomery County gets it; the proprietors and hoteliers and restaurateurs here understand that they've got to keep things fresh, lively, engaging. These new attractions and renovations ensure that first-time visitors will have an excellent time when they visit Montgomery County - as well as make it very attractive for them to come back again and again."
The vitality that characterizes the current Montgomery County tourism outlook has led to a rejuvenated approach to the marketing and communications efforts of the VFTCB. This influx of creativity and energy has been recognized by third-party industry experts, leading to a string of professional accolades coming to the tourism board.
Recent kudos include:
- Four awards from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, a Dallas-based industry group celebrating excellence in corporate messaging on a global scale. The VFTCB was honored for its achievements in its website (two awards), its online Revolutionary War tours (Patriot Trails) and its twice-weekly blog (The Pursuit).
- Two recognitions from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America: one for Patriot Trails and one for VFTCB Communications Manager Dan Weckerly, who was distinguished as the chapter's writer of the year.
- An award from PR News, presented at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., where the VFTCB was acknowledged for its Home Away from Rome campaign surrounding the September 2015 World Meeting of Families and Montgomery County visit by Pope Francis.
"These marketing and communications kudos are great achievements for the Board. I am especially proud of our in-house staff and their excellent skills, ongoing commitment, originality and drive," Bowman says.
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The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes the Valley Forge area 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, twice-weekly blog. The VFTCB recently added Valley Forge Sports, Montco360, Destination Montgomery County Weddings, Destination Montco Golf and Patriot Trails to its portfolio of brands.