Source for News and Updates on Lodging, Restaurants, Attractions, Hirings, Promotions, and more...
PA Closes Online Travel Company Loophole
Posted Oct. 19, 2018: On Oct. 17, 2018 the PA House concurred in Senate amendments with a vote of 137-44 to send HB 1511, sponsored by Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R, Bucks) to Governor Tom Wolf for his signature. The Governor plans to sign the bill and has 10 days to do so, according to a news advisory issued by the PA Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA).
This legislation requires online travel companies (OTCs) such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity to remit state and county hotel tax on the retail rate of the room, as in-state hotels have been doing all along. By closing this loophole, the state will realize $23.8 million in additional revenue which will be dedicated to the statewide tourism office for statewide tourism promotion.
The PA Tourism Office it is currently funded at a meager $4 million, according to the PRLA.
The bill passed the Senate on Oct. 17 with a broad bipartisan vote of 43-6.
This legislation has been a priority of PRLA and its members for years and they are thrilled to get it across the finish line. So many legislators supported this initiative and the PRLA communication recognized the following individuals who were the greatest champions for this legislation:
- Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R, Bucks), prime sponsor
- Sen. Mario Scavello (R, Monroe)
- Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R, Allegheny)
- Sen. Larry Farnese (D, Philadelphia)
PA Launches "Ale Trail" App to Help Beer Lovers Find Breweries in Keystone State
Posted Oct. 8, 2018: The Brewers of Pennsylvania Guild (BOP) announced a new, free location-based Digital Ale Trail App available on iTunes and Google Play to help beer enthusiasts find their favorite brews in PA. An integrated passport program allows users to earn rewards and prizes and the system will make beer suggestions based on previous check-in activity. There is also a photo booth function and social media integration according to the BOP.
The App is the latest development in the BOP's comprehensive plan to expand the organization's digital footprint and increase consumer interest in the 282 breweries located throughout Pennsylvania, which ranks sixth nationally for its number of craft breweries and first in craft beer production. Continue Reading...
Hersheypark Announces $150 Million Chocolatetown Expansion for 2020
Posted Oct. 4, 2018: See the details of the announcement and artist renderings. Continue Reading...
Justin Roth Joins Capital City Mall as Marketing Manager
Posted Oct. 3, 2018: Justin Roth has joined Capital City Mall as Marketing Manager, responsible for the development and implementation of mall marketing programs, managing the property’s website and social media platforms, the execution of community based programs, visual merchandising, and retailer, community and media relations.
Prior to joining Capital City Mall, Roth served as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC, where his experience ranged from event planning and marketing to graphic design and photography.
Capital City Mall is a premiere shopping and family destination in the Harrisburg region featuring an array of first-to-market and exclusive retailers including DSW, H&M, Field & Stream and many more. In the fall of 2018, Capital City Mall will be celebrating the opening of the region’s first Dave & Buster’s as well as a newly renovated Forever 21. In addition to its excellent array of shopping, dining and entertainment offerings, Capital City Mall hosts many free events and programs for the community and families to enjoy year-round.
Roth earned his bachelor’s degree in Digital Communications at Lebanon Valley College. A native of Lancaster County, Roth now resides in Harrisburg with his dog, Izzie.
About Capital City Mall and PREIT
PREIT (NYSE:PEI) is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns and manages Capital City Mall and other quality properties in compelling markets. PREIT's 23 million square feet of carefully curated retail and lifestyle offerings mixed with destination dining and entertainment experiences are located primarily in the eastern U.S. with concentrations in the mid-Atlantic's top MSAs. Since 2012, the company has driven a transformation guided by an emphasis on portfolio quality and balance sheet strength driven by disciplined capital expenditures. Additional information is available at www.preit.com or on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Justin Roth, Marketing Manager
(717) 737-8275 x14
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg Named Best CVB 2018 by PA Meetings + Events Magazine
Posted Sept. 12, 2018: The Pennsylvania Meetings + Events Best of 2018 readers’ choice awards were announced and Visit Hershey & Harrisburg once again earned the Top Choice for CVB with a population less than 300,000. The following is an excerpt from the article announcing the winners for 2018.
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH) is the winner for Best CVB in Town/Area (Less than 300,000 in Population).
“The core strengths for this region continue to be its central location to major population centers along the East Coast with highly competitive pricing as a third-tier city,” says Audrey Bialas, VHH Director of Sales (pictured right).
“But what makes this area really special for meeting planners is the ‘built-in buzz’ that comes from our well-established reputation for being a fun and friendly travel destination. Planners benefit greatly from a location that sparks initial excitement for attendees and then delivers on those expectations once they arrive. The Hershey and Harrisburg region is exactly that type of place.”
The Visit Hershey & Harrisburg sales division conducts B2B sales within the meetings and conventions, military and family reunions, students and religious travel, and domestic and international tours travel trade market segments.
“The real secret to planning a great meeting in the Hershey and Harrisburg region is to embrace the fact that a meeting or event can be fun and productive,” Bialas says. “The amusement park, team-building activities, golf courses, spas, museums, outdoor activities, dozens of wineries and craft breweries, and the ever-present ‘chocolate factor’ in Hershey gives our clients endless options for theming, after hours events and easy add-on activities for attendees who bring a spouse or the entire family.”
The following regional tourism partners from PA's Hershey & Harrisburg Region were also recognized by readers in 2018:
- Best Vineyard with Event Space (Runner-Up): The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey
- Best Hotel with Meeting & Event Space (More than 200 Guest Rooms): The Hershey Lodge
- Best Brewery with Event Space (Runner-Up): Troegs Independent Brewing and Appalachian Brewing Company
- Best Meeting & Event Planning Company (Runner-Up): JDK Group
- Best Transportation (Runner-Up): Unique Limousine
- Best Independent Planner (Runner-Up): Julie B. Walker, CMP, HMCC, Choice Meetings
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Names Vikki Hultquist New GM, Attractions & Entertainment
Posted August 16, 2018: Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R) today announced the appointment of Vikki Hultquist to General Manager, Attractions & Entertainment, effective immediately.
Hultquist has been with HE&R for 17 years in various roles since joining the company in 2001 as Director, Hockey Business Operations and Sports & Entertainment Marketing. She held various roles including Hershey Bears Hockey Club, Assistant GM; Director, Event Programming; Managing Director, Giant Center; Complex Managing Director, Event Booking, Marketing & Ticketing; Managing Director, Entertainment; and Attractions & Entertainment Assistant GM, Revenue Operations. Most recently, Hultquist served as Attractions & Entertainment Assistant GM, Facility Operations, from February 2015 to August 2018.
This position reports to Kevin Stumpf, Vice President, Sports & Attractions, and is responsible for driving demand, managing growth, and successfully executing the business strategy for properties across the Hersheypark Entertainment Complex including Hersheypark, Giant Center, Hersheypark Stadium, Hersheypark Arena and Hershey Theatre.
American Girl Opens First Outlet in U.S. in Hershey, PA
Posted August 10, 2018: According to an article in Pennlive.com by Daniel Urie, Tanger Outlets in Hershey will be the home to the American Girl Doll and the first outlet location the company has opened in the nation. The 2,200-square-foot store will officially open on Saturday, August 11 with an anticipated crowd of 3,500-5,000 according to event planners. American Girl has 20 stores but this is the only outlet store according to Wade Opland, vice president, global retail for American Girl.
Mecum Harrisburg 2018 Auction Brings More Than $24.1 Million in Overall Sales
Posted August 8, 2018: The theme for Mecum Auctions in 2018 has been growth in leaps and bounds, according to the company's recent recap from the Harrisburg auction held at the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center on August 2-4, 2018. Mecum reported total sales of $24.1 million at the Harrisburg show with 763 collector cars sold in just three days for a strong sell-through rate of nearly 80 percent. Read full press release...
Theatre Harrisburg Appoints New Executive Director
Posted May 14, 2018: Harrisburg native Stosh Snyder has been named the new Executive Director for Theatre Harrisburg, replacing Allison Hays, who is leaving to pursue interests outside of Central PA.
Snyder has been a frequent performer at Theatre Harrisburg and Hershey Area Playhouse and comes to his new position after a successful career in sales and marketing. Snyder graduated from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA with a BA in Music Education and previously taught for four years in the Louden County (VA) Public Schools before returning to Harrisburg in 2004.
As Executive Director of Theatre Harrisburg, Snyder will be responsible for the overall operation of the Theatre which was founded in 1926 as Harrisburg Community Theatre and is one of the nation’s oldest community theaters. Theatre Harrisburg is also a Core Arts Organization of the Cultural Enrichment Fund.
Harrisburg International Airport welcomes new nonstop routes with Frontier Airlines
Read full press release on this announcement including schedules for new service and details on Frontier's special introductory one-way rates for new flights.
Director of Business Development for Harrisburg takes new position as Director of ExploreHBG Tourism Branding Program with Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
Posted Mar. 26, 2018: Mary Smith, President and CEO of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH) today welcomed Devan Drabik as the new Director of Marketing and Communications for ExploreHBG, the bureau's tourism branding program for Pennsylvania's capital city.
In her new role, Drabik will oversee a broad range of the marketing and communications elements for the ExploreHBG program including: branding, advertising, public relations, social media, and web site development.
Drabik previously served as the Director of Business Development for the City of Harrisburg since 2015. Read full press release with more information on ExploreHBG and its new Director of Marketing and Communications.
Forbes & AAA have again recognized Hershey Entertainment & Resort properties with Awards in 2018
Posted March 20, 2018:
- The Hotel Hershey received Four Stars from Forbes for the 34th time.
- The Spa At The Hotel Hershey received 4 Stars from Forbes for the third straight year.
- The Circular received the Recommended Distinction from Forbes.
- The Hotel Hershey received a Four Diamond from AAA for the 38th time in a row which the Resorts Company says is the longest of any hotel in Pennsylvania.
- The Circular received four Diamonds for the 30th time in a row which the Resorts Company says is the longest of any in restaurant in Pennsylvania.
New Giraffe Exhibit Coming to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Late Summer 2018
Posted March 20, 2018: Construction has started on the first phase of an expansion plan at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, including: Walking Trail, Barn, and a Viewing and Feeding Deck for a New Giraffe Exhibit.
Completion of the project is anticipated sometime in the late summer 2018. Future phases of the project will include the addition of new exhibits and expanding the walking trail as well as adding a concession and restroom facility.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company Names Kevin Stumpf as New VP, Sports & Attractions
Posted Mar. 5, 2018: The Board of Directors of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R) recently approved the promotion of Kevin Stumpf to the role of Vice President, Sports & Attractions, effective immediately.
For more information contact Kathleen McGraw at HE&R at email@example.com.
“For more than 22 years, Kevin has served HE&R in a number of finance and operational roles,” said John Lawn, President & Chief Executive Officer, HE&R. “His successful track record and proven leadership make him the best candidate to assume this role, and we look forward to his ongoing achievements in this position.”
Stumpf joined HE&R as a full-time employee in 1996. Throughout the years, he has held a variety of roles, including Managing Director of Finance in both the Entertainment and Resorts groups; General Manager, Hersheypark Stadium and Arena; Managing Director of Maintenance for the Entertainment Complex; and Managing Director of Finance - Accounting Processes and Procurement.
“I am thankful for this opportunity and the confidence and trust this exceptional company has placed in me,” said Kevin Stumpf. “It’s such an exciting time to be part of our organization, and I look forward to working with our company’s leadership team to grow the business and further the legacy of our founder, Milton S. Hershey.”
With this promotion, Stumpf will take on additional responsibility for the management of Hershey Country Club, Hersheypark Camping Resort, and the Downtown Restaurant Group, while continuing to oversee Hersheypark and Entertainment Complex operations.
Stumpf will also take on a larger role with the Entertainment Complex’s planning and strategic growth initiatives.
Stumpf earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Millersville University.
Active in various community organizations, Stumpf is on the Board of Advisors for Children’s Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, the Board of Advisors for Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, and volunteers his time at the Milton Hershey School.
Upscale Hotel Indigo Brand Boutique Property Opening in Hershey & Harrisburg Region in April 2018.
Posted Oct. 30, 2017: Hotel Indigo Harrisburg - Hershey is slated to open at 765 Eisenhower Boulevard in PA’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, according to hotel management.
Areya Management, which owns 15 hotels, purchased the former Wyndham Garden Harrisburg hotel in 2016 and closed it in January 2017 to begin converting the 149-room property to the specifications of the upscale Hotel Indigo brand, recognized for stylish and vibrant boutique hotels.
The Hotel Indigo brand is very unique, with no two hotels the same, according to Kenny Mehta, managing director of business operations at Areya Management.
The interior of the one located in the Hershey & Harrisburg Region will be designed based on a local theme and include an onsite bar and restaurant, meeting rooms, boardroom, fitness center and an outdoor pool.
Guestrooms feature plush bedding, flexible work spaces, hard-surface flooring with area rugs and over-sized murals, and artwork, according to Indigo's website. Concept design pictured below.
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, which owns the Hotel Indigo and other nationally recognized brands including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, has previously only granted permission for the Indigo brand to be in traditionally larger high-performing markets.
"We were the first in what they consider a small market," Mehta said. "We're hoping that it will be one of the best hotels in the area."
Mehta says that the central location is ideal for easy access to Harrisburg, Hershey, and Harrisburg International Airport.
Areya Management will also move its headquarters from the west shore to the location of the new hotel when it is completed.
The first Indigo hotel opened in 2004 in Atlanta and there are 79 Hotel Indigo hotels worldwide today. The company expects to open 76 more hotels within the next three to five years.
This announcement was first reported in a Pennlive.com article by Daniel Urie on October 22, 2017.
Pennsylvania Meetings + Events Magazine Readers' Choice Awards 2017 Announced
Posted Oct. 5, 2017
Best Of PA Award Winners 2017
The following only represent winners from the Hershey & Harrisburg Region
- Visit Hershey & Harrisburg for Best CVB (Population Area Under 300k)
- Hershey Lodge for Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (more than 200 guest room)
- Warehouse Hotel at The Nook for Best Hotel with Meeting/ Event Space (fewer than 200 guest rooms)
- Forklift & Palate at Spooky Nook for Best Restaurant with Private Dining Space
- Spooky Nook Sports for Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotel)
Honorable Mentions as those “Nominated” or “Runner-Up” in other categories included:
- Appalachian Brewing Company (ABC) runner-up in category for Best Brewery with Event Space
- Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey runner-up in category for Best Winery with Event Space
- JDK Group runner-up in category for Best Meeting/Event Planning Company
- Premiere #1 Limousine Service runner-up in category for Best Transportation Provider
Sports Business Journal Ranks PA’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region in Nation's Top10 Minor League Sports Markets
Posted Oct. 4, 2017: Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal ranked Pennsylvania’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region (HHR) as the (#7) best minor league market in the nation for 2017.
The HH Region was the only PA market and 1 of only 2 areas within the U.S. Mid-Atlantic to crack the TOP10 list in 2017.
"The region is consistently recognized for being a top destination for sports fans from near and far for the same reasons we have become a prime destination for youth sporting events and tournaments," said Gregg Cook, Executive Director for the Hershey & Harrisburg Sports and Events Authority (HHSE).
Hershey’s family-friendly atmosphere paired with Harrisburg’s blend of history, culture, and nightlife are significant contributors to the region consistently appearing on this list of top minor league sports market, according to Cook.
In addition to having a loyal base of local sports fans, the region is also extremely fortunate to have world-class attractions and amenities with a wide range of affordable lodging and event venues.
"All of those factors, plus our central location to the major population centers within the Mid-Atlantic Region, make us one of the most easily accessible markets for youth sporting events and a highly desirable destination for tournament organizers," said Cook.
The Hershey & Harrisburg Region previously earned consecutive honors as the #1 Minor League Market in U.S. in 2009 & 2011 from Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, which compiles their ranking every two years.
Bike Sharing Arrives In Harrisburg
Posted Oct. 4, 2017: Starting today, you can rent a bike to zip around Harrisburg, according to a recent report by Wallace McKelvey on Pennlive.com (Oct. 4, 2017). The bike-sharing service Zagster has set up nine stations across the capital where it will rent 55 bicycles. Two more stations are in the works.
Bikes are available for a $25 annual fee with trips of up to two hours free and $2 per hour for longer trips. They can also be rented without a membership for $2 per hour for up to 10 hours. Those who keep the bikes for more than 24 hours will be charged a $50 overtime fee.
Ninety-three percent of proceeds are earmarked for the nonprofit Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania, which serves local students and their families.
How does the Bike Sharing System work?
- Download the Zagster app on your phone and join the Harrisburg bike share.
- Plug the bike number (For example #1234) into the app and receive a unique code to unlock the bike.
- Dial that lock code, remove the docking cable and use the bike. (With helmet, of course.)
- Return the bike at any other station. Press and hold the lock button on the keypad until the light flashes.
- Find the orange tab on the ring lock and slide it down.
- Place the docking cable from the station into the port on the ring lock. Tap "End Ride" in the Zagster app.
- The lock can also be used on any public bike rack with the unique code for mid-ride stops.
New Retail & Entertainment Complex Coming Soon to Downtown Hershey
Posted Oct. 2, 2017: After years in the planning stage, the new Hershey Towne Center will welcome dozens of businesses when the 32,000 square-foot complex opens along West Chocolate Avenue in Hershey in 2018, according to leasing agency Bennett Williams Commercial.
The new multi-use complex is centered around a former Post Office building in the heart of Hershey and will include two outdoor plaza areas, 400-car parking garage, and a mix of retail & restaurants, according to a report by Sue Gleiter on Pennlive.com (Oct. 2, 2017).
Businesses slated to lease space include Primanti Bros. Restaurants, Starbucks, Great Clips, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and Jersey Mike's Subs. Lancaster-based TONO Architects and RVG Management & Development Company in Wormleysburg, PA are collaborating on the project.