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Industry Briefs

Attendees Get a First Look at Upcoming DC Developments and Continued Expansion of DC’s Asset-Based Sales Positioning

Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, recently announced results to date of its asset-based sales positioning, top overseas convention markets in 2018 and initiatives to continue attracting new meetings to the nation’s capital during IMEX America (Oct. 16-18).

Washington, DC – A Connected Capital

Since 2017, DDC has been focusing on highlighting the city as a leader in key industries such astechnology, biotech/pharma, medical and education and is now expanding into the sustainability, transportation and government advocacy industries. To date, DDC’s convention sales and services team successfully recorded 462 ,284 definite room nights and 434 leads with technology seeing the strongest activity followed by medical.

“DC’s access to medical thought-leaders, such as the U.S. Surgeon General, is a definite advantage for our organization and our partners in the industry,” said Michael V. Wilson, CMP and division director of convention and meeting planning, American Veterinary Medical Association. “The Surgeon General’s platform on One Health, supporting the idea that the health of people and animals are interconnected in our shared environment, was right in line with our keynote session and added to all the activities for a successful convention overall.”

DC has become a leader in sustainability,helping its businesses reduce their carbon footprints. Among many initiatives, the local government is committed to being the healthiest, greenest city in the U.S. with the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, which sets a mandate of 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. In its second year as a participant of the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), DC continues collaborating to drive recognition of sustainable practices across the global events industry. This year, Melissa Riley, vice president of convention sales and services at DDC serves on the GDS-Index’s advisory board, helping position DC as a leader in environmental issues.

DC is also a great place to host meetings without the use and expense of a shuttle. More than 40 hotels within walking distance of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center add to DC’s appeal. The nation’s capital has one of the best public transportation networks in the U.S., ranking #1 for public transport in 2018, according to SmartAsset and WalletHub.

“As we continue to focus on selling DC differently, the sector positioning allows meeting planners to understand how their meeting can better succeed in DC, with assets unlike any other destination,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, Destination DC. “Local experiences, influencers, speakers and leading companies in each sector continue to bring in notable groups for future years, such as the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology’s 31 st Annual Conference in August of 2020.

Content, convention trade advertising and advertorial, earned media efforts, white papers and collateral support the sales team’s efforts, all housed on .

Connected Campus

The next phase of DDC’s sales efforts includes the “Connected Campus” initiative, which will show planners how to use non-traditional spaces within three blocks of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to create a diversified meeting layout. Non-traditional venues such as the United Methodist Church have bookable meeting space that showcases the authentic DC.

“Our Connected Campus initiatives is an opportunity for us to showcase how attendees can utilize unique spaces near the convention center to accommodate larger groups and compete against cities boasting more spacious convention centers,” said Riley. “We look forward to launching our Connected Campus initiative at the 2020 PCMA Convening Leaders from Jan. 5-8.”

2018 Visitation and Top Overseas MICE Markets

In 2018, DC welcomed record 23.8 million total visitors to the nation’s capital, the ninth consecutive year of growth. The visitor breakdown includes 21.9 million domestic visitors, up 5.2% (MMGY Travel Intelligence) and 1.9 million overseas visitors, down 4.8% (Travel Market Insights, National Travel & Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce). 10.3% of all overseas visitors to DC in 2018 came to the city for a convention or meeting.

All overseas visitors to DC spent a record $7.8 billion dollars (IHS Markit) and supported more than 76,500 local jobs and business travelers accounted for 39% of visitors and 57% of spending. DC’s top overseas meeting markets in 2018 include the UK, India, Japan, Sweden, China, El Salvador, Spain, France, Germany and South Korea. Data shows that UK convention visitation is at its highest since 2015, standing at 16% of all overseas convention attendees to DC in 2018.

The ease of travel continues to benefit DC’s business travelers. Dulles International Airport provides daily nonstop service from more than 50 international destinations including two daily flights from Beijing, a flight from Delhi, a flight from Hong Kong and recently added air service from Tel Aviv on United Airlines, Rome on Alitalia, Cairo on EgyptAir and Lisbon on TAP Air. Coming up, the Metro’s silver line will extend to Dulles International Airport by 2020, providing a convenient, economical connection between the airport and Washington, DC.

Citywide Outlook

In 2020, DC will welcome 20 citywide conventions and special events (2,500 room nights on peak and above), generating 466,713 total room nights and an estimated economic impact of $360 million. Among them: SAS Global Forum (March 29-April 1), Association for Computing Machinery SIGGRAPH Annual Conference (July 19-23), Joint Triennial Congress of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (Sept. 7-12) and the National Black MBA Association Annual Conference (Sept. 24-26).

What’s New

DC has 16 new hotels with more than 3,307 rooms in the pipeline. New brands include Thompson Washington DC opening in December with 4,000 square feet of meeting and rooftop space in Capitol Riverfront and the Riggs Washington DC opening in early 2020 with rooftop event space in Penn Quarter. The REACH expansion at the John F.  Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened Sept. 7 with 72,000 square feet of performance and events space, 130,000 square feet of landscaping and gardens, terrace seating for up to 1,600 people and a scenic walkway leading to nearby monuments and memorials. Find events, festivals and free things to do on .

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.

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