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Industry Briefs

Destination DC (DDC) , the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, and Events DC, the District's official convention and sports authority, have issued an RFP for creative services to create a multi-channel advertising recovery campaign aimed at driving visitation to Washington, DC and resuscitating the city's strained hospitality industry in the midst and wake of COVID-19.

Top agencies from the District and around the country are invited to submit their proposal for creative that drives awareness of Washington, DC's unique offerings as a leisure destination, ultimately increasing travel. The RFP is for creative services only, and the selected, on implementing a robust marketing campaign.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with our partners at Destination DC to identify top ad agencies across the country who want to continue to ensure that Washington, DC remains a top domestic and international travel destination for years to come. We are looking for innovative and fresh creative ideas to market our city and know that the industry is poised to show what we can do together," said Max Brown, chairman, Events DC Board of Directors.

Washington, DC enjoyed 10 years of record tourism growth before the pandemic started. In 2019, DC welcomed a record 24.6 million visitors, who spent $8.2 billion, generated $896 million in District tax revenue and were responsible for 78,266 jobs in DC.

The pandemic reversed this trajectory as it did for cities around the globe. Tourism Economics estimated that visitation would fall by 57% in 2020. From mid-March to December last year, visitor spending was down 71%, or $4.9 billion, and DC lost $375 million in tax revenue. According to STR, hotel revenue for that same time period was down 87%, or $1.6 billion.

"The pandemic has forced us to experience what happens when tourism falls precipitously. DC's hospitality businesses are suffering, residents are unemployed and city tax revenue from visitor spending has dropped," said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. "When the pandemic subsides, and more people are traveling, there's going to be a lot of competition to win consumers back. We are grateful for our partners at Events DC who recognize that a strong recovery campaign is crucial to make sure DC captures our fair share of visitors."

"We are focused on distinguishing our nation's capital as a premier global travel destination. This is a pivotal time for our industry, and the pent-up demand for travel means potential guests will face more decisions than ever for where to visit. We, and Destination DC, are looking forward to identifying an agency partner with global perspectives and sharing our creative and collaborative vision for positioning our amazing city as a leading destination," said Greg O'Dell, president and CEO, Events DC.

Research will inform the recovery campaign as data shows desire to travel, safety and finances all play a role in consumer decisions. According to a national study by travel research company Destination Analysts, 57 percent of regular travelers are now open to receiving travel information, though nearly half of those surveyed said they would wait to travel "until vaccines are widely available."

Agencies will tap into what sets DC apart for consumers, including vast outdoor space, 100 free things to do, diverse neighborhoods, new hotels, incredible arts and culture, Michelin-rated dining scene, living history and unique ability to host peaceful First Amendment demonstrations. This year, DC looks forward to celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution, 100 th anniversary of the Phillips Collection and 50 th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In early 2021, Destination DC relaunched its powerful consumer website,, in advance of the recovery campaign rollout.

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. By developing and executing centralized and cohesive sales and marketing strategies, Destination DC generates economic development for the city through tourism and meetings.

About Events DC
Events DC generates economic and community benefits for the residents and businesses of the District of Columbia by creating a premier event experience in the nation's capital, and through the promotion of Washington, DC as a world-class destination. As the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, Events DC owns and manages some of the most visited venues across the nation's capital including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Nationals Park, Entertainment and Sports Area and DC Armory.