Within two hours reach of New York City, Harrisburg, Pa., and Philadelphia, and under four hours from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, northeastern Pennsylvania’s storied four-county, four-season Pocono Mountains region is expanding its already abundant group resources.
“The Poconos offer much to travelers, no matter the reason or season,” said Chris Barrett, CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. “Continually growing, our plentiful meeting options include immense convention spaces, conductive spaces in historic hotels and unique, multifaceted resorts.”
Along with accessibility and versatility, the Poconos score high on play.
“We know business travelers and conventioneers are looking for venues that offer fun after the work is done,” Barrett said. “Many of our guests extend their stay or bring their families along to explore the Poconos while they have the opportunity.”
Predominantly attracting groups from Pennsylvania, neighboring states and the wider Mid-Atlantic region, the Poconos’ market is expanding.
“With representative industries including environmental, medical, technical, agriculture, and food and beverage, we are seeing growth in the corporate, faith-based and affinity segments,” Barrett said. “Regional and national association bookings are on the rise, along with international leisure and business visitors. Our current sales focus includes emphasizing national conventions.”
Founded in 1967, the American Wine Society celebrated 50 years at the organization’s 2017 national conference. Hosting delegates from around the U.S. at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Pocono Manor, the event exemplifies the Poconos’ broadening audience exposure. And with Kalahari now underway with a major expansion, the destination as a whole is enjoying a new era of discovery by groups.
Mount Airy Casino Resort is also investing for the future. Formerly the fabled Mount Airy Lodge, America’s long-time ‘’honeymoon hideaway,’’ the resort was reborn in 2007 as Pennsylvania’s first AAA Four Diamond-rated casino. Following the $5 million redevelopment of its 11,000-square-foot pool and entertainment complex in 2017, which included the event-capable Wet Nightclub, and May 2018 opening of the 2,000-plus capacity Outdoor Concert Pavilion, the resort is readying for the anticipated spring 2019 unveiling of its latest compelling expansion.
“Mount Airy Casino Resort is the ideal go-to destination for groups seeking full-service meeting experiences,” said Vincent Jordan, vice president of marketing and gaming operations. “Focused on continuously elevating the group experience, this is an exciting time for meeting planners to revisit the property, as we gear up to reveal our multimillion-dollar investment in new accommodations and venue options.”
Skytop Lodge, Skytop, PA. | Credit: Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau
The addition of 100 new upscale guest rooms, including four executive suites and five junior suites, raises its total key count to 288. The new 16,000-square-foot ballroom and events center boosts total group space to 20,000 square feet of multifunctional space, accommodating 750-person seated dinners and 1,200-attendee events and concerts.