In 2013, The National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA, was struggling. Experiencing financial lows brought on by an extended dry spell in group business, it was on the brink of failure when new owners purchased it out of bankruptcy in 2014. This week, a little over a year later, the property announced a "turnaround success," with increases of 140 percent and 130 percent in revenue and occupancy, respectively, since 2013.
According to the property, usage from all group market segments -- including corporate, association, government, military, religious, fraternal, weddings, social functions, and events -- is up double to triple digit percentages, and so far this year more than $5 million in additional group business has had to be turned away due to advance group commitments.
"The best way to tell we're on the right track is the tremendous volume of business we're seeing as well as the very high marks and exceptionally positive feedback from our clients," said Geoff Lawson, The National vice president and general manager.
The property credits a new onsite leadership team (pictured: from left to right, Sam Haigh, Geoff Lawson, Danny Dolce, Executive Chef Chris Ferrier, and Alan Reynolds), a reorganized sales and marketing team, and new capital improvements -- including renovations inside and out, such as new dining and gathering areas, lobby improvements, new outdoors patios and fire pits, and a remodeled fitness center -- with its rebound.
Said Sam Haigh, president and chief operating officer of LaKota Hotels & Resorts, which oversaw the turnaround on behalf of the conference center's new owners, "The dramatic turnaround at The National is a true testament to the ability and attitude of the onsite team, which is by far the strongest leadership, sales, and service group of folks I have had the pleasure of working with in this industry."Check out the all-new MeetingNews Minute, featuring exclusive research on industry trends!