What the Olympics taught Philly's hotel-association director about winning, losing

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By Jane M. Von Bergen, Staff Writer

From The Philadelphia Enquirer

Last year, for the first time since 2002, Army took home the trophy in the annual Army-Navy gridiron contest, drowning Navy’s 13-year victory streak. In Philadelphia, no matter which side scores most, the city’s hotels are the real winners, booked to the max, with reservation pressure extending into the suburbs.

 Source: Michele Frentrop, for  The Philadelphia Inquirer

Source: Michele Frentrop, for The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The Army-Navy game is very good for us because it’s December,” said Ed Grose, 50, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, the trade group representing 100 area hotels. “There’s nothing else going on.”

Grose has a dual identity. In the news, he usually speaks for the hotel association. But his real business is Alta Management Services, which administers business and professional associations, including the hotel group.

His hotel-association role is taking on new importance. Starting Jan. 1, the association will receive 0.75 percent of the daily Philadelphia hotel-room rate to market the city for events that fill rooms. That’s $1.50 on a $200 room, or an estimated $5.8 million in 2018.

The association has already pledged $300,000 a year to secure the Army-Navy game until 2022, except for 2021, when it will be played in New York. “All these folks are not just watching the game and going back to their hotel. It’s impossible to get a dinner reservation that weekend,” Grose said. “They’re dropping a lot of money while they’re here.”

Margot McMahon