Philadelphia Hotels Need More Guests for Pope’s Visit

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Pope Francis will be visiting the US at the end of September as part of a multi-city tour. According to the official website schedule, his tour includes in Washington DC from September 22-24, New York from the evening of September 24-25th, and Philadelphia on September 26-27th, 2015.

The organizers of the event originally expected 1 million people at the Pope’s September 27th Mass being held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Hotels initially sold like hotcakes, and back in July there were reports of Airbnb properties going for $6000 a night.

Even though Eventbrite shows tickets sold out for the Papal Mass on September 27, 2015, hotel bookings slowed so much that there are still 3,000 hotel rooms (our of 11,200) available in the city.

Mayor Michael Nutter even had a pep-rally to raise interest. He handed out buttons that said, “I’ll be there” and encouraged even locals to book two-night hotel stays for the Pope’s visit.

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Here’s a link to the website people are being encouraged to use if they are thinking of attending the Papal events or staying at a hotel.

To woo potential guests, hotels dropped their prices and started getting a little wacky with their offers. If checking in on Friday or Saturday at a city hotel, guests will receive two free tickets to the One Liberty Observation Deck which can be redeemed on a return visit between January 1 and March 31, 2016.

The Inn at Penn, a Hilton property, was reportedly offering a “Pope Pack” with local Philly snacks and SEPTA subway tokens for two-day stays though it could be that package is now sold out as I was unable to find it on Hilton’s website.

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The deal could have come about because SEPTA, the regional subway agency said it has only sold 60,000 passes for the mass, 115,000 less than expected. Charter bus numbers are low as well, with only 1,100 registered instead of the 5,000 anticipated.

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Hotel prices were down in the $100 range but seem to have shot up some. Checking for just the night of September 26, 2015 the Sheraton rang in at $369 while typically it goes for over $150 less.

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I really hope the turn out is at least as high as originally expected. It can be frustrating when you’ve put together a really good event and for whatever reason the interest isn’t as much as you’d like. Plus, it’s The Pope! You don’t have to travel all the way to Vatican City to see him and can do so right in the US. The festivities also include fun foodie items like a Pope Hot Dog, Il Papa pie, and the Holy Wooder Belgian-style beer.

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  1. Kevin S

    Can’t recall the year that a previous pope made a trip to Iowa. The management of one restaurant chain assumed out of towners would be kicking down the doors. It was a bust, since groups came in by buses, caught the Holy Father and then went back home.

    • Melinda

      Sounds like an expensive mistake the restaurant made, Kevin S. Hope it goes better this time. Thanks for reading!

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