An international city and intellectual capital that’s also incredibly cool, Washington DC isn’t resting on its laurels with a host of new openings in 2022 and beyond.
As the place where non-profit, private industry, government and academia overlap, its popularity as an international conference destination is assured; core and emerging sectors include medical, biotech/pharma, sustainability, transportation, education, and government advocacy. DC is home to 175 embassies and institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as 400 thinktanks – plus a booming tech sector as the district embraces economic and technological creativity.
Access to this hub of industry experts, policymakers and global leaders is about to get even easier with the July 2022 opening of a new 11-mile Metrorail connecting Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown DC.
Where to meet
Expect two new museums in coming years as the Smithsonian Institution eyes sites for the National Museum of American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum, while Jeff Bezos is funding a huge new learning centre at the National Air and Space Museum. For something out of the ordinary, don’t miss the new International Spy Museum where the seventh-floor event space offers panoramic views from the Capitol Building to the Potomac River, or check out the newly designed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library which can host meetings for up to 700.
Where to stay
This year will see eight new hotels open, including the stylish new AC Hotel Washington DC Capitol Hill Navy Yard, which boasts 225 bedrooms and a rooftop bar (its largest meeting room can seat 150 theatre-style) as well as the 131-room Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf, part of the second phase of the vibrant Southwest Waterfront development.
What they say
“Washington DC is an excellent destination for conferences like ours, as it allows our attendees access to speakers and venues unlike any other major city,” says Adrianne Sacchetti, Event Marketing & Member Services Manager for the Institute of International Bankers.
Its hybrid 2022 conference for 300 attendees took place in March 2022 at the Ritz Carlton Washington DC, with the reception and dinner held at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Both venues were great, and the event teams were very helpful each step of the way,” Adrianne adds. “The history and culture of Washington also make it an attractive place where attendees will want to spend time even outside of conference events.”
“It was fun to be back in NYC and see it back in business.”
Shari A. Bedker, Administrative Director for the International Insolvency Institute
New York City
New York City is investing in new and upgraded venues, hotels, transportation, connectivity and much more this year in what Jerry Cito, NYC & Company’s executive VP of convention development, calls a “continual reinvention” to enable “the meeting planners, event producers and delegates that we welcome to NYC every year to come back and have a new experience of the city each time”.
The Big Apple has taken a big bite out of the tech market in recent years with Roosevelt Island in the East River now home to the city’s Silicon Alley. The Cornell Technology campus - a cooperative venture between City Hall, Cornell University and the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa - has made its base there, while finance and trade dominate the industry focus elsewhere.
Upgrades to transport infrastructure will soon make it easier for delegates to get in and out of the city with a new $1.6bn Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, while both LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport are undergoing major redevelopment.
Where to meet
NYC’s thirst for innovation extends to a US$1.5bn expansion of the Javits Center, which breathed new life into Midtown Manhattan’s west side. The venue now boasts a special event space with capacity for 5,000 people, the largest of its kind in the northeast, along with a rooftop pavilion which can host 1,500. Its new seven-acre green roof has become home to birds, bats and bees as it boosts its eco credentials too.
Located airside at JFK International Airport for ultimate convenience, the quirky new 512-room TWA Hotel offers 45 event rooms and five hospitality suites, which can host up to 1,600 with a slick retro vibe.
Where to stay
27 new properties added almost 6,000 rooms to the city’s stock last year, with a further 9,000 in the pipeline this year. The 224-room Graduate Roosevelt Island, the only hotel on the tech island, blends funky interiors with great views while the new Hard Rock Hotel New York offers 446 bedrooms across 36 floors near Times Square. Aman New York, Fifth Avenue, promises an urban sanctuary when it opens this year while Moxy Hotels will soon launch properties on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
What they say
“It was fun to be back in NYC and see it back in business,” says Shari A. Bedker, Administrative Director for the International Insolvency Institute which held its 21st annual conference for 100 delegates in October 2021 at event venue 583 Park Avenue. “We used The Loeb Boathouse Central Park for our awards dinner, which was a perfect fit for our group. We opted to not use a hotel for our venue as many of our members have their own favourite hotels in NYC so it is difficult to set up a block.”
With a focus on food and the arts, there’s a creative charm to Baltimore which masks a steely grit: the city ranks in the top five of Forbes’ list of rising stars for startups and has welcomed $1bn in venture capital investment in recent years. Johns Hopkins University helps bolster its reputation as a powerhouse for academic research and, as a result, Baltimore is a global hub of cyber, early-stage entrepreneurship and medtech innovation, while Maryland is home to 2,360 life sciences companies. Ease of access is a major boon: Baltimore Convention Center in the thriving Inner Harbor district is within walking distance of 34 hotels (with some 9,000 rooms) which make up the downtown convention campus – all just 15 minutes from the airport.
With medical and educational institutions bringing conferences from around the world, Boston boasts two convention centres: the extensive Boston Convention and Exhibition Center just eight minutes from Logan International Airport (the fastest airport-to-convention-centre transfer time in the States) and the elegant John B Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, part of a complex encompassing The Westin Copley Place, Boston with more than 800 rooms, Boston Marriott Copley Place - home to one of the largest ballrooms in New England - and the 1,220-room Sheraton Boston Hotel. The new entertainment district at The Hub on Causeway is worth checking out for off-site visits while Boston Landing is a new neighbourhood being developed with sports and wellness at its core.