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Industry Briefs

Destination DC (DDC) , the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, recently provided an update on convention sales strategies to attract more meetings and conventions to Washington, DC to support the tourism industry's recovery during IMEX America.

Elliott L. Ferguson, II

"As an economic development organization, our efforts focus on generating business and leisure travel to positively impact visitor spending and local tax revenue, as well as local businesses and jobs," said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. "Meeting with customers at IMEX America, which coincides with the U.S. borders reopening to overseas visitors Nov. 8, demonstrates the importance of face-to-face connections and is impactful as we reiterate the benefits of holding meetings and events in Washington, DC."

Over the past year, DDC has reinforced its Connected positioning, an umbrella marketing strategy about what sets DC apart and city assets that make meetings and events successful. A staple of the campaign is DC's intellectual capital and the thriving industries that attract conferences in specific sectors, including technology, biotech/pharma, medical, education, sustainability, transportation and government advocacy. The city's innovation and exclusive sector assets, including global leaders, experts and policy makers, lead to thriving events that draw more attendees and top exhibitors and sponsors. New dynamic marketing pieces and videos from industry thought leaders highlight DC's assets.

A new part of the platform, "Connected Community" provides groups an opportunity to realize their social impact goals in DC, leaving a legacy and positive long-term effect on residents. Through a partnership with Serve DC, part of Mayor Bowser's administration, planners align their organization's mission with the city's priorities and create an impact that goes beyond initial economic results. A new marketing video for customers featuring Serve DC is online now at

Showcasing the Connected Capital is especially important when it comes to international meetings. DDC's Ambassador Circle is composed of regional experts in their respective fields who champion international bids because of a common goal of showcasing their industry's expertise in Washington, DC and creating economic benefit in the destination, where commerce thrives. DDC launched a new recruitment campaign to grow its Ambassador Circle earlier this month, which included a personal invitation from Mayor Muriel Bowser.  

Convention Outlook

DDC's convention sales and services team is working with customers to c ommunicate health and safety standards that facilitate holding safe in-person meetings in the city. This fall, DC welcomed two additional professional citywide conventions: Association for Financial Professionals is Nov. 7-10, 2021 and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is Nov. 18-20, 2021. In calendar year 2022, there are 20 citywide conventions scheduled with 390,086 room nights anticipated.
Melissa A. Riley
"Industry research shows that domestic leisure travel will recover faster than overseas leisure travel, but on the international meetings side, we're seeing a different story," said Melissa A. Riley , vice president, convention sales and services. "At the height of the pandemic, the DDC team booked 86,512 total room nights for future international business. In addition to the 20 citywides scheduled next year, seven international meetings are expected to bring 19,000 sleeping rooms and 10,000 attendees to the city. Our downtown, state-of-the-art Walter E. Washington Convention Center is appealing to many international clients, and with our partners at Events DC, international group business remains an important priority in our recovery landscape, especially since overseas visitors tend to stay longer and spend more."

In a further commitment to the return of in-person events, DDC has been working with Destinations International's Convention Sales and Services Committee, Large Market Roundtable and DMO counterparts for more than two years to create a standard destination booking agreement once citywide bids are won. The new approach aims to stress the importance of mutual accountability for both destination and customer and was launched during IMEX. The intent is to create recommended best practices for destinations to adopt and adapt for their cities and scenarios. Accountability for both destination organizations and business event strategists strengthens the meetings and events industry.

New in DC

Business event strategists take advantage of DC's many unique venues and waterfront locations. The city has 29 hotels and 5,700 additional rooms in the pipeline. Openings in 2022 include Washington DC NoMa District Curio by Hilton, citizen Washington DC NoMa, AC Hotel Capitol Riverfront and Pendry Hotel Washington D.C. as part of phase two of the Wharf development along the Southwest Waterfront.

Additionally, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge opened to pedestrians and vehicular traffic, providing more connectivity across the Anacostia River. Black Lives Matter Plaza recently completed a renovation cementing the 48-foot-wide mural as a permanent installation. Projects on the National Mall include the Korean War Veterans Memorial construction and Lincoln Memorial rehabilitation in advance of its centennial in 2022. 

Across 2021-2022, arts and culture milestones include the 175th anniversary of the Smithsonian and reopening of the Arts and Industries Building; the 100th anniversary of The Phillips Collection; the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Center; the 160th anniversary of Emancipation Day and the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Celebration

On, prospective visitors find dynamic content, including a guide to DC's theater, fall deals, free things to do, things to do this month and weekend, and an update on the latest travel guidelines.

About Destination DC: Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation's capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization 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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