With the goal of making 2016 a watershed year, Visit National Harbor (Maryland) set sail in May to better promote the Washington, D.C., suburb as a meetings destination. Later this year, MGM National Harbor will dock in the waterfront destination. Combined, the splashy additions may lead to more associations enjoying the benefits of D.C. without all the logistical challenges that come with the capital.
“National Harbor is a place to [meet] and not have to worry about going too far from where you are staying,” says Bruce Gudenberg, executive director of Visit National Harbor. “It’s a bit of a mini-city along the Potomac River.”
Gudenberg is leading a new convention and visitors association, but he is a veteran of the Washington region. After serving eight years as vice president of partnerships and alliances at Destination DC, Gudenberg crossed the border into Maryland more than a year ago. He’s been building the foundation for the CVA and pitching National Harbor to meeting planners while he waited for the organization to come online.
The timing could not be better with the anticipated opening of the new MGM. The hope is the entertainment complex will not only draw passersby on Interstate 95—it’s impossible to miss on the highway—but also meeting planners looking to stay there or use it as an off-site venue for a group based at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.