VisitPITTSBURGH Reports Positive Results 2018 at its Annual Meeting

Winning marketing campaigns, impressive sales results, successfully hosted nine NCAA Championships and international marketing efforts highlighted the agenda

PITTSBURGH—At its Annual Meeting at Rivers Casino today, VisitPITTSBURGH senior staff reported positive results from both events hosted in Pittsburgh, as well as new convention and event bookings that extend as far out as 2024. In addition, winning marketing campaigns and the successful hosting of nine NCAA championships were highlighted. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald made opening comments.

“This year’s Annual Meeting celebrates the accomplishments our team, partners and stakeholders have come together to achieve over this past year,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. “Working together as a community helps us provide visitors with an authentic and memorable experience.”

In 2018, VisitPITTSBURGH booked 555 meetings, conventions and sports events worth an estimated direct spending of $236 million.

Here is a sampling of major conventions, groups and events booked by VisitPITTSBURGH in 2018:

  • NeighborWorks America 2018 NeighborWorks Training Institute (8,297 room nights)
  • 2023 Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (7,650 room nights)
  • 2022 International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting (6,840 room nights)
  • Python Software Foundation 2020 PyCon (5,753 room nights)

SportsPITTSBURGH, the sports development arm of VisitPITTSBURGH, continues to successfully work with the community, universities, and sports venues to bring sports-related events to the city.

In 2018, the following sports events were booked:

  • NCAA 2021 Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championships (8,567 room nights)
  • 2019 East Coast Volleyball Championships (4,737 room nights)
  • Atlantic Coast Baseball 2019 Cap Classic (3,993 room nights)
  • Hoop Group 2019 Pittsburgh Jam Fest (3,633 room nights)

In 2018, SportsPITTSBURGH along with local universities and venues hosted eight of the 22 NCAA Championships that Pittsburgh was awarded by the NCAA in 2017. Six of those championships took place over three days, in four sports, at four venues and brought in over 900 student-athletes from around the country. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, a highly-anticipated event that brought over 100,000 total attendees to Pittsburgh, took place in March of 2019.

VisitPITTSBURGH contributed over 330,000 rooms to the overall room night consumption for Allegheny County for 2018 and future years. The 494 meetings, conventions and sports events that were hosted attracted over 413,000 attendees, which contributed $227.9 million in direct spending to the local economy.
Smith Travel Research – the world’s foremost source of hotel performance trends – reported that the percentage of available rooms in Allegheny County grew by two percent in 2018. The Allegheny County Treasurer’s Office reported that hotel occupancy tax for 2018 was $37.4 million.

“During 2018, VisitPITTSBURGH proved that when we come together as a team, there is no challenge too large. We had a strong year and are very proud of our accomplishments,” said Davis. “Moving forward, we want to build off of this momentum we’ve achieved and continue to exceed expectations. We expect 2019 to be a big year for VisitPITTSBURGH.”

In January of 2019, Pittsburgh welcomed the PCMA Convening Leaders Conference and more than 3,700 business professionals (of which more than 1,700 were meeting planners) to the city, which utilized nearly 12,000 room nights. Guests were thoroughly impressed with Pittsburgh’s beauty, amenities and welcoming residents. Pittsburgh has already received more than 27 leads for future conventions and meetings in Pittsburgh.

VisitPITTSBURGH, in a partnership with the Pittsburgh International Airport, Butler County Visitors Bureau, Visit Washington County, Visit Monroeville, the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau and the Idea Foundry, along with international agencies in the U.K. and Germany, continue to raise awareness of Pittsburgh in the U.K. and Germany. Pittsburgh also welcomed the first charter flight from Shanghai, China in August of 2018, through a partnership with CAISSA Touristic.

International interest peaked during the announcement of the direct flight with British Airways from Heathrow, London to Pittsburgh, coming April 2. Nicolas Krohn, vice president, North American sales for British Airways was our special guest at today’s meeting. “Working collectively with these partner organizations allows us to provide the international audience with the best possible experience in Pittsburgh,” said Davis. “This new non-stop flight will serve a gateway to bring Pittsburgh to the world and the world to Pittsburgh.”

VisitPITTSBURGH’s Marketing department had a spectacular year, producing award-winning work. The team’s 360 Video won a Davies Best in Show Award, and the hard work that went into the website redesign paid off when it received the prestigious Adrian Award.

In other news, VisitPITTSBURGH reported that 2018 marked yet another spectacular year of publicity for Pittsburgh. Last year, VisitPITTSBURGH helped generate more than 2,753 positive story placements worldwide, with an advertising equivalency of $37.9 million. Stories about Pittsburgh as an excellent tourism destination appeared in national and international media outlets, including National Geographic Traveller, Af&co, Travel Channel, Forbes, Medium, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, USA Today, Parade Magazine, National Geographic, New York Magazine and more.

As the official tourism promotion agency for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, VisitPITTSBURGH is dedicated to generating conventions, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.