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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | May 25, 2016

Cheryl-Anne SturkenLast year, 11 new hotels opened in Washington, D.C., bringing the city's downtown room count to 30,000 plus. On a broader scale, the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area is home to 686 properties in all, representing some 110,227 rooms in all.

This year will see another flurry of new openings as another 14 properties make their debut in the D.C., adding more than 2,200 rooms to its room supply.

rendering of common space at the revamped Watergate HotelAmong the new faces in an already crowded lineup will be the $200 million, 263-room Trump International, with 38,000 square feet of meeting space, scheduled to open in September, and the 336-room Watergate Hotel, with 27,000 square feet of meeting space, which officially reopens on June 1 following a four-year, $250 million renovation.

Some question whether there is enough demand to meet the new supply, particularly with rumblings of a slowing U.S. economy on the horizon, but Elliott Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of Destination DC, the city's destination marketing organization, begs to differ. He believes that the additional inventory will make the city even more attractive as a meeting's destination.

"The new product comes at multiple price points and throughout diverse neighborhoods, including the Southwest Waterfront, NoMa [North of Massachusetts Avenue] and Shaw," Ferguson says. "As our visitation numbers continue to grow, and with the strategies we are using to diversify the types of business we attract, we are confident the demand to meet in the nation's capital will stay strong."

For the past six years, the city has enjoyed year-over-year growth in tourism arrivals. According to data released by Destination DC, in 2015 the capital drew more than 19 million tourists, domestic and international, and reaped an economic impact of $7.1 billion, a 4.4 percent increase over 2014. That includes the 1,027 conventions and trade shows hosted by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, representing 945,927 hotel room nights.

According to the latest figures supplied to The Hotel Insider by Jan Frietag, vice president of global development for Hendersonville, Tenn.-based STR, the average occupancy for Washington D.C., year-to-date April 2016, was 68.2 percent, up from 67.1 percent in 2015. The average daily rate for the same period was $154.11, up from $151.89 in 2015 and better than the ADR of $147.33 for the top 25 U.S. markets for the same period.

Lobby of the Kimpton Glover Park, debuting in JuneA significant portion of the new hotels in the pipeline are in the limited-service sector, such as the 175-room Canopy by Hilton and the 238-room Hyatt Place, which will be part of The Wharf, a new mile-long waterfront development on the city's southwest front. Also in that category is the 153-room Pod D.C., set to open in October in the city's Chinatown district.

That's not to say full-service hotel deals are off the table. Opening in mid-June this year is the 153-room Kimpton Glover Park. On the luxury front, the 370-room Conrad Washington, D.C., a Hilton Worldwide entry, has signed on to anchor CityCenterDC, a 10-acre mixed-use development in downtown, which promises 300,000 square feet of retail space, restaurants and entertainment venues. That hotel is preparing to open in 2018, but there has been no word yet on meeting space.