Convention & Sports Event Bookings Continue to Show Recovery


Hotel room nights booked in the first half of 2023 alone surpass pre-pandemic bookings by 27%

PITTSBURGH, PA – VisitPITTSBURGH sales efforts for business and sports events taking place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center are producing strong booking results, reflecting national trends pointing toward continued recovery in the convention travel industry.

In the first half of 2023 alone, the VisitPITTSBURGH and SportsPITTSBURGH sales teams booked more than 107,000 future room nights, which outpaces previous years of top performance and represents 127% percent of room nights booked during the same period in 2019.

The total estimated direct spend by convention and sports attendees for bookings made during the first six months of 2023 is projected at $98.4 million, ahead of 2019’s $82.5 million by 19%.

“It’s no secret that 2019 was a record-breaking year for convention event bookings, and we have had a tall task to meet and exceed that high bar post-pandemic,” said VisitPITTSBURGH President & CEO Jerad Bachar. “Our team has focused on identifying ways we can propel the industry forward to not only recover but enhance our position as a great destination for business and sports events alike.”

Bookings secured during the first half of 2023 are reflective of VisitPITTSBURGH’s data-driven sales and marketing efforts in addition to recent national reports indicating that convention group travel continues to rebound.

According to Lodging Analytics Research & Consulting, convention business nationally is pacing 13% ahead of 2022. When comparing the first half of 2023 to the same period in 2022, Pittsburgh’s preliminary results are exceeding those national trends:

  • Estimated direct spend for events hosted during the first half of 2023 is up 19% from the same period in 2022.
  • Estimated room nights hosted during the first half of 2023 are up 69% from the same period in 2022.
  • Estimated total attendance for events hosted during the first half of 2023 is up 13% from the same period in 2022.

While Pittsburgh is ahead of the curve, recovery efforts on both a national and local scale are still underway. According to the most recent Northstar/Cvent Meetings Industry Pulse Survey, one out of four planners indicate that they are planning but have yet to produce events postponed because of the pandemic.

“The convention industry continues to show a steady post-pandemic recovery, but there is still more work to be done,” said Bachar. “Our sales team, in collaboration with our business and hospitality partners, is focused on building back the volume of large-scale events. We collectively work together for months – and in some cases years – to secure major events for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and I look forward to seeing the results and real impacts of this effort throughout the remainder of the year."

The VisitPITTSBURGH’s sales team is also seeing the booking window – the time between when an event planner confirms a booking and the actual date for the event – getting shorter for all types of events, including meetings, conventions and sports, a trend that is also being seen nationally.

Notable convention center events booked by the VisitPITTSBURGH sales team in recent months include:

American Society for Microbiology: 2024 Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students

  • Attendance: 4,800
  • Total Room Nights: 13,620
  • Estimated Direct Spending: $6.8 million

GK Sports 2024 Steel City Freeze – 1st and 2nd Weekends Combined

  • Attendance: 16,400
  • Total Room Nights: 5,276
  • Estimated Direct Spending: $5.7 million

Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest

  • Attendance: 12,291
  • Total Room Nights: 4,411
  • Estimated Direct Spending: $7.2 million

National Catholic Education Association 2024 Annual Convention

  • Attendance: 5,000
  • Total Room Nights: 6,174
  • Estimated Direct Spending: $6.1 million

Regulatory Affairs Professional Society 2025 Annual Conference & Exhibition

  • Attendance: 2,000
  • Total Room Nights: 3,924
  • Estimated Direct Spending: $2.0 million

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 2029 National Conference

  • Attendance: 2,400
  • Total Room Nights: 7,598
  • Estimated Direct Spending: $3.4 million

To learn more about VisitPITTSBURGH’s convention sales efforts, visit

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. The organization is dedicated to generating business events, sports events and leisure travel.

As the sports development division of VisitPITTSBURGH, SportsPITTSBURGH’s primary goal is to attract and host a wide variety of sporting events while providing planners and local stakeholders with the expertise and professionalism required to host a world-class event in the Pittsburgh region.