By staff writer
October 2018 – 2 min. read

Over the last five years, several new hotels have been announced in Philadelphia to accommodate the waves of leisure and business travelers visiting our fair city. These are both big-name hotels and smaller boutiques, both of which are strengthening Philadelphia’s credibility as a prime tourist destination. What’s more, nearly all of these hotels are planned for Center City.

Visit Philadelphia recently reported that “nine new hotels are unlocking 1,902 new rooms to meet visitor demand, which has increased at a rate of 86 percent over the past 20 years.” And these new projects couldn’t come at a better time. Visit Philly also reported that in 2017, a record was set for 1.1 million leisure hotel room stays, a 334 percent uptick since the late 1990s. With nearly 44 million leisure travelers visiting Philadelphia last year, leisure travel is the biggest driver for bookings in the city as a whole.

One of the newest hotels on the scene is the Cambria, located along the Avenue of the Arts in downtown Center City. General Manager Jerry Rice says that this hotel is owned and built by Philadelphians for Philadelphians. “We’ve worked hard to curate a sense of place with the locally inspired designs and unique upscale amenities that the Cambria brand is known for nationwide,” Rice told Invest: Philadelphia when he sat down with our team earlier this year.  “Our presence on Broad Street has drawn consistent interest from travelers and locals alike, and we hope the hotel will continue to serve as a gathering place for all to experience the heart and soul of the city.”

Nevertheless, with so much new inventory coming online in Philadelphia’s hotel and hospitality sector, existing suppliers are rightly apprehensive. We spoke with some of these hoteliers to get their take on the issue.

Philadelphia’s Warwick Hotel.

“Philadelphia is seeing a 2,000-room increase from 2012 to 2019, so inventory is going up quite a bit,” Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, told Invest:. “This means that we have to be on top of our game in terms of marketing the city and bringing people in.”

As inventory increases, it will become more difficult to keep Philly hotels running at 80 percent occupancy. The Hotel Association is hoping that the proposed hospitality investment levy will help the average daily rate increase.

The positive side of the story, as Michael Roberts, general manager of the Windsor Suites, understands it, “is that we hope the increase in rooms available in Center City Philadelphia will help to accommodate large conventions needing more rooms available within proximity to the Convention Center.” The increase in demand across all segments — including the corporate, convention and leisure businesses — should help to mitigate the effects hotels across the city might feel as the supply of available rooms increases.

For institutions like the Rittenhouse Hotel, it’s all about staying true to their history and their goals. “We want to deliver on the expectations and services of a traditional luxury hotel without the weight of a brand,” General Manager Reginald Archambault told Invest:. “Our ultimate goal is personalized service. It doesn’t matter if you are coming in for a stay, a spa treatment or tea; we want you to have a memorable and wonderful time. We want everyone who comes to the Rittenhouse to feel cared for, and it is that philosophy that keeps people coming back.”

These are the strategies that will allow Philadelphia’s hotels to stay competitive in the face of a rapidly growing hospitality industry. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Philly’s hotels!

For more information about our interviewees, visit their websites.
The Cambria:
Windsor Suites:
Rittenhouse Hotel:
Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association:
Visit Philadelphia: