For nearly two decades, Philadelphia’s tourism organization had one of the most ungainly names going: GPTMC. That’s Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation.
No one could remember all those consonants, and worse, no one looking for information on the City of Brotherly Love was googling that jumble of unrelated letters.
That’s all changing. GPTMC announced this week that it is now called Visit Philadelphia. “GPTMC was never meant to be a permanent name,” says Meryl Levitz, President and CEO of Visit Philadelphia. “That name was a placeholder when we were established as a 3 year experiment. We didn’t know we’d be here 17 years later.”
And seventeen years stronger. Attracting an international audience, tourism in Philadelphia continues to boom, with domestic visitors up 45 percent since 1998.
The reason for spelling out the full name? Turns out it’s all about search results. SEO is not dead. “Visit and Philadelphia are the two biggest search terms,” explains Levitz.
“Philadelphia is searched fifteen times more than Philly outside our local area. In Philly, it’s only two times more, but we need to attract people from outside.” Levitz quotes the old Bill Cosby joke, about a couple, when asked the name of their new baby, reply that they will wait until he’s old enough to go out and play to see what the other kids call him.
While www.visitphilly.com and www.uwishunu.com are both Visit Philadelphia web properties, the site www.visitphiladelphia.com is currently owned by a squatter, a private individual who will sell the domain for “ten to a hundred thousand dollars,” says Levitz. Time to write a check, apparently, with room for zeroes.
The Visit Philadelphia logo is currently under construction as well, and will adorn future advertising efforts, including June 2014 Penn Station banner ads in New York City.
Levitz reports that the organization is not changing #visitphilly hashtags and social media identities, because she expects that the nomenclature will flow back and forth between the informal Philly and the more formal Philadelphia.
A second name, Go Philadelphia, was also in the running, and Levitz says it will remain an option for future tourism campaigns.
Unlike With Love, Philadelphia XOXO, Visit Philadelphia is a company identity, not a campaign. GPTMC remains the legal name of the company. Visit Philadelphia is the dba (doing business as) name for public facing communications. The Visit Philadelphia logo was designed by Kelly Beh and brand strategist Sadie Rose (daughter of Ed Tettemer), who worked in tandem with GPTMC’s in house creative services department.
Locally, you’ll be seeing the new Visit Philadelphia on two billboards starting the week of November 18th, and the full campaign launch is scheduled for early January at the tourism organization’s annual Winter Creative New Year’s breakfast.