Team showcases non-traditional spaces to expand footprint of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center
(San Francisco) - Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, today announced the next phase of its sales efforts, the ‘Connected Campus’ initiative, new developments in the pipeline and updates on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center streetscape project, during PCMA Convening Leaders (Jan. 5-8).
The “Connected Campus” initiative shows planners how to use non-traditional spaces to expand the footprint of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and create a diversified meeting layout showcasing the authentic DC. Seven distinct venues offer 20 bookable meeting and event spaces that can accommodate groups of all sizes in the heart of Washington, DC.
“As we continue to focus on selling DC differently, the Connected Campus positioning allows meeting planners to understand how their meeting can better succeed in DC by looking at meetings beyond just four walls,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, Destination DC. “We hope the initiative can help bring unique meeting and event visions to life as we continue to add more venues to the campus mix.”
Since 2017, DDC has been focusing on highlighting the city as a leader in key industries such as technology, biotech/pharma, medical and education and recently expanded into the sustainability, transportation and government advocacy industries last year. To date, DDC’s convention sales and services team successfully recorded 162,608 definite room nights and 176 leads with technology seeing the strongest activity followed by medical.
DDC’s sales team will expand its industry-focused selling with the Connected Campus initiative – showcasing to clients how seven non-traditional spaces can enhance their breakout sessions, exhibits and more. The current participating venues include Capital One Arena, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Long View Gallery, Touchstone Gallery, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), AJAX and Present Company Public House.
“We are thrilled to display how versatile and flexible the convention center is and how authentic its surrounding spaces can be for planners looking to expand their reach beyond the ordinary,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services, Destination DC. “
Venue offerings, earned media efforts and sales collateral supporting the sales team’s efforts can be found on washington.org/connectedcampus.
Streetscape Project at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center
In spring 2019, Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, completed an interior redesign of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center grand lobby and all public spaces throughout the center to be inclusive of more flexible seating, interactive kiosks and communal spaces. In December 2019, a $41 million Walter E. Washington Convention Center streetscape project broke ground and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
The streetscape project will feature lighting, art, new retail kiosks, digital signage, planters and furnishings to reactivate the exterior of the convention center and Shaw neighborhood. This project reinforces the Shaw neighborhood as a convention and entertainment district, full of new retail and restaurants and an Apple flagship store, located at Mt. Vernon Square.
“We have created a convention and entertainment district outside of the walls of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with local restaurants, retail and diverse businesses. When visitors go to other cities, they want to experience authenticity and through this project and much more, we want to provide that DC experience to our visitors,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO, Events DC. “It remains our top priority to make strategic investments for the betterment of our city and residents – as well as to be forward-thinking and through this project we strive to continue to do just that.”
Phase 1 of the project will be completed by the end of 2020 and will include the following:
- 3 new retail kiosks on the 9th street side of the South building
- 4 new retail kiosks on 9th street side of the Middle building
- Rooftop terrace – approx. 3,477 sq. ft. along the North building
- Increased paving, planting and seating around the perimeter of the convention center
- Heightened sitewide lighting – entrance pylons, rooftop, perimeter-scape and M street tunnel
Phase 2 of the project will include improved wayfare signage, public art installations and working with WMATA on a new Metro entrance.
DC has 15 new hotels with more than 3,147 rooms in the pipeline. New brands include Thompson Washington DC opening in January with 4,000 square feet of meeting and rooftop space in Capitol Riverfront and the Riggs Washington DC opening in February 2020 with rooftop event space in Penn Quarter. Aside from hotels, the National Children’s Museum opens in early 2020 with 30,000 square feet of space, showcasing engineering, technology and STEM, while the Planet Word Museum opens in May 2020 with a focus on literacy skills for visitors of all ages. Learn about more upcoming hotels and developments in the pipeline at washington.org.
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).
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 in 2020, providing a convenient, economical connection between the airport and Washington, 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. washington.org