Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, today provided an update on the citywide outlook for 2022 and the organization’s convention sales and services strategies to attract meetings and conventions to Washington, DC.
“We recognize that the pandemic continues to cause uncertainty, but we remain committed to strong in-person meetings and we’re happy to be at PCMA where we all feel the value of meeting face-to-face,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “DC is dedicated to getting back to business with all of the necessary health measures in place, and as a tourism bureau, our staff is committed to helping customers navigate the current guidelines to hold a successful event. With 20 citywides scheduled this year, I remain optimistic about recovery, and the positive economic impact and local jobs that come with meetings and events.”
Washington, DC begins the new year by welcoming two citywide conventions at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Modern Language Association’s Annual Convention is Jan. 6-9, followed by Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting from Jan. 9-12. The estimated economic impact is $18.4 million across the two conventions. In total, DC anticipates 20 citywides in 2022 with 390,086 room nights. The Convention Center has implemented numerous mitigation strategies and was recently honored by Exhibitor Magazine as one of the best convention centers in America, in part for prioritizing health and safety protocols. Currently, masks are required indoors and customers must provide proof of vaccination at most indoor locations starting Jan. 15, 2022.
Over the past year, DDC has reinforced its “Connected” positioning, an umbrella marketing strategy that includes “Connected Capital,” “Connected Campus” and “Connected Community.” The campaign is about what sets DC apart and the assets that make meetings and events successful. A staple is DC’s intellectual capital and thriving industries that help attract conferences. The sectors include technology, biotech and pharma, medical, education, sustainability, transportation and government advocacy.
“Focusing DC as a ‘Connected Capital’ works because of the resources only available in the nation’s capital,” said Melissa Riley, vice president, convention sales and services. “One example is the inaugural Quantum World Congress next fall. Connected DMV, MCI USA and regional partners see the region’s potential and have teamed up to establish Greater Washington as the go-to destination and meeting place for quantum technology visionaries, policymakers, researchers, business and investment leaders and students.”
Recognized as the 1st LEED Platinum City in the World and considered one of the most sustainable cities in the United States, DC continues to create and enhance green spaces helping push the city into 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. Meeting planners and event strategists can learn more about incorporating sustainability, from green hotels and eco-friendly attractions to climate and energy experts into their events at washington.org/meetings.
Taking sustainability a step further, the “Connected Community” platform presents meeting planners with the potential for conferences to drive social change. By connecting to communities through DDC’s partnership with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office on Volunteerism and Partnerships, Serve DC, event attendees are enriched with meaningful experiences that align with their association’s mission, while benefiting locals.
New in DC
Washington, DC has $10.3 billion in development underway. Ronald Reagan National Airport’s Project Journey opened with a 50,000 square-foot connector building that provides greater access to new and improved amenities and an easier transfer to connecting gates for travelers after being screened. The new Silver Line Metro will soon connect Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown DC. Phase II of the Wharf development is nearly complete, adding a Pendry Hotel with 131 guestrooms and 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, a 1.5-acre park, and restaurants and retail to its mixed-use development along the Southwest Waterfront.
The city has 29 new hotels and 5,700 additional guest rooms in the pipeline including new brands in neighborhoods throughout the city. Openings include the Holiday Inn Express, less than one mile from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and Capital One Arena. The hotel’s top-floor meeting space offers views of the U.S. Capitol Building. Washington DC NoMa District Curio by Hilton features outdoor and rooftop event spaces in the vibrant, fast-growing NoMa neighborhood east of Union Station, the hub for Amtrak’s East Coast rail service. A new citizenM opens in NoMa this April. AC Hotel Capitol Riverfront joins DC’s vibrant waterfront area along the Anacostia River this summer.
Arts and cultural milestones in 2022 include the opening of Picasso: Painting the Blue Period at the Phillips Collection, the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial celebration, the 175th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution and the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Center. Signature events planned in person include the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Passport DC and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. The National Park Service will complete a $25-million renovation of the Lincoln Memorial in time for the memorial’s centennial celebration this year.