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Facilities Update
SMG: Making The Pennsylvania Convention Center A Great Place To Do Business


Since assuming responsibility for management and oversight of the operations of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in December 2013, SMG has implemented a number of positive changes and company best practices to enhance the customer experience and make the Center a great place to do business. 

"All of the changes we are making - such as implementing industry best practices, bringing in new senior staff, and streamlining communications - are designed to achieve one primary goal: improved customer service and satisfaction," said Lorenz Hassenstein, general manager for SMG at the Convention Center.  "As someone who worked for years in the industry, I know the stress that comes with putting on, managing and running shows.  We want to reduce that level of stress - to the extent possible - and make the job of our customers easier by improving the ease of doing business with SMG and the Center.  SMG has only been in place at the Center for a few months, but customers are telling us that they like what they see and we are continuing to make improvements and enhancements in a range of areas."

Changes implemented by SMG to improve the customer experience include: 

  • Hiring of  six seasoned executives across various business units to help introduce higher levels of customer service into the Center's culture;
  • Establishing a new Labor Services Team working with streamlined work rules and a hands-on labor management approach to interface with the trade unions on behalf of customers, address jurisdictional rules, clearly explain work rules, work with customers to estimate and plan for labor needs well in advance of a show to help to keep costs down, and assist with post-show billing and reconciliation;
  • Expanding the Center's Event Services Team with additional floor managers to elevate service levels and streamlining the process with floor managers who serve as the primary point of contact and one-stop-shop for customers' event needs including deliveries, floor plan approval, food and beverage, security, engineering, and labor;
  • Establishing a Production Services Department - gathering event information at a deeper level in the early planning stages --- to provide customers with a seamless and cost-effective experience in A/V and high-end production;
  • Putting in place a more comprehensive management process working with customers well in advance of events to help avoid "surprises," taking steps to implement cost-saving measures, provide for better budgeting and use of resources, and assist with all stages of event planning;
  • Providing an expanded management presence with a manager on duty for major events to further improve customer service levels and coordinate responses to events in real-time;

"Delivering the best possible customer experience at the Pennsylvania Convention Center is our top priority and SMG has demonstrated a strong commitment to making the Center a great place to do business," said John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.  "SMG has been a terrific partner, the transition has been seamless, and I am pleased with the progress they have made in integrating their own internal and industry best-practices into the day-to-day operations of the Center. "

"We are hearing very positive feedback from planners, exhibitors and decorators who have worked with the new SMG team at the Pennsylvania Convention Center," said Julie Coker, senior vice president, Convention Division at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We are confident that their continuous progress in putting the needs of our customers first is contributing to a high-impact convention experience in Philadelphia for clients."

SMG, the nation's leading facilities manager, assumed responsibility for management and oversight of the operations of the Pennsylvania Convention Center on December 1, 2013.  Up until that point, the Center had been managed by staff working for the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, which oversees the operations of the facility, which attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.  In the first four months of managing operations, SMG has overseen several citywide conventions, including the American Economic Association, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, U.S. Lacrosse National Convention, National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the American Library Association as well as four major regional events - Mummersfest, the Philadelphia Auto Show, the Tattoo Arts Convention and the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Upcoming shows in 2014 include the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (July 10-18), the National Association of Letter Carriers (July 21-25), the National Society of Hispanic MBA (Sept. 25-27), Infectious Diseases Society of America (Oct. 8-12); the American Society of Nephrology (Nov. 11-16) and the American Society of Cell  Biology (Dec. 6-10).

For more information about hosting an event at the Convention Center, please call (215) 418-4750 or visit www.paconvention.com.

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