Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 26 2012

MID-ATLANTIC: Destination DC

Ali Gramaglia

Discover a new D.C.

While always a convention hotspot, Washington, D.C., is undergoing a transformation that will make it an even more desirable locale for event professionals. With developments under way totaling $8 billion, D.C. is adding new retail, restaurants, theaters, and hotels to its 12 distinctive neighborhoods, as well as its waterfront and downtown. “New venues, like the reborn Howard Theatre and the Hamilton, are changing the face of entertainment in the District,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

The city makes for an affordable stay with tons of free attractions, including 15 Smithsonian museums, soon to be 16 with the addition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2015; renowned monuments, including the brand-new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial; and the National Zoo. In addition, CityCenterDC is a current 10-acre project adding 290,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 350 to 400 hotel rooms, and 1.5 acres of parks and plazas to downtown D.C. The project, which will begin opening in phases in 2013, spans five high-profile blocks within walking distance of the 2.3-million-square-foot Walter E. Washington Convention Center, one of the largest in the country.

The convention center’s 19,000-squarefoot ballroom seats up to 5,000 people comfortably and includes a 2,600-square-foot balcony. The center remains a sustainable site via censored, energy-saving lights, and walls composed of clear, low-emission glass. The city, now housing nearly 30,000 hotel rooms, is soon to expand with the addition of CityMarket at O, one block north of the convention center, a one-million-square-foot development consisting of a 182-room Cambria Suites hotel and 87,000 square feet of retail space. Venue options have increased with the recently reopened Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, offering seven ornately decorated meeting rooms, a 150- seat theater, and a grand exterior plaza. In 2014, the Washington Marriott Marquis will open with 1,175 rooms and more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space, all directly connected to the convention center.

Destination DC (DDC) is now making it even easier to explore the city. The Show Your Badge program is designed to promote exclusive deals to meeting attendees at DDC member restaurants, attractions, tours, theaters, and retail. (Visit washington.org/ showyourbadge(HYPBOL) to see the participating businesses.) DDC is also offering a VIP program at the convention center to all meeting planners. Select VIPs will receive a pin granting them access to special services during their event.

DDC works with the hospitality community to help inform the taxi industry about convention dates and peak travel times. These efforts help ensure that taxis are readily available at the convention center when needed to help transport meeting attendees. Taxicab-appreciation events will be held quarterly to share convention schedules and visitor information with the taxi industry.

It’s not too late to book D.C. for the short term. There is availability now through 2015, according to Ronnie Burt, DDC’s vice president of convention sales and services. So whether you’ve seen the city years ago, or only just yesterday, at your next convention in the nation’s capital, you’re sure to discover a whole new Washington, D.C.

For more information: washington.org/ planning


Leading the way in sustainability

As the nation’s capital, a lot is expected of Washington, D.C. So when planners choose the destination for a convention or meeting, they look to its venues for not only forward-thinking design, spaces, and services, but innovative sustainability programs that help their events leave as small a footprint as possible.

In addition to delivering premier event services and venues across the destination, Events DC - the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia - manages the 2.3-million-square-foot Walter E. Washington Convention Center. From citywide conventions to corporate meetings, sporting events to festivals, Events DC creates unforgettable events of all kinds. The organization understands that for meeting planners, sustainability is about transparency. The convention center’s recycling program, energy management, water efficiency, air quality, and commitment to using green products are all key to ensuring not only that the facility is managed sensibly, but also that the direct impact its events have on the environment is offset responsibly.

Energy usage and waste are two of the biggest concerns when it comes to ecofriendly meeting venues. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is always looking for new ways to improve its waste reduction, whether it’s installing mercury-free lighting or repurposing and recycling almost all of its materials. Special care is also taken during renovations. For example, a recent upgrade of the center’s flooring included the installation of Green Label Plus–certified British wool carpet.

Partnerships are also key to a well-rounded sustainability plan. The center often collaborates with show organizers to identify potential green strategies, and leftover food from events is donated to DC Central Kitchen, the area’s largest community kitchen. Many local partnerships have been forged with companies such as Zipcar and Capital Bikeshare to encourage the reduction of emissions and the use of alternative transportation, and the city has become the first in the United States to partner with PepsiCo’s Dream Machine recycling initiative, which aims to increase the U.S. beverage-container recycling rate from 34 to 50 percent by 2018. Events DC has installed 35 of PepsiCo’s recycling “dream machines” around the convention center to assist with this effort.

For more information: Events DC - Linda Erickson, Director of Sales; (202) 249-3141; lerickson@eventsdc.com; eventsdc.com

MID-ATLANTIC: Washington Marriott Marquis

Downtown D.C.’s new convention headquarters

In 2014, downtown Washington, D.C., will welcome a new player to the convention scene with the opening of the Washington Marriott Marquis. The $520-million hotel’s 1,175 guest rooms and 100,000-plus square feet of meeting space will not only give meeting planners a flexible new venue in D.C.’s city center, but also provide a new convention center headquarters with a direct connection to the adjacent Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

One of only five Marriott Marquis hotels in the country, the new property will offer an abundance of flexible meeting space, including the 30,000-square-foot Marquis Ballroom with 22-foot ceilings and two 10,000-squarefoot ballrooms with 20-foot ceilings. Planners will also have access to more than 55 meeting rooms and 26 salons spread throughout the ballroom space. A 2,500-square-foot rooftop terrace with views of downtown and an 18,800-square-foot indoor event terrace will accommodate special events of all shapes and sizes.

The Washington Marriott Marquis is aiming for LEED Silver certification, which will make it one of the largest U.S. hotels to achieve the designation. Initiatives to reduce energy, waste, and CO2 emissions as well as efforts to improve indoor air quality are just a few of the ways the property will keep sustainability at the forefront of its goals.

After meetings wrap up, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s many on-site amenities, including an 8,000-square-foot fitness center, five restaurants and lounges, and numerous retail shops. The lively Penn Quarter district and stops for the Metro Green and Yellow lines are only steps away, but guests may want to stay put since the hotel, with its light-filled grand atrium lobby, is set to become D.C.’s newest social hub. Attendees with leisure time to spare will love that Mount Vernon Square, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and a handful of historic parks are all just a short walk away.

For more information: Washington Marriott Marquis Pre-Opening Sales Office - 999 Ninth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 962-4882; dcmarquismeetings.com

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