• Prepping for the Pope

     
    POSTED September 17, 2015
     

With the impending World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit just one week away, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board is prepping for the event and the business it is likely to draw and inspiring businesses across the area.

"I know our members are going to roll out the red carpet in a big way to welcome guests, visitors and customers from across the globe with the stellar service that has become the hallmark of our county's tourism industry,” says Mike Bowman, president, VFTCB We hope that positive experience will inspire first-time visitors to return to Montgomery County again and again.”

The CVB compiled the below list for business to consider participating in before next week’s visit:

  • Brush up on multiculturalism. According to Catholic News Service, in June 2015, 15,000 World Meeting of Families attendees were registered. Aside from the U.S., countries include Canada, Vietnam, Mexico and the Dominican Republican. Businesses should prep for working with guests who may not have English as their native language or might need to exchange foreign currency.
  • Reassess your operational hours. The congress sessions of the WMF typically go from 8:30 am to 5:15 p.m. Hotel guests may hope to have early breakfasts or late dinners. Media members or security officials might need meals at nontraditional times, and families looking to fill early evening hours with children might appreciate extended business hours for family-friendly outings. Consider changing hours during this time.
  • Keep the kids in mind. Children are encouraged to join their parents in the World Meeting of Families pasrticipation. During the event, hotel guests or restaurant visitors may need cribs, bedrails, electrical outlet caps and/or kid-friendly menus.
  • Increase staff. The higher volume of visitors at tourism-related businesses may call for a larger team. Staff needs should be addressed now.
  • Consider commuting needs. Travel throughout Montgomery County will likely be more hectic than usual, especially the weekend the Pope is in town. The VFTCB suggests staff share rides or use nontraditional means such as biking and walking. Build extra time into shift changes. Make sure to check with your local townships for proposed road closures, etc.
  • Be prepared to provide information you may not ordinarily handle. It’s important employees know details about Montgomery County. The CVB’s website is a comprehensive guide to visitor aids featuring operating hours, phone numbers and special events.
  • Amp up security. Benjamin Visnov of Echelon Protection & Surveillance in Limerick, Pa., recommends having a well-rehearsed, up-to-date emergency plan in place and ensuring all employees are up to date. Remind all hospitality workers to stay attentive and alert, while still being welcoming. This is the best security approach for such a large amount of visitors that will be flocking to the area next week. 

Benchmark is adding Washington's Skamania Lodge to its portfolio of resorts and hotels.

 

Aventri, a leader in events management software (EMS), recently released ‘The Top 100 Meeting and Event Venues in the United States’ for 2019. The company took the ten top-rated meeting and event cities in the United States and picked the top ten venues in each area, compiling a list of 100 highly-regarded spaces. 

The guide identifies the two most valuable factors in attendee satisfaction as venue location and activities in the host city, followed by capacity, uniqueness and proximity to local attractions.

 

Visit Seattle experienced record-breaking tourism in 2018, with downtown Seattle hotel occupancies above 80 percent despite a 2,934-room increase with new hotel openings in 2018 and 2019. Meetings and conventions bookings peaked at 691,163 total room nights booked in 2018.