Home to the country’s most educated population, Washington, D.C., is where great minds gather for meetings in the technology, biotech/pharmaceutical, education, and medical sectors. As the connected capital continues to expand its knowledge economy, those working in sustainability, transportation, and government advocacy have also taken notice. Meeting planners will find major sustainability advancements, transformative public transportation initiatives, and access to the country’s leaders and lawmakers in D.C., all of which benefit their attendees, sponsors, and bottom line.
There are copious reasons why hosting your next meeting in D.C. will be valuable for your attendees and your organization. Here are just a few ways it’s a leading city:
- The first LEED Platinum city in the world (United States Green Building Council, 2017).
- Second-largest subway system in the U.S., by ridership (SmartAsset, 2018).
- Fourth city in which Ford will debut its self-driving vehicles (CNN, 2018).
- Access to 11,270 lobbyists who spent $2.59 billion in 2018. Top industries include pharmaceuticals/health products, insurance, electronics, and business associations (Center for Responsive Politics, 2018).
Washington’s landscape is ever-changing. The city is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.2 billion in development, 18 hotels in the pipeline, and many new and renovated special event venues in the works. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center continues renovations that began in fall 2018 with capital improvements such as new seating, enhanced digital signage, a streetscape plan, and a Mamava pod for nursing mothers.
The ease of travel continues to add to D.C.’s appeal for business travelers. In 2018, new air service started from Hong Kong to Dulles International Airport on Cathay Pacific and seasonal service from Edinburgh, Scotland, on United Airlines. This May, new nonstop air service will begin from Rome on Alitalia and from Tel Aviv, Israel, on United, while flights from Lisbon, Portugal, on TAP Air will start in June.
“Two recent citywides showcased just how connected our city is,” says Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “In December, American Geophysical Union utilized 65 hotels for over 28,000 attendees without the use of a shuttle, pointing to the abundance of hotels in proximity to our convention center. And in June, the World Gas Union took advantage of D.C.’s access to thought leaders with the secretary of energy for the United States as a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, pointing to the strong attendee base found right in D.C.”
New and upcoming developments that bring even more unique meeting and event space include:
- The Conrad Washington, D.C. (Opening in March). A 360-room hotel from Hilton Worldwide adds more luxury to CityCenterDC. Features include two outdoor terraces, a rooftop bar, three meeting rooms, and two pillarless ballrooms that are adaptable for any occasion.
- International Spy Museum (Opening May 11). One of the city’s most popular museums moved from Penn Quarter to L’Enfant Plaza, a short walk from the National Mall. The new location is 140,000 square feet, more than double the original space, and features a lecture hall/theater and event space with great views. The new event space opened in September 2018, and the full museum will be open in spring 2019.
- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – The REACH Expansion (Opening Sept. 7). The world-renowned D.C. venue will add 2,500 square feet of new performance space, 7,500 square feet of prefunction and event space, new art installations, and digital advancements. Outside, guests can utilize a new video wall, a terrace for up to 1,600 people, and a scenic walkway to the Potomac River and nearby monuments and memorials.
- Hilton Washington D.C. National Mall (Opening this summer). L’Enfant Plaza welcomes the renovated, rebranded property that is LEED Silver-certified with 367 rooms and 23,000 square feet of meeting space. The grand ballroom can accommodate up to 800 guests.
To learn more and submit an RFP, visit washington.org/meetings.