Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, provides an update on the benefits of meeting in DC and the organization’s convention sales and services strategies to attract events of all sizes to the nation’s capital.
Washington, DC welcomes 18 citywide conventions (defined as meetings, bringing 2,500 room nights to the city on peak), with an estimated 363,863 room nights, in 2023. Meetings and events continue to play a critical role in the city’s recovery from the pandemic.
Also supporting recovery efforts, on Jan. 3, 2023, the Council of the District of Columbia approved Tourism Recovery District legislation, a temporary 1 percent increase in the hotel tax that will go to DDC to market the destination and raise more than $20 million per year for four years. The temporary fee will make DC’s tax rate 15.95 percent from April 2023 through March 2027.
“As we compete globally with every other destination trying to regain market share, these dollars will give us the wherewithal to remain equally as competitive and enhance our marketing and sales efforts to draw meetings and events that leave a lasting impact on the local economy,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC.
The convention sales and services team continues to highlight resources for business event strategists only available in the nation’s capital under its “Connected” positioning.
“There’s no place like Washington, DC to leverage intellectual capital and access leaders and policymakers,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services. “Between investment in sustainability and growing startups, the city continues to be a leader in innovation. It’s also dedicated to progress, diversity and inclusivity and has long been a place for people to put their power of free speech to work, where impactful demonstrations have shaped the future of the United States. Washington, DC is the country’s original meeting center to make positive social change.”
Development and Innovation in DC
With $9.3 billion in development, investment in the city continues:
- The new Metrorail Silver Line connects Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown DC. Dulles airport will add a LEED Silver-certified, $675 million 14-gate concourse in 2026.
- Phase two of the Wharf opened in October, expanding the sustainable waterfront area by a mile with public green spaces, a new Pendry hotel and two Gordon Ramsey restaurants. The Wharf is designed to achieve LEED ND Gold.
- Part of the greater Southwest neighborhood, the waterfront area is designated the first-ever Mobility Innovation District (MID). The MID aims to “create a global innovation hub to show how mobility innovation can make a city more equitable, sustainable, safe, and prosperous,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. Circuit, a micro-transit company that works in all-electric, on-demand transportation solutions, will create a new mobility service.
Adding New Hotels and Venues
There are more than 26 new hotels or renovations in the pipeline, adding over 5,892 new or renovated rooms in eight neighborhoods. New:
- The 247-room Holiday Inn Express, less than one mile from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, includes a large living room-style lobby with daily hot breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.
- The new Morrow Washington DC in NoMa features 203 guest rooms, 6,000 sq. feet of light-filled event space, a 5,000 sq. foot outdoor terrace, a French restaurant and an expansive rooftop lounge with jazz performances.
- The 234-room Washington Marriott Capitol Hill (opening January 2023) located near Union Station (Amtrak hub), offers a contemporary vibe with 13,000 sq. feet of intimately designed meeting and event space and an expansive fitness and wellness center.
- The modern, glass-façade Royal Sonesta Washington DC Capitol Hill (opening April 2023) has 274 large guest rooms, 11,000 sq. feet of event space including a penthouse conference center with a wraparound terrace, and an onsite French bistro. The hotel will be LEED Gold certified and include a green-vegetated roof.
- The new 445-room Arlo Hotel will incorporate a residential building constructed in the 1880s. Opening in 2023, the hotel will include a 12-story addition, a fitness center, a signature restaurant and bar, rooftop pool and lounge and indoor/outdoor event space.
- The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum reopened in October 2022 with eight new galleries and interactive exhibits.
- The Hirshhorn Museum broke ground on its new Sculpture Garden renovation.
- The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens this fall after a $67.5 million renovation.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
- In May 2022, the Convention Center received the WELL Health-Safety Rating from the international WELL Building Institute for their safety and wellness measures.
- Exterior streetscape renovation includes new retail and an interior redesign has added furnishings adjustable for flexible seating arrangements allowing small informal meetings and networking in the lounge area.
- A landscaped rooftop terrace is forthcoming.
Recognized as the 1st LEED Platinum City in the World, Washington, DC continues to develop and enhance green spaces helping push the city into the top percent for public parks and the top three percent of the country for renewable energy. Thirty-five associations, policy groups and advocacy organizations in the metro area focus on sustainability. Learn more about incorporating sustainability, from green hotels and eco-friendly attractions to climate and energy experts at washington.org/meetings.
Daily Dose of Vitamin DC
Balancing meetings with health and wellness comes with ease in DC with over 40 hotels downtown that are central to green spaces on the National Mall and nature-filled hikes in Rock Creek Park. Jogging from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is a bucket-list experience for business travelers. Electric and non-electric bicycles and scooters offer options for exploring the monuments and memorials or for riding on pathways along the Potomac River with views of Georgetown and the spires of the National Cathedral. DC’s hotels are rethinking fitness areas and offering greater wellness amenities and activations for meeting breakouts while restaurants feature locally sourced menus and non-alcoholic mocktails. DDC can help customize wellness activities like morning meditation and yoga with a backdrop of the Washington Monument.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.