New DC Event Spaces for the New Year

It's always a good practice to reflect on what's working and what can be improved as we draw closer to closing out another calendar year. Today, we wanted to take a look at some of the newer event space options in Washington, DC.

While the place you hold your event surely is not as important as the content you provide, it can have a big impact on the experience and anticipation for the event. Old stand-by locations are great as they are familiar to attendees - they know how to get there, where to park, and where the best outlets are for charging devices. But if you are looking to attract a different type of attendee or launching a completely new event or format, it might make sense to sweeten the interest by holding it in a new and creative location. Continue reading

Location, Location, Location. New Meeting Options in DC

While the location of an event may not make or break it, the venue has a huge impact on the attendees' experience. The content could be fantastic, but if people have to circle a parking lot for 30 minutes looking for a space, they may not be ready to take in all the great information being delivered (speaking from experience....).

There's also a fatigue factor among venues to consider. Events in a city seem to take place at the same dozen or so venues. For event planners, this puts more pressure on the content of your event to drive the experience. It becomes harder to stand out from the other events people have attended at the same location. While there is a great deal of innovation in modern meeting spaces, the reality is once you've been to one convention center, you've really seen them all. And let's not get started on the windowless ballrooms.

With all this in mind, we've done some research on new spaces for government events in DC. Continue reading

How Events Can Embrace the Circle of Life

Spring conjures up images of new life. From birds hatching to flowers blooming to trees re-growing their leaf canopy. No matter the species, all living things need three things to thrive - food, water, and a hospitable habitat.

The idea of greening events is not new. Event planners and venues have been looking for ways to make events more sustainable and reduce the amount of waste produced from these mass gatherings. Reducing paper with mobile apps and providing recycling and composting options are popular ways to shrink a carbon footprint. We wanted to go beyond those tried and true methods and look at events as a living being, examining how to provide the keys to life in a way that benefits not only attendees, but the planet as whole.[Tweet "Event planners and venues have been looking for ways to make events more sustainable. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Something Old and Something New: DC Venues

a push pin over washington dc in the map

With spring approaching we've caught the fever for everything new and fresh. We took a look around the DC venue scene to find some of the newer options for event locations and found a common theme -- everything old is new again. Historic DC landmarks have gotten substantive makeovers and a casino introduces a new element to the DC event landscape.[Tweet "The old is new again! #DC meeting and event venue options. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • MGM National Harbor - The glitziest and most publicized new venue is undoubtedly the MGM National Harbor. The 308 room hotel and casino boasts all the amenities a meeting planner or attendee could ask for. The Grand Ballroom features sweeping views of the Potomac River. Multiple smaller meeting spaces feature state-of-the-art technology and various options for meeting configurations. The facility also boasts a 3,000 seat theater and multiple restaurants. MGM National Harbor is tailor made to cater to large groups but may also provide an interesting change of pace for smaller gatherings.[Tweet "The @MGMNatlHarbor casino introduces a new element to the DC event venue landscape. #GovEventsBlog"]
  • Trump Washington DC - It's a neck-and-neck race between the Trump Hotel and MGM for which facility received the most press at opening. Located in the historic Old Post Office building, this hotel breathed new life into a Washington landmark. The hotel has 17 meeting/event rooms, totaling 38,000 square feet. The 13,000+ square foot Presidential ballroom is the largest space with the Lincoln Library and Franklin Study providing smaller, well-appointed space for meetings and events.
  • The Watergate - While not a new venue, the Watergate complex completed a massive renovation this past summer. The renovations include 7,000 square feet of flexible indoor event space and 10,000 square feet of outdoor space. The hotel's rooftop bar, Top of the Gate, is equipped with fire pits and can hold as many as 250 guests with a 360-degree view of Washington and the Potomac River. The Library is a great option for smaller events holding 60-80 guests.
  • Mayflower Hotel - Like the Watergate, the Mayflower underwent a renovation that was completed in the summer of 2016. The Hotel is now part of Marriott International's Autograph Collection and features a completely redecorated ballroom. The hotel boasts a diverse set of 27 meeting spaces that can meet the needs of any gathering.

[Tweet "What is your pick for best DC meeting or event space? #GovEventsBlog"]This trend of modernizing old spaces will continue into 2017 with several anticipated openings including The Line Hotel in a former church and the reinvention of the Doubletree Washington as The Darcy. Brand new spaces will also be opening in 2017 with the completion of The Wharf on Maine Avenue with a host of new restaurants and meeting space.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the revitalization of these and other landmarks as well as the creation of brand new spaces. Let us know your picks for best new event space in DC in the comments.

Lessons Learned from Tailgating

With college football season in full swing, we've gotten inspired by the age-old tradition of tailgating.  Tailgating is closely tied to college football, but looking at the history, the first tailgates had nothing to do with sport.[Tweet "College football season is in full swing, take a look at the tradition of tailgating. #GovEventsBlog"] The first recorded tailgate in the U.S. may have occurred in mid-summer of 1861 in Manassas, Virginia, before Confederate forces and Union soldiers met in the First Battle of Bull Run. Civilians arrived at the battlefield in wagons loaded with wine, whiskey, and food. This is not unlike the party atmosphere that surrounded the late 18th century French guillotine executions during which people gathered to eat in the square near the scaffolds while the list of people to be executed was read.

Today's tailgates may take place before less gory events, but the idea remains the same: people with a common interest gather together to share food and drink and talk about the event they are about to witness.  While there may be many "I'll never do that again" personal lessons learned from tailgating, there are other things a successful tailgate can teach us about holding a fun and engaging event.[Tweet "Things a successful tailgate party can teach us about event planning. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading