How to Host Safer Events at D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center


*Article written by BizBash in November 2021, please note some protocols may have changed.

As planners navigate the current events landscape, the esteemed Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., is stepping up to offer event pros a place to host gatherings, in a safer way

Powerful events create influential experiences. With 20-plus years of experience hosting dynamic events, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRBITC) has all the essentials for a powerful event that creates a lasting impression on guests. More recently, the venue has shifted its focus to helping event and meeting planners navigate the current events landscape and produce gatherings that are safer, secure and memorable.

Read on to learn more about how the venue’s experienced team takes a customized approach to each event—especially during the pandemic, keeping safety at the forefront while ensuring each program is impactful.

Expansive Spaces

With 22 event spaces that total 65,000 square feet, RRBITC is primed for socially distanced meetings and events of all looks and formats. Highly desired during the pandemic, the Trade Center’s spacious outdoor option for alfresco gatherings has been a popular choice for clients.

Woodrow Wilson Plaza, at RRBITC, is one of D.C.’s largest outdoor venues. The 36,000-square-foot open-air plaza features a cobblestone courtyard surrounded by neoclassical architecture and contemporary art, and makes for an ideal setup for larger groups looking to ensure they can still spread out a bit. The space has played host to a variety of events, from concerts and festivals to weddings, corporate receptions, product launches and more. Plus, on-site parking and direct access to the Federal Triangle metro station provides accessibility for all guests.

Of course, should indoor space be preferred by planners, RRBITC includes an array of expansive areas large enough to ensure a safer event atmosphere. . The 7,644-square-foot Atrium Ballroom , for example, features an air wall that allows for extra flexibility, should planners want to divide larger groups. Additionally, the space offers dual entrances which can be utilized to keep guests safely separated and avoid immediate overcrowding upon arrival. Additionally, the Pavilion is a coveted 3,484-square-foot event space known for its dramatic architecture and six balconies that overlook the Woodrow Wilson Plaza and offer a view of Pennsylvania Avenue. For a takeover twist, planners can utilize the Pavilion, grand Atrium or other indoor spaces combined with the Woodrow Wilson Plaza, offering guests a retreat to the urban oasis outdoors. An added bonus: As virtual and hybrid events become more prevalent, RRBITC’s on-site events studio, managed in collaboration with its audiovisual partner, Projection, enables organizers to create programs that will connect with attendees wherever they are.

Unparalleled Expertise

Whether your event is live, virtual or hybrid, RRBITC follows a strategic, six-step plan, called The Essential Six, for safety and security that instills trust in each guest that walks through its doors. When it comes to guest and staff health, the venue’s team of event professionals are trained on safety, sanitation and hygiene protocols, and are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. Not to mention, all of RRBITC’s event planners have completed a six-week certification course for virtual events and meeting management from the Event Leadership Institute.

Additionally, the entire building has implemented key health and safety measures including a mask mandate, enhanced cleaning frequency and measures that focus on high-touch surfaces, utilizing electrostatic spray for event spaces and equipment, upgraded air filtration systems and visual aids that promote healthy hygiene. Each space is prepped with pre-event inspections and checklists that follow extensive cleaning regimens for all areas and equipment. Event flow is controlled through Event Planning Managers who follow a meeting layout and design that adheres to proper distancing and safety guidelines.

Finally, RRBITC’s innovative food and beverage offerings include plenty of low-touch catering options (think covered, attended stations as well as individually packaged meals and snacks) and comply with the FDA’s guidelines for food and beverage safety, preparation and service. The talented, in-house catering team, led by seasoned Executive Chef, Houman Gohary, can create personalized menus for any occasion, from a casual lunch to an elegant dinner. Simply put: RRBITC’s impeccable service and unmatched team of professionals is available to handle all of your event details and needs.

Long-Standing Crowd Favorite

With an extensive portfolio of clients, RRBITC has tried and true experience hosting everything from conferences and corporate meetings to galas, weddings and trade shows. To demonstrate the endless possibilities, take a look at some recent events, which includes the BMW iX and i4 U.S. Tour, during which BMW unveiled its i4 electric car on Woodrow Wilson Plaza as part of its East Coast media tour. Or the stunning cultural reception in the Atrium hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in celebration of the country’s 30th Independence Day. Or the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Ocean Awards Gala that turned the Atrium into a dazzling reception area. Or Inter-American Dialogue’s Gala that offered guests the best of both worlds, with a reception indoors on the Oculus overlooking the Atrium and a tented dinner outdoors on Woodrow Wilson Plaza. The list could go on—and does!

It's no wonder Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center has won extensive prestigious awards, including the honor of “Best Special Event Venue" from Smart Meetings Magazine, “Top Conference Space” from BizBash and “Couple’s Choice” by WeddingWire, to name a few.

As D.C.’s premier event venue, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s experienced team has helped clients host live and hybrid events in a safer and more secure way. Following national health guidelines and industry best practices, the RRBITC staff can create dynamic, responsible and custom events that are truly memorable for your guests.

Learn more about Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center’s approach to events, which follows national health guidelines and industry best practices, or how to host your event at D.C.’s premier events venue.