July 01, 2017

It's no secret that there's a noticeable increase in attendance when an event is held in a destination that continually enhances its attractions and amenities. Groups are always looking for something new, fresh, up to date. With the increase in competition among meetings venues - and the increasing demands of groups - properties must constantly upgrade, refurbish, refresh and renew to gain new business, retain current clients and keep them engaged.

In addition to the typical wear and tear that hotels and convention centers experience, technology and efficiency upgrades, outdated decor, evolving needs and wants of guests, and the necessity to keep pace with the competition are just some of the reasons hotels invest heavily in renovations. A hotel with an innovative improvement will stand out with planners and groups always looking for something new. 

One venue's growth on demand

One example is Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center's brand new waterfront RiverView Ballroom, in National Harbor, Md. The 16,000-square-foot ballroom is being dubbed the Washington, D.C. area's first "infinity ballroom," as guests will feel as if they're floating on top of the Potomac River. 

The addition of the ballroom was inspired by increased customer requests for more space and amenities. It's evidence that no venue can survive and thrive without constantly improving and innovating. "National Harbor has seen significant growth since our resort opened in 2008 with new attractions, exciting entertainment, unique shopping and chef-driven dining experiences," says Brad Mettler, Director of Sales and Marketing at Gaylord National Resort. "This growth has also created more demand from our customers, who want more space from our resort. We listened to their requests and opened RiverView Ballroom, a brand new event venue which features 270 degrees of floor-to-ceiling waterfront views unlike any other in the Capital Region."


Enhancing the post-meeting experience

Outside a property's walls, the surrounding area and its attractions must also change and improve to appeal to the MICE marketplace. The added benefit to the destination is that leisure sometimes follows business. That's why many cities target their business attendees to extend their post-meeting time with family or friends. 

Meeting venues know this too. So in addition to physical upgrades, venues are enhancing the post-meeting experience, creating even more reasons to lure a group. 

"With all of Gaylord National's offerings both inside the resort and beyond in National Harbor and the greater Capital Region, our destination is increasingly becoming more desirable for extended stays after a meeting or event," says Mettler. "We've seen an increase in 'bleisure travel' and have catered to that by adding amazing musical entertainment offerings as part of our SummerFest programming." Mettler refers to SummerFest at Gaylord National, which pays homage to American Music - including jazz, country music and more - with performers throughout its hotel and restaurants through September 4, 2017.

For more information on how Gaylord National's new RiverView Ballroom and other upgrades, visit www.GaylordNational.com

Top photo: RiverView Ballroom opened in May 2017 at Gaylord National Resort.