Arlington, Virginia, Launches Visitor Services Pilot Programs in Crystal City and Rosslyn

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Innovative, High-Tech Concepts Take Visitor Services to the Streets

instead of one downtown - means we need to take services directly to where visitors are staying

The Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) today launched two new visitor services pilots: "rolling concierges" on Segway personal transporters in Crystal City and an interactive touch-screen kiosk in Rosslyn. Applying cutting-edge technology to proactively serve Arlington visitors near their hotels, the pilots will help guide Arlington's long-term visitor services strategy. With support from the Crystal City and Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), the programs focus on driving increased visitor spending to stores, restaurants, and attractions in the Arlington neighborhoods that are home to over 80 percent of the County's hotel rooms.

"Arlington is known for thinking outside the box in so many areas," said ACVS Director Emily Cassell. "As the County's tourism organization, we're delighted to explore these fresh new approaches to serving visitors." Although Arlington has operated a centralized visitors center at Pentagon Row since 2003, research shows that fewer than 2 percent of the County's visitors (approximately 27,000 in fiscal year 2008) actually go there. "The decentralized nature of Arlington - with its many Metro-centered "urban villages" instead of one downtown - means we need to take services directly to where visitors are staying," said Cassell. "These pilots will help us create a long-term solution with just the right combination of personal attention and technology."

Visitors to Crystal City will be greeted by staff on Segways wearing bright red shirts sporting the international "i" information symbol. The Segway riders will scout the areas around the Crystal City Metro stop, Crystal Drive, 23rd Street, and Eads Street during peak pedestrian traffic hours from 2 to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Using an "on-board" tablet computer and wireless phones, they will assist neighborhood visitors with restaurant recommendations and reservations, directions to nearby stores and attractions, and information about hotels, evening entertainment, transportation, and more.

"We are very excited to be part of this pilot. Not only does it fit our mission to personalize the Crystal City experience with fresh and fun approaches, it's a wonderful opportunity to help tourists kick off their journey around Crystal City," said Angela Fox, Crystal City BID President/CEO. "Whether they are looking for one of our great restaurants or want to follow our 'Flight Path' and see the 50 artistic airplane sculptures, these friendly and knowledgeable Segway guides are there to help enhance the visitor's Crystal City experience."

By early July, guests visiting Rosslyn will be able to easily look up information on Arlington dining, shopping, and attractions using a touch-screen kiosk at the new Waterview hotel/office/condo development. Situated at the corner of N. Lynn St. and N. 19th (at the new public elevator to the complex's esplanade and stunning Potomac views) this all-weather kiosk will also print walking directions plus coupons from participating Arlington retailers. The kiosk is expected to attract numerous passers-by walking between Rosslyn and nearby Key Bridge and Georgetown.

"Since 2003, our Ambassadors have been helping tourists, workers, and residents discover the attractions in our neighborhood from free concerts to world class public art and theater. Now the Rosslyn BID is thrilled to add this technology to our community," says Cecilia Cassidy, the Executive Director of the

Rosslyn BID. "Our location between Key Bridge and Georgetown, and the Iwo Jima Memorial, one of the most popular sites in Arlington, bring thousands of tourists to Rosslyn. We know this kiosk will be a great resource for our visitors."

An event to kick off the pilot programs was held today in Crystal City. ACVS will assess initial results in fall 2008, with pilots continuing indefinitely.

Located at the heart of the national capital region, Arlington, Virginia, is a convenient and vibrant destination for business and leisure travelers. In addition to providing easy access to the Washington, D.C., area's most popular attractions, Arlington offers a unique mix of history, culture and fun. It is home to national treasures, world-class shopping, diverse dining, cutting-edge arts and cultural attractions, and eclectic local flavor. It's the smart place to stay when visiting the capital region.

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