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Destination DC Anticipates a Year of Firsts in Convention Sales and Services
New groups, accolades and development shape a strong year ahead
(Washington, DC) – Throughout 2018, Destination DC (DDC) will welcome first-time groups meeting in Washington, DC, new accolades to entice meetings and conventions and myriad new hotel inventory and special events venues.
First-time citywide conferences and events (2,500 or more rooms on peak) in 2018 include True Value Company’s Spring Reunion (Feb. 9-12), the World Conference of the International Gas Union (June 25-29), the MLB All-Star Game and Week (July 13-17), Infor’s “Inforum” (Sept. 25-26) and American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting (Dec. 10-14).
“Washington, DC will welcome 21 citywide conventions and special events in 2018, with 422,434 total room nights and an economic impact of $361 million,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of DDC. “Our sales team is also focused on short-term corporate bookings, and significant recent wins include Nestle in May and Subway in August.”
DDC will continue positioning the city as a knowledge hub in four markets: technology, biotechnology/pharmaceutical, education and medical. The organization has created web content, marketing materials and published four white papers that establish the benefits of meeting in DC for organizations within these sectors. DDC is working closely with its Ambassador Circle members that help champion global bids to roll out these efforts. This fall, planners will be able to access the white papers on MPI’s Meeting Planner Toolbox to gain continuing education credits.
“Customers are responding to the new approach, and Infor is a great example. The leading cloud-based software company has never hosted its annual meeting in DC. Organizers were surprised to learn about the depth of DC’s technology industry and alignment of the city with its customer base,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services.
DC’s landscape will see major changes with $11.8 billion in development underway and more than 4,000 hotel rooms in the pipeline. Among the highlights:
- The Wharf opened Oct. 12, transforming the Southwest Waterfront. There are four rentable public piers and a new performance venue The Anthem, with flexible capacity for 2,000-6,000. Three new hotels add 690 rooms to the city’s inventory:
- 278-room InterContinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf (17,000 square feet of meeting space)
- 175-room Canopy by Hilton (10th floor rooftop lounge; 3,300-square-foot outdoor terrace)
- 237-room Hyatt House (1,695 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space)
- Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler galleries reopened Oct. 14
- The updated Michelin Guide Washington, DC 2018 was released Oct. 17
- Museum of the Bible opens Nov. 17, including a ballroom (capacity 500-1,000) and the 472-seat World Stage Theater
- The Women’s Voices Theater Festival returns Jan. 15-Feb. 15.
For more events and information, visit washington.org.
DC is among the top three North American meeting destinations, according to STR’s 2017 DestinationMAP (Meeting Assessment Program). Meeting planners found DC’s safety and attractiveness appealing, as well as ease of access and value.
In July, CBRE released that DC is #1 for women in tech according to its Tech Talent Scorecard. Also notable in the report, the DC metro area is No. 2 for educational attainment.
Washington, DC was named the first LEED Platinum City in the World in August by U.S. Green Building Council because of its environmentally-forward practices. The District of Columbia government is championing DC’s efforts to be among the healthiest and greenest cities in the U.S. by 2032 by focusing on renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and programs that impact DC’s food, water and green space. Meeting planners will find:
- Energy-reducing and recycling programs at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center
- Easy-to-navigate public transportation
- Walkable neighborhoods
- Bike sharing programs, including more than 3,700 Capital Bikeshare bikes and new dockless bike options from companies including Mobike and Ofo
- Eco-friendly LEED certified hotels including the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC and area Kimpton Hotels
- Green Restaurant Association-certified caterers
In 2016, a record 22 million total visitors came to Washington, DC, up 3.3% over 2015 – comprised of 20 million domestic (up 3.6% according to DK Shifflet) and 2 million overseas visitors (down 1.7%, according to Travel Market Insights). Though 9% of the total number of visitors to DC, international visitors [overseas visitors plus visitors from Canada and Mexico] represent 28% of the visitor spending.
About Destination DC: Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. washington.org.
Danielle Davis, Director of Communications
202-789-7046; 202-603-2093; danielle.davis [at] destinationdc.com