Four years after it met in Philadelphia, Lightfair International will again convene at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2017.
Lightfair is the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference; it first met in Philly in 2011. The event’s return signifies the effectiveness of the convention center’s new business model.
“To say that we are thrilled about Lightfair’s decision to return would be an understatement. This group is highly respected within the trade show circuit and their decision to come back to Philadelphia says a great deal about their confidence in the considerable changes that have taken place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center over the last two years,” says Jack Ferguson, president/CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “In addition, our city’s accessibility for convention attendees, compact hotel package, walkable downtown and expanded Convention Center make us an appealing destination to convention groups and were all things that Lightfair looked at when they selected Philadelphia.”
The group took into account many factors when considering Philly as its host city. One major decision was the ability to effectively work with the convention center’s labor force. Since May 2013, when the group first met, the center had already started implementing a four-point plan established by the Philadelphia Convention Center Authority’s Board of Directors. The plan worked to better the customer experience and raise the competitiveness of the center. It began with the selection of venue management firm SMG in June 2013 and led to successful negotiation of a new labor agreement with four trade unions that was affirmed in May 2014.
Since then, the CVB booked 69 shows at the convention center, equating to an estimated $1.4 billion in economic impact for coming years. The PCCA kept Lightfair up-to-date on the enormous amount of progress taking place. Gregory Fox, chairman, PCCA’s Board of Directors, who met with the group to listen to feedback and address concerns directly.
“We have implemented a variety of changes at the center with the goal of recapturing prior customers and attracting new shows and events,” says Fox. “LFI’s decision demonstrates that the strategic initiatives presented to the board three years ago—and subsequently adopted and implemented—are making the Center more competitive, driving increased bookings, and benefitting the city’s hospitality industry.”
Lightfair will take place on May 7–11, 2017, and is estimated to bring in more than $43 million in economic impact for Philadelphia.
“The center is continuing to see the benefits of new customer-friendly work rules, expanded exhibitor rights and the hiring of SMG to manage the day-to-day operations of the center,” says John McNichol, president/CEO, PCCA. “SMG brought a new customer-focused approach to the management of the center that is receiving high marks from the industry. We are thrilled that LFI has selected Philadelphia for their 2017 event, and we look forward to delivering a great experience.”