Destination DC Highlights What’s New at PCMA Convening Leaders 2024

9th Jan, 2024

© The Wharf DC | Washington DC

Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organisation for Washington, DC, provided an update on the benefits of meeting in DC and the organisation’s convention sales and services strategies to attract events of all sizes to the nation’s capital.

“As we compete globally to attract meetings and events, we are investing in our marketing and sales through the Only One DC campaign. It highlights resources for meeting strategists only available in the nation’s capital to draw events of all sizes that leave a lasting impact on the local economy,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC (photo below).

Meetings and events play a critical role in bringing economic impact to Washington, DC. In 2024, there are an estimated 510,806 total room nights stemming from convention centre business, with an estimated 273,178 total room nights from non-convention centre business.

“Washington, DC is the only destination where planners can leverage intellectual capital and access leaders and policymakers,” said Melissa A. Riley, senior vice president, convention sales and services. “To drive growth, we're prioritising large and small meetings, as well as international meetings that make a significant global impact in Washington, DC. We’re excited to leverage our new BestCities Global Alliance partnership and invest in new markets including the UK, Mexico and Canada.”

Washington, DC Sustainability 

  • Washington, DC is the first city in the world to achieve the Platinum level LEED for Cities certification. 
  • At the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit in Dubai, Mayor Bowser released Carbon Free DC, the District’s comprehensive strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. 
  • Major city upgrades include modernised LED streetlights as part of DC’s Smart Cities initiative. 
  • The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has achieved LEED Gold certification.  
  • Sustainable transit is a focus. The city’s first electric buses have been activated and Metrorail Silver Line connects Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown DC. 
  • More than 40 associations, policy groups and advocacy organisations in the metro area focus on sustainability. 

DDC Sustainability 

  • In December, DDC released the 2024 DEI Business Fellows that includes businesses focused on convention services.  
  • DDC launched the Sustainability District so meeting and event planners and attendees can easily find sustainability initiatives at local hotels, restaurants and convention services.  
  • In September, DDC received the Innovation Award and recognised for its DEI Business Fellowship program by the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. 
  • Learn more about incorporating sustainability, from green hotels and eco-friendly attractions to climate and energy experts at  

Walter E. Washington Convention Center 

  • In October, the convention centre received the Silver Stella Award for being the best convention centre in the Northeast region by Northstar Meetings Group. 
  • In November, the convention centre was awarded Best Customer Service by Exhibitor Magazine. 
  • Exterior streetscape renovation includes new retail, and an interior redesign has added furnishings adjustable for flexible seating arrangements in the lounge area.  

Courtesy of DC Destination

Adding New Hotels and Venues: 

There are 19 new hotels or renovations in the pipeline, adding over 3,506 new or renovated rooms. 

  • The 234-room Washington Marriott Capitol Hill is just over one mile from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and steps from Union Station, DC’s Amtrak hub. It features 13,000 sq. feet of intimate meeting space. 
  • The modern, glass-façade Royal Sonesta Washington DC Capitol Hill (opened September 2023) has 274 large guest rooms, 11,000 sq. feet of event space including a penthouse conference centre with a wraparound terrace, and an onsite French bistro. The hotel will be LEED Gold certified and includes a green-vegetated roof. 
  • The new 445-room Arlo Hotel will incorporate a residential building constructed in the 1880s. Opening in September, the 445-room hotel will include a 12-story addition, a fitness centre, a signature restaurant and bar, rooftop pool and lounge and indoor/outdoor event space. 
  • Rebranded and renovated hotels include the Salamander Washington DC, the new Westin Downtown, the Marriott Metro Center and the Capital Hilton. 

New Venues and Event Space: 

  • The National Museum of Women in the Arts (photo below) opened Oct. 21, 2023. The world’s only major museum solely dedicated to championing women artists completed a two-year, $67.5 million renovation. The building's Great Hall – a popular event venue with sweeping staircases and golden chandeliers – has been preserved. 
  • The Folger Shakespeare Theater’s 1932 building is undergoing a major renovation to expand public space and improve accessibility. Opening in April, the project adds a 12,000-square-foot public pavilion under the Folger’s front lawn with two accessible entry plazas. 
  • The White House Historical Association has announced plans for “The People’s House: A White House Experience,” a 33,000-square-foot, three story educational experience including a Rose Garden replica and a full-scale replica of the Oval Office. Opening fall 2024.  

Courtesy of The National Museum of Women in the Arts

Vitamin DC – A wealth of health experiences in Washington, DC 

  • Balancing meetings with wellness is easy in DC with over 40 hotels downtown that are central to green spaces on the National Mall andbeyond. 
  • Jogging or walking from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is a bucket-list experience.  
  • Electric and non-electric bicycles and scooters offer options for exploring the monuments and memorials or for riding along the Potomac River with views of Georgetown.  
  • DC’s hotels are rethinking fitness areas and offering greater wellness amenities and activations for meeting breakouts. 
  • Many of DC’s free museums are a short walk from the convention centre and allow for a quick culture escape. 
  • Restaurants feature locally sourced menus, plant-based dishes and mocktails.  
  • DDC can help customize wellness activities like morning meditation and yoga on the National Mall. 

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