Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organisation for Washington, DC, has provided an update on the citywide outlook for 2022 and the organisation’s strategies to attract meetings and conventions to Washington, DC. The DMO delivered a presentation at PCMA Convening Leaders in Las Vegas (CL22 runs at Caesars Forum until 12 January and has attracted 2,500 in-person attendees).
“We recognise 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 has begun the new year by welcoming two citywide conventions at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Modern Language Association’s Annual Convention ran 6-9 January, followed by Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting 9-12 January. The estimated economic impact is $18.4m across those two conventions. In total, DC anticipates 20 citywides in 2022 with 390,086 room nights. Currently, the centre requires face masks to be worn indoors and customers must provide proof of vaccination at most indoor locations starting 15 January, 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. (Read our special Washington, DC CMW supplement here)
“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.”
The DMO noted it was taking sustainability a step further, with its ‘Connected Community’ platform presenting 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 can tap into meaningful experiences that align with their association’s mission, while benefiting locals.
In terms of what is new in DC, CL22 attendees heard that Washington has $10.3bn in development underway. Ronald Reagan National Airport’s Project Journey has opened with a 50,000 square-foot connector building and 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 also has 29 new hotels and 5,700 additional guest rooms in the pipeline.