The PA Convention Center expansion, approved in 2006 with the objective of bringing megaconventions and their attendant upswings in hospitality business into Philly, seems not to be living up to its full potential. Why? Conventioneers say they love the city and wish they could bring their events here, but labor costs for the Pennsylvania Convention Center are prohibitive.
The Pennsylvania Convention center bills itself as "one of the few convention centers in the country located right in the middle of a major city," and it's true that the convention center has an enviable location. After the expansion, the convention center is big enough to handle most major events. However, Axis Philly discovered that convention business is steadily dropping off, post-expansion. In fact, the center, which is entirely owned by the state, will book less business in 2016 than in did in pre-expansion years. So what's the issue? Here's what a report dug up by Axis Philly has to say:
It is clear that the primary issue facing the PCC — past, current, and future — is its labor supply and their ability/inability to satisfy customer expectations...
The PA Convention Center has become synonymous with unpredictably high labor costs, which are mostly due to overtime. Some meeting planners complain that workers seem to move at pace designed to move them into overtime. And a study comparing convention costs in New York and Philadelphia did find that set-up and break-down of conventions took longer, on average, in Philadelphia. One way or another, the Convention Center will have to work to change its reputation. Their website currently boasts that new labor rates have been reduced by eight percent. Will it make a difference? The state of Pennsylvania, which invested $780 million dollars in the center's expansion, had better hope so.
· PA Convention Center in financial trouble; labor costs cited [Axis Philly]