Washington, D.C.: An Innovation Capital

By Matt Swenson, August 7, 2017

Washington, D.C., is not only for associations anymore. Beyond the federal government, it is home to more than 1,000 startup companies, top investors in tech and biotech groups, 185,000 high-tech employees and 27,000 cybersecurity jobs. To the CVB, Destination DC, it is high time Washington’s meetings scene reflects those facts.

“We’re looking at Washington, D.C., as an innovation capital,” says Melissa Riley, the CVB’s vice president of convention sales and services. Armed with white papers filled with research to lure tech and medical meetings, the nation’s capital is making a major push to draw both group segments. With 20 citywides booked for 2017, the CVB is off to a smart start.

Hosting the government can’t hurt the cause either. The president’s name adorns one of the city’s many new luxury hotels, after all. And with Smithsonian institutions and embassies available as off-site venues, Washington looks to have what it takes to associate itself with corporate events for the foreseeable future.

Moving In

Riley says the sweet spot to book citywides is seven to 10 years out. The list of incoming conferences is impressive. In 2017, 21 citywides will have a $357 million economic impact with almost 485,000 room nights. Among the citywide highlights in recent and upcoming years:

> American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting March 2016

> American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session & Expo March 2017

> Microsoft Inspire July 2017

> Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting November 2017

> American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting December 2018

> IEEE International Microwave Symposium June 2024

> American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition August 2025 and 2028

Nominations are due Jan. 15, 2018, for our next class of 40 Under 40 honorees. We are looking for the best young minds in corporate events and meetings.

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