Washington, DC

A Hub of Hospitality Innovation

The hospitality industry is one of DC’s strongest sectors, supporting more than 80,000 jobs in the District as of May 2017 – up nearly 6% from 2016 (DOES).

This diverse sector includes roughly 130 hotels with 31,000+ rooms, 2,000+ restaurants, and 45 performing arts venues with more than 27,000 seats.

Technology and innovation are playing an increasingly important role in augmenting DC’s hospitality sector. Hospitality innovation – or innovations, including technology and services, that augment the hospitality industry – can take different forms.

Quick Facts

DC is Bon Appetit’s 2017 Best Food City

DC is home to 2,000+ restaurants, 12 Michelin Stars, 130 hotels, 31,000+ rooms, 45 performing arts venues.


Hospitality Supports 80,000+ Jobs in DC

As of May 2017, Hospitality supports 80,000+ jobs – up nearly 6% from 2016.

Source: DOES

49% Of DC Adults Regularly Attended Live Music, Theatre, or Dance Performances

Second highest percentage of any state in the US—after only Nevada.


1,000 Conventions, Meetings, and Tradeshows in 2016

They collectively attracted nearly 1 million attendees and hotel nights. DC is proximate to 3 airports that service 69 million passengers a year, welcomes 5 million Amtrak passengers annually, and has more than 2.2 million square feet of event space.


Why Hospitality Companies Choose DC

Global Tourism and Convention Activity

DC hosted 22 million visitors in 2016 – 2.0 million from foreign countries – and over 1,000 conventions, meetings, and tradeshows in 2016 that collectively attracted nearly 1 million attendees and hotel nights according to

Large Customer Base

In addition to DC’s 130 hotels, the DC metro area is home to the corporate headquarters of hospitality giants, Marriott, Hilton, and Host Hotels, providing access to a major, influential customer base.

Accessibility and Infrastructure

DC is proximate to 3 airports that service 69 million passengers a year, welcomes 5 million Amtrak passengers annually, and has more than 2.2 million square feet of event space.

Culture of Hospitality Entrepreneurship

DC has 6 food-focused accelerators and incubators, including Mess Hall, Union Kitchen, Tastemakers, Eatsplace, and Tastelab. Additionally, the DC Food Policy Council is dedicated to identifying regulatory burdens on the local food businesses and entrepreneurs.

Regulatory Ease

DC is the regional center of an “alcohol production renaissance,” thanks in part to DC laws that allow producers to self-distribute.

Talented Workforce

In addition to ample hospitality expertise, DC has a tech-savvy workforce to support hospitality innovation ventures. Cushman & Wakefield ranked DC the #3 Tech City in America in 2017.

Resources For Hospitality Companies:

Learn more about DC’s Hospitality Industry in the 2017 DC Economic Strategy Report.

Business Spotlight


Cureate provides services to emerging food and beverage business owners to assist with their growth and scaling initiatives. They have worked with emerging retail outlets like Glen’s Garden Market; to nationally acclaimed food start-ups such as Beefsteak, a José Andrés concept; to developing and running a year-long educational curriculum for food entrepreneurs called School of Food. With an ever-present mission to create more interconnected, economically-vibrant communities, the team built Cureate Connect; an online platform that matches large businesses, name brands, and institutions with food and beverage entrepreneurs through new business opportunities in real estate, retail, wholesale, and events/catering. Follow Cureate @cureateco on Facebook and Instagram.

WDCEP leads the #WeDC campaign, the most successful digital campaign at SXSW for two years running.

WDCEP runs DC’s presence at ICSC RECon, retail’s leading conference which brings together 30,000+ leaders in the industry.

WDCEP regularly convenes public and private DC business leaders across sectors.

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