Meet Dean Miller, National Sales Manager with Visit Fairfax. Dean is a destination expert and today shares with Suzzanne Ravitz of Destination Marketing Association International what’s going on in his destination, how he likes to spend his time in the Fairfax area and what planners really value when holding their meeting in his destination.
SUZZANNE: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?
DEAN: One of the things I love about Fairfax is that there are so many different things to do throughout the seasons. For example, in the summer months, you’d likely see me with friends at Wolf Trap on a Saturday evening, enjoying a picnic dinner and a great concert – the National Symphony Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Chicago, or one of the many theatrical productions. In fact, my sweet wife and I went to Wolf Trap on our very first date, many years ago. We have a framed Wolf Trap poster hanging on the wall of our dining room to remind us of that wonderful evening!
In the fall, you might find me at one (or both) of our wonderful wineries (Paradise Springs or The Winery at Bull Run) enjoying the fall colors and a glass (or two) of award-winning, locally produced wine. In fact, our local Virginia wines have received such acclaim that the American Wine Society elected to hold their national conference here in Fairfax County in 2015!
In the winter, I’d probably be at one of the many museums in the area, or touring the White House at Christmas time. This is something that everyone should do, and it’s not difficult to arrange … just contact your Congressperson’s office and submit a request to take the tour.
In the spring, I could be at Mount Vernon (beautiful any time of the year, really!), at a Washington Nationals baseball game, or simply going out to dinner at one of our wonderful restaurants. We have so many great dining options that it’s hard for me to personally try them all, and new ones keep opening up all the time. My wife and I had dinner at PassionFish in Reston last week, and it was absolutely wonderful!
For our close proximity to Washington, DC, certainly, but folks also know us for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Wolf Trap, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, and the amazing array of shopping options at Tysons Corner. (People come from all over the world to shop at Tysons Corner … they really do!!)
We’re also well-known as a corporate center. We currently have eight Fortune 500 companies based here, including such household names as Capital One, Hilton Worldwide, and Gannett, publishers of USA Today. Businesses as diverse as Five Guys, M&M Mars, and the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus are based here, too.
Additionally, we are known for our unique meeting venues, convenient location and affordable hotel options. There are nearly 70 unique and distinctive venues and spaces in Fairfax County that are perfect options for corporate meetings, retreats, and social events of any nature. We love to show planners and their attendees all the fun they will have here.
The Metrorail Silver line debuted in mid-2014, connecting the Tysons Corner and Reston areas of the county via rail with the rest of the National Capital area. Work is currently under way to extend the Silver line to Dulles Airport and beyond, which will make it even easier still for meeting attendees to get around and enjoy all that we have to offer. The Silver line extension to Dulles Airport is scheduled to open in 2020.
In September of 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will open in downtown Washington (just a short ride on the Silver line from Fairfax County). This highly-anticipated new museum has already sparked considerable interest from many of the family reunion and faith-based groups who meet with us here.
And, later in 2016, ground will be broken for the Museum of United States Army; the museum will be located on the grounds of Fort Belvoir here in Fairfax County. This will be a huge draw for many of the Army and other military reunion groups who meet here. (The museum is tentatively scheduled to open in late 2019 or early 2020).