After Renovations, National Conference Center Rebounds | Leesburg Today

LEESBURG, VA (June 26, 2015) – Howard Shockey has completed several projects for The National Conference Center, the nation’s largest residential training and meeting facility.

Among this most recent set of renovation projects, Shockey upgraded the 800-seat main dining room and the Black Olive Bar (pictured at left.)

It’s been 13 months since the new ownership took over at the National Conference Center, and numerous changes have resulted in a significant increase in business activity for 2015.  “The momentum is going right now and we expect that to continue,” Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Chuck Ocheltree said. “We’re probably going to set all different types of records, financially and in occupancy, in 2015.”

The center hosted an open house Wednesday evening to showcase the renovations done during the past year and to show appreciation to the businesses that have been using the facility as a meeting place. NCC Vice President and General Manager Geoff Lawson attributed the increase in occupancy rates to the renovations and improvements in service. The center’s sales team increased from four members to 10 to manage the increasing activity.

LaKota Hotels & Resorts now manages the property and President and CEO Sam Haigh said that occupancy for the first five months of 2015 has increased by 76 percent compared with last year, and revenue is up 86 percent. He also said the occupancy rate for the month of May hovered around 86 percent, and June should be even higher.

The first phase of renovations began last winter and included improvements to the dining room, a bar named the Black Olive, a new living room space near the lobby, the creation of a backroom bar named the National Secret, updating the fitness center, and adding outdoor seating and a fire pit. Also included was the removal of a security gate at the entrance to the campus.

The second phase of the center’s facelift will begin this winter, with more improvements to the dining area and the creation of more meeting space. Eventually, all 917 guest rooms will be renovated.

“We were ready and poised when the economy started improving,” Ranford said. “People started spending money on meetings again and we are benefitting from that.” The boost in guests have come as a pleasant surprise to Haigh, and he hopes the growth will continue. “I’ve never seen a dramatic turnaround like this before,” he said.

Source: Mike Stancik, Leesburg Today