Center City Philadelphia is experience a stellar 2015 with its leisure tourism occupancy.

The first six months of the year, hotels have sold 416,000 room nights for leisure travelers—a 3.8 percent from the first half of 2014. And with the pope’s visit in September on the horizon, the area will hopefully result in a leisurely record year.

“Leisure has been a consistent producer for Philadelphia over the past two decades,” says Meryl Levitz, president/CEO, Visit Philadelphia. “These 2015 results prove that leisure travelers come here all year long—not just for events—because it’s always a good time to visit. Philadelphia has become a destination.”

Average daily rates for the three major segments also are up. Commercial increased 9 percent to $197 over the same time last year, group increased 5.5 percent to $186 and leisure increased 5 percent to $172.

Peter Tyson of PKF Consulting—a hospitality consulting and research form—expects area hotels to beat last year’s record for both leisure occupancy and overall occupancy. July through October typically yield the most visitors, and the pope’s visit is sure to be a boost to occupancy rates.

“The highest demand period for leisure in Center City typically has been the second half of the year,” says Tyson. “If that trend continues in 2015—and we expect that it will—leisure will break records again this year.”

The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth changes its name to Saint John’s Resort in August.

It’s part of a rebranding with multiple enhancements that Director of Sales and Marketing Fadi Sibani says make it a true Detroit destination resort.

Formerly owned by the Archdiocese of Detroit as St. John’s Provincial Seminary from 1948 to 1988, the property was transformed in the 1990s as a center for youth and families before it was redeveloped into a hotel and conference center in the 2000s. 

 

First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 

 

Six months ago, Detroit’s TCF Center got a new name—Huntington Place. Now the convention center is getting striking new public art—an outdoor sculpture by acclaimed artist Scott Hocking. The 15-foot diameter bronze sculpture, Floating Citadel, will be located in the main circle drive of Huntington Place in downtown Detroit. The installation of the sculpture is expected to be complete by late summer. Renderings and images are available here