Monthly Archives: February 2017

Six Trends in Experiential Learning for 2017

The National Conference Center – one of the nation’s largest conference centers and the largest on the East Coast – with its partner The Browne Center, has observed Six Trends in Experiential Learning for 2017.

Experiential learning presents a highly unique growth opportunity for participants, and a tool that planners can use to achieve a specific outcome.  Differentiated from the more traditional teambuilding, experiential learning uses a blended approach to learning, integrating activities, exercises, adventure elements, quiet time and ongoing post-event coaching to create powerful programs of leadership development, strategic planning, mentoring and coaching, communication, feedback & observation and enhancement of behavior styles.

Six Trends Observed in Experiential Learning:

  1. Barrier Free Learning … Take away the white classroom tables. Barrier free learning is hands-on training in a lab-like setting verses the traditional meeting room or classroom. For example, The National has created an entire workroom and lab for simulation or scenario training for a top major client to deliver new skills, taking away the barrier of the ‘white table’ with attendees learning in a lab or open space area.
  1. Learning By Choice … Mixing classroom training with outdoor activities. The Challenge Course at The National has high and low rope elements, and increasingly facilitators are using a Challenge-By-Choice approach. Learning Programs are designed to meet the variety of goals unique to each client, whether conferees make use of the elements of the high or low course, or none at all. There is a role for everyone in the training, even if individuals choose not to physically participate.
  2. Learning By Shared Experiences … Creating ‘shared experiences’, such as a building project, where everyone is involved collectively – from C-level executives to assistant managers – taking each participant out of their comfort zone and into a creative problem-solving task to construct the future.
  3. Learning By Silence … Groups are increasingly exploring the power of silence in a high-speed, technically dependent world. Facilitators are allowing more time for conferees’ solo quests, reflection, meditation time, and movements like yoga that can provide powerful reconnection with the natural world, and the true inner self, opening new channels of connection and learning.
  1. Learning By Doing… Learners participate in carefully chosen experiences that are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis. It engages the learners to be in direct experience, to be doing something that connects to an area they hope to improve or develop. The learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning.
  1. Learning Through Application … Historically, debriefing was a structured process facilitated by a skilled professional throughout the process and at the conclusion of a program. This still occurs, but today a post-program debriefing application assists participants over time with how learning translates back at the office. There are a number of strategies that can be arranged to help facilitate this continued learning process. These include, self-directed debrief meetings, professional coaching sessions by phone or in person, or follow up, mini sessions at the one, two or three month intervals. These sessions can be highly productive and fun, assisting the participants in real time learning application issues. They can be on the participants’ work site or scheduled as an offsite.

The National Conference Center installed a state-of-the-art challenge course last year to provide additional training and learning opportunities for their clients. The National Challenge Course consists of five low elements plus many portable options, which are weight bearing problem solving activities that can accommodate 15 or more people at any one time. Also six high elements can be done with two or more solo, or with many other climbers simultaneously. All high elements are dynamic relays where participants hold the rope for one another.

For more information on the Six Trends in Experiential Learning for 2017, contact Denise Benoit at 703-919-1589.  For information on meetings at The National Conference Center, call Sales at 800-640-2684.

About The National Conference Center

Located in Northern Virginia 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 35 miles from Washington, D.C., The National Conference Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers in the nation. With 917 guest rooms and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space, including the West Belmont Place catering complex with its 16,552 square foot ballroom, The National has become the nation’s headquarters for productive meetings and West Belmont Place the hub for Loudoun County and surrounding area social functions.

West Belmont Place was named 2013 Best Venue by the International Special Events Society. The National Conference Center is also on the GSA schedule. The National is owned by NCC PS Enterprises LLC, a venture between PCCP, LLC and Stoneleigh Capital, LLC., which retained LaKota Hotels & Resorts to oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations. For information call 800-640-2684 or visit www.conferencecenter.com and www.westbelmontplace.com.

Prague Wins the Prestigious Top Meeting Destination Award Again

Representatives of the Prague Convention Bureau received the 2016 Top Meeting Destination award at the annual Conventa trade fair in Ljubljana, Slovenia on January 18, 2017. The prize is awarded by Slovenian Kongres magazine to the destinations from Central and South East Europe region since 2011, in accordance with the evaluation based on destination’s infrastructure, marketing activities and other indexes. Prague thus follows up on its achievements in previous years: the city occupied the second position in the Meeting Star contest twice, and in 2013 it even won the first prize.

The Kongres magazine expert jury evaluated 68 destinations from 19 countries of the Central and South East Europe region, based on the following criteria: natural and cultural factors, general and transport infrastructure, tourist infrastructure, meetings infrastructure, marketing buzz, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) index, quality of life index, global peace index, and subjective grade. The top grade for each assessed section was 5.

The Czech metropole received the overall destination grade of 4.51 from the expert jury. The overall grade is a result of combination of the following individual grades:

  • natural and cultural factors: 4.54
  • general and transport infrastructure: 4.59
  • tourist infrastructure: 4.90
  • meetings infrastructure: 4.65
  • marketing buzz: 4.85
  • ICCA index: 4.12
  • quality of life index: 4.10
  • global peace index: 4.25
  • subjective grade: 4.61

In the top 5 ranked also: Istanbul on the second place with the grade of 4.39; Budapest on the third with 4.37 points, followed by Athens and Ljubljana.

‘WE CAN. I CAN.’ KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE CAN!

In conjunction with World Cancer Day 2017, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) is honoured to announce that it will be the venue of choice for the Union for International Cancer Control’s (UICC) World Cancer Congress 2018. Themed “Strengthen. Inspire. Deliver” and hosted by the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), the Congress will take place from 1 to 4 October 2018 and is expected to attract 3,000 cancer and health professionals from over 135 countries.

The World Cancer Congress is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). Its objective is to ‘unite the cancer community, reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity and integrate cancer into the world’s health and development agenda’. The Congress is held every two years and has been acknowledged by the global cancer and wider health community as the leading international conference in cancer implementation science.

Elaborating on the bid win, the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor said, “It is a great honour to have been chosen to host the prestigious World Cancer Congress. The Congress adds to the list of the growing number of world conferences that have selected Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and, of course the Centre to host their high-profile events. Their choice is also a testament to Malaysia’s well-developed medical industry and the sector’s ongoing efforts to create greater awareness about cancer control.”

Pryor continued, “We look forward to working closely with UICC, NCSM and our ‘Team Malaysia’ partners – Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airports and Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) – to ensure a successful and compelling Congress that provides delegates and visitors with a memorable and rewarding experience.”

Vice President of NCSM, Clare Ratnasingham, shared “Hosting the 2018 Congress is a significant win for Malaysia and for the region as it will be the first time that the event will be held in South-East Asia. The Congress will provide an invaluable knowledge sharing platform which will help develop the local and regional healthcare sector and its cancer-related expertise.”

“The Congress will provide a dynamic platform for participants to develop new skills and improve competencies with tools and effective methods; share knowledge and best practices with global cancer and health professionals and listen to leading experts in the area of cancer control.

 

Attendees will also have the opportunity to build strong and lasting connections with participants from across the whole spectrum of the cancer control and non-communicable diseases, including leaders, policy makers, scientists, researches, health workers and patient group supporters, who all play a major role in fostering international collaboration to advance cancer control globally and nationally,” concluded Ratnasingham. For more information or to register for the Congress, visit http://www.worldcancercongress.org/.

Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2016-2018 will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, everybody has the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities. World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action. Whatever you choose to do ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference to the fight against cancer. For more information, visit  www.worldcancerday.org/.

For all the latest news and information on the Centre, visit www.klccconventioncentre.com.

ASAE Names 148 Professionals Received CAE Credential

 

WASHINGTON, DC — One hundred forty eight association executives recently earned their Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the CAE Commission of ASAE, joining more than 4,200 industry leaders worldwide.

The Winter 2017 class of CAEs successfully completed the CAE examination administered nationwide in December 2016. They will be honored, along with the summer class of CAEs, during the 2017 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Toronto, Canada, August 12-15. A full list of the Winter 2017 class is at the end of the release.

“Congratulations to the 148 newly-certified association executives! By earning the CAE, they have achieved the highest level of professional competency in the area of association management,” said Gabriel Eckert, FASAE, CAE, chair of the CAE Commission and Executive Director at the Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia. “CAE’s utilize their knowledge and skills to advance their organization, enhance their career, and educate outside audiences about the important role associations play in our community.”

The CAE Program serves to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and designate those who have acquired and have demonstrated knowledge essential to the practice of association management. The CAE Program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The next CAE examination will be administered on May 5. The application deadline is February 24. For more details about the CAE exam, visit asaecenter.org/cae.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE, skidwai@asaecenter.org, 202-326-9505

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 28,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,500 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit www.asaecenter.org.

Corporate events and meetings: IMEX offsets planner’s isolation and training drought with new ‘Exclusively Corporate’ programme

Exclusively Corporate at IMEX, the dedicated event for event and travel planners (corporate), has been redeveloped for IMEX in Frankfurt 2017. The IMEX team has collaborated with planners from across the globe to gather views and experiences, creating a new, free of charge, one day programme for the show.

Some of the challenges raised by event and meeting executives included the need to create a fresh event experience be it through new technology, emerging destinations or unique venues – all on an ever-decreasing budget.

The newly bespoke programme for Exclusively Corporate at IMEX reflects these issues with speakers drawn from companies including Cisco, GSK, Lego, Dell, AstraZeneca, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Estée Lauder, EY, BNP Paribas and Barclays. All will share their experiences in a series of in-depth 45-minute sessions. The case study focused panel sessions then lead to opportunities for attendees to brainstorm and generate ideas with their peers.

New, two stream education programme

The dedicated education and networking programme begins on Sunday 14 May with a networking dinner hosted by Hilton. Attendees then begin Monday 15 May with breakfast hosted by Dubai followed by a full day of free education on topics such as delivering ROI, creative event formats, new technologies, security risk and emerging destinations and trends. After a series of group sessions, the education then splits into two streams with sessions on strategic global programme management for senior event professionals and operational issues for event managers.

Planners can then explore IMEX in Frankfurt, which takes place 16 – 18 May at Messe Frankfurt. With 3,500 exhibitors from 160 countries under one roof, the show enables visitors to discover new destinations and suppliers and see the latest technologies designed for the events industry.

Attendees find Exclusively Corporate at IMEX an invaluable opportunity to meet and share ideas with other executives in the same role, as Alise Long, CMM, Manager Strategic Meetings & Events at DSM in the Netherlands, who took part last year explains:

“Exclusively Corporate at IMEX is one of the pinnacles of IMEX in Frankfurt. There are three or four times a year when I can step away from my office and this is one that I value. I like to get together with my peers.”

Alise Long returns this year as one of the speakers who’ll discuss how to build and manage a global team as well as exploring which technology trends are shaping the future of events.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, summarises: “This year’s agenda has been researched and developed with much more detail and input from past attendees. We’ve focused on the biggest challenges that in house marketing, travel and event executives are facing in 2017 and developed an extremely current and detailed programme for them. This is a great opportunity for professionals to benefit from a high quality, free of charge education programme – something which is particularly valuable in the face of decreasing training budgets across many organisations.

“As with every aspect of our shows, we collaborate closely with our attendees to ensure our offering remains relevant and provides the support and inspiration our various audiences need to have the best possible experience. We’re also supported by some fantastic sponsors. Their contributions are vital as they allow us to serve this influential group of buyers and planners with a unique programme that also recognises the fact these planners rarely ever have the chance to meet or talk to each other.”

Full details at http://www.imex-frankfurt.com/events/education/exclusively-corporate-@imex/ or contact Donna Fung Donna.Fung@imexexhibitions.com

#IMEX17

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Unveils Innovative Training Programme For Students

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre), in collaboration with the University of Malaya, the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM) and DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd, have unveiled their first ‘earn and learn’ talent development initiative, the Professional Development Programme, at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing Ceremony recently at the venue.

The 12-month programme will expose participants to various departments within the Centre through both classroom-style and on-the-job training, which will give students the fundamentals of the business events industry and the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the different careers available in the sector.

Speaking during the unveiling of the Professional Development Programme and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing Ceremony, the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, said “Since opening, we have put an emphasis on training and development to benefit the Centre, the Business Events industry and Malaysia as a whole. It is this commitment to developing and nurturing talent who can not only make a significant contribution to the Centre’s continuing growth and success, but the local industry as well. This has helped ensure we remain a world-class facility.”

Pryor continued, “After we received our ‘Certified Training Provider’ accreditation from the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources’ Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) last year, we have been looking to enhance our industry training programmes and initiatives. The launch of the Professional Development Programme is a key milestone in our ongoing talent development mission.”

Open to students 18 years and above, the Professional Development Programme includes modules on the Fundamentals of Sales & Marketing; Basic IT/AV Services; Housekeeping in Event and Building Management; Safety and Security Management; Food Safety and Hygiene; Culinary and Stewarding Management; Hospitality English Communication Skills; Basic Human Resources Management and Finance; Receiving and Storage, to name a few. This will provide a solid, rounded practical grounding in all things convention centre related. Upon completion, students will also have the opportunity to continue with a full-time position at the Centre or join its Ambassador Programme.

Congratulating the Centre on initiating the programme, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mansor bin Md. Isa, Director of University of Malaya Centre for Continuing Education, shared “The Professional Development Programme is a great initiative to provide students with additional knowledge and skills on top of their academic qualification(s) to ensure professional growth and greater employability. We look forward to working closely with the Centre, the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM) and DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd to make this programme a success.”

Echoing Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mansor’s comments in his welcome address, Pryor concluded “I would also like to thank our partners – the University of Malaya, who are the course certification body; the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM), who are in charge of promoting and recruiting students; and DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd, who will oversee the entire collaboration. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.”

The Professional Development Programme joins a number of other programmes designed by the Centre to nurture and develop local talent namely, the Ambassador Programme, which addressed the flexible staff shortage faced by the industry and even prompted a paradigm shift in talent management in Malaysia’s hospitality industry. Other programmes initiated to-date include the Student Employment Programme (STEP), and Experiential Learning Programme (ELP).

For all the latest news and information on the Centre, visit www.klccconventioncentre.com.

New Survey Finds Non-Dues Revenue a Hidden Topic in Many Associations

The Association Research Board has released the findings of a nationwide survey of association executives.

The data reveals most associations lack a sense of urgency and direction in seeking new sources of non-dues revenue.

Digging into the data provides interesting insights:

  • A quarter of the executives never discuss the need for additional revenue with their boards.
  • New non-dues Revenue generation is only a concern of about one-third of the respondents.
  • Among associations that attempt to increase revenue, only half call their programs a success.

A copy of the Association Research Board report can be found here.

IMEX Declares New Purpose for 2017: Reimagines Key Education Programmes

Meeting and event professionals can learn ‘How to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind’ as part of Purposeful Meetings, the new IMEX Talking Point and focus of IMEX in Frankfurt this May.

The new Talking Point, which reflects an industry shift towards delivering ‘memorable moments’ instead of meetings, and ‘experiences’ not events, will be explored throughout the show, which takes place 16 – 18 May is in addition to the education programme and its ten tracks, many networking events and extensive exhibition.

Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group, explains: “Any event planner who cares about their craft and truly wants to have a competitive edge will be excited to dig deeper into the IMEX Purposeful Meetings Talking Point.

“Our chief focus is always going to be on bringing buyers and sellers together, face to face, in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. But, from a strategic point of view, having an annual IMEX Talking Point, or headline theme, will inject more immediacy, stronger direction and a clearer distinction between each show year to year.”

The IMEX Group has also entered into a three-year agreement with EventCanvas.org Foundation which allows IMEX to offer Event Design Certification to selected participants. The certification training will be offered free of charge and provides planners from across the world with a common language for designing more innovative – and purposeful – events.

Targeted and inspiring Monday education

The Event Design Certification is part of a new pre-show education programme taking place on Monday 15 May, the day before the show. Free of charge and open to all, the day will incorporate five core streams covering event design, future trends and supplier education.

The popular Association Day also takes place the day before the show, offering free, tailored education exclusively for association professionals. The IMEX Association Day programme has been redesigned for 2017 and will feature a new Association Management Stream, covering topics such as understanding why members leave and how to persuade them to stay. There will now be two Meetings & Events Streams (A and B), discussing issues such as how to maximise member participation at your events, and how to identify and approach new sponsors.

Exclusively Corporate at IMEX, the dedicated event for corporate meeting planners and event marketers, has also been redeveloped for IMEX in Frankfurt this year. Tailored to address some of the challenges faced by planners, there is a full day of networking and free education on topics such as delivering ROI, creative event formats, new technologies, security risk and emerging destinations and trends. After a series of group sessions, the education then splits into two streams with sessions on strategic global programme management for senior event professionals and operational issues for event managers.

Emanuele Caprarelli, Meeting & Event Planner at CROMSOURCE, Italy, who attended the event last year explains: “This event is about getting us to think. To remind us not get stuck in our own ways of doing things. It’s also good to meet people here. I’ve been in touch with people I met here at the event two years ago, and just saw them again today.”

More exhibitors to meet

The IMEX show itself offers a wide range of business opportunities and inspiration with new exhibitors including Saudi Arabia, Meet Puerto Rico, Barcelona, Vienna House Hotels and Choose Chicago. Exhibitors with expanded stands include Tourism New Zealand, Royal Caribbean International, Latvia, Slovenia, Accor and NYC.

With the largest global array of exhibitors from every sector in the meetings industry, buyers can discover 3,500 worldwide organisations, the latest trends and hundreds of meeting professionals under one roof. Combined with over 200 networking opportunities with senior level meeting professionals, and social events including Site Nite Europe, CIM-Clubbing and the IMEX Gala Dinner, this adds up to three inspiring and productive days of business.

Mark Abbott, Director of Operations, Abbott Travel Group, USA, who visited the show last year sums up:

“My visit to IMEX was very fruitful. With 28 meetings in three days, I was able to cover more ground and obtain more information than I thought possible in such a short time. There is nowhere so much business can be done in so little time.”

IMEX in Frankfurt takes place at Messe Frankfurt from 16 – 18 May 2017.

Registration is free of charge and open online – https://portal.imex-frankfurt.com/register.php?login=1

Hand-picked resources that make life easier for ‘Purposeful Meetings Planners’ can be found here. Find out what constitutes a Purposeful Meeting here.

#IMEX17

Extensive Renovation Transforms National Conference Center Inspiring New Design, Facilities, Services and a New Brand Image

In only 18 months, one of America’s largest conference centers is emerging with a striking new design, revamped services and facilities and a fresh new branding strategy. The multimillion dollar project has transformed the 65-acre campus and its three connected buildings into a warm, functional and cohesive complex, elevated by a brilliant and inspiring design.

“We are extremely proud that this challenging task was accomplished so quickly,” says Geoff Lawson, general manager and vice president of The National Conference Center and West Belmont Place. “It is certainly a record in the conference center industry.”

With management oversight provided by LaKota Hotels & Resorts, The National Conference Center is one of the largest meeting, training and event centers in the nation and the largest on the East Coast.  The property is located on a 65-acre campus just outside Washington, DC, in Leesburg, Virginia, just 12 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport. “The National” provides 1.3 million interior square feet in six connected buildings. It houses 917 guestrooms, and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space. Supporting outlets include a 900-seat Dining Room, the 200-seat Black Olive Bar & Grill and other new guest-centric outlets creating a warm and engaging atmosphere.

A New Branding Strategy

To transform the conference center, LaKota first re-thought the brand.  There was no clear brand image or strategy for the property as it was.  The historic town of Leesburg, Virginia, was founded around 1755 by the influential colonist, Thomas Lee. The colors of the Lee family coat of arms – and the US flag – are red, white and blue, inspiring a patriotic theme throughout The National.

The National Conference Center team saw an opportunity to remake the center’s brand image and meet a major design challenge. Though The National is located within a spectacular distraction-free, wooded campus, the buildings of exposed concrete demanded a highly creative solution.  Rather than cover the walls, ownership opted to ”celebrate the concrete” with vivid blocks of navy blue and touches of red, contrasted with a softer grey. These striking colors are enhanced by various patriotic motifs, such as images of a Bald Eagle and the American Flag that reinforce the center’s connection to historic Leesburg and Washington, DC.

The spacious lobby is finished with polished millwork against concrete, angled walls and layered ceilings with skylights. Sustainability has always been a priority at The National Conference Center and management introduced several “green” initiatives, including the lobby’s carpet made of fibers from recycled bottles and caps collected at Yellowstone National Park.

Going forward, The National brand is becoming a hybrid; the blend of a traditional hotel and a conference center. The common thread is learning and development, and providing ample space and versatility that enable clients to purchase a pod of meeting rooms vs. just a few meeting rooms.

Guestrooms – Where Eagles Soar

In keeping with the campus atmosphere and emphasis on learning, guestrooms are small ‘study rooms’ for one person, with a double bed, a large desk, a small chest and a remodeled bathroom.  Although totally appropriate for a successful conference facility, these small and somewhat uninspiring rooms presented a major design challenge.

The National had a striking trompe l’oeil effect created with the addition of a wall mural that visually extends a guest’s view to infinity, and includes a flying eagle in the foreground. This technique makes the guestroom feel larger and reinforces the new brand image and color.

A whimsical touch:  Framed newspaper headlines featuring differing political views on attitudes of Global Warming. A thin black molding creates a crown around the room and into the bathroom where a picture of another American Eagle guards the guest’s privacy.

In fact, to launch the renovation and design theme, The National’s team released a Bald Eagle back into the wild regions of the property’s acreage.

A continuation of the room renovation will take place in 2017.

Dining and Lounges

The National’s Food and Beverage facilities were targeted for a complete make-over. The 900-seat dining room is a huge space with high ceilings held by natural concrete columns. In the past, the dining facility was a cafeteria-style food program. The team totally renovated the buffet areas deleting the use of trays, tray shelves and conveyor belts.  John Walsh, food and beverage director, and Executive Chef Chris Ferrier focused on local farm-to-table cuisine for the guests they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, which can be 1,200 people at capacity. A new area was designed for specialty coffees and wine for purchase.

Seating areas were renovated with new floor and wall treatments and colorful new tablescapes. Custom-designed artwork was installed that enlivened the dining space. In keeping with The National’s brand, large framed photos were created that quote U.S. Presidents and other dignitaries on food. One shows a large green broccoli spear and remarks by President George H. W. Bush: “I do not eat broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli…” Images of fresh foods, supporting the chef’s farm-to-table cuisine, add color, interest and appeal.

The next phase of renovation in The Dining Room will be to create more live demonstration cooking vs. the current steam table and buffet presentation. Induction cooking will allow food to be freshly prepared ‘a la minute’ and presented with very little holding and warming needed. All new menus will be developed and tested by mid-January. The food and beverage operation is a chef-driven operation with the top culinary team all graduates of the Culinary Institute of America and combined have more than 50 years cooking for large groups.

The National’s lounges were revamped to provide a much-improved guest experience. The team took the unused gift shop space near the lobby entrance and repurposed it as a Living Room with flight monitors where guests can check their flights, relax, work at computer stations and enjoy a coffee and refreshment break. Groupings of sofas, lounge chairs and tall tables grace the room that is surrounded with bookshelves. Large TVs are available for news, sports or music. This repurposed space is popular and is also used for private cocktail receptions and business meetings.

The Black Olive Bar & Grill

This striking, 200-seat action bar, with its soaring ceilings and impressive columns, sets the scene for convivial gatherings that include craft beers and Virginia wines, bar food, and games such as pool and darts. The previous 80-foot bar was ripped out and replaced, and new tiles, millwork and carpets added.  Live entertainment and Karaoke were added as well.

Last month, the team incorporated hand-made community tables where groups can mingle and meet new attendees, added 15 new 55” HD TV, improved lighting and added large couch seating options.

The National Secret – A Patriotic Speakeasy

In contrast to the lively Black Olive Bar, the National Secret is an intimate lounge, crafted from two adjoining meeting rooms, a daunting project that had to be completed in less than a month.  Elegant sofas, chaises and lounge chairs were purchased locally. One wall was draped in elegant blue silk and flag banners, complementing the overall blue of The National’s brand, right down to a blue flame in the fireplace.  The National’s signature plaid, in navy, adorns the other walls, which are scattered with images of gold coins and American flags. The room glows with candlelight, adding to the atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.

The finished room is down a hallway around the corner from the active Black Olive Bar & Grill with no other entrance. This secretive and sultry “speakeasy” is aptly named The National Secret, and has become a highly popular venue with guests and local residents who enjoy private cocktail parties and dinners amidst its secluded and intimate aura.

In 2017, The National will continue its capital investment with additional renovations to the meeting space, including enhanced technology, floor and wall treatments, pathway lightening and the updating of courtyards with firepits and landscaping.  Providing a pleasant, comfortable and updated atmosphere is most important to the new owners and management team. Phase II renovations will be completed by year end 2017 as The National advances to the forefront of the learning and development industries.

About The National Conference Center
Located in Northern Virginia 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and 35 miles from Washington, D.C., The National Conference Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers in the nation. With 917 guest rooms and over 265,000 square feet of meeting and group function space, including the West Belmont Place catering complex with its 16,552 square foot ballroom, The National has become the nation’s headquarters for productive meetings and West Belmont Place the hub for Loudoun County and surrounding area social functions.

West Belmont Place was named 2013 Best Venue by the International Special Events Society. The National Conference Center is also on the GSA schedule. The National is owned by NCC PS Enterprises LLC, a venture between PCCP, LLC and Stoneleigh Capital, LLC., which retained LaKota Hotels & Resorts to oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations. For information call 800-640-2684 or visit www.conferencecenter.com

ASAE’s Great Ideas in Association Management Conference Offers New Learning Opportunities

WASHINGTON — ASAE’s 2017 Great Ideas in Association Management Conference, Asia-Pacific (GIAP) will offer new education formats for association executives, and President and CEO Don Strickland of Strickland & Associates will provide insight on how associations can have long-term success. The conference is March 22-24, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt Seoul in Seoul, South Korea. The Korean Tourism Organization, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Tourism Organization, and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism are sponsoring the conference.

In its third year, GIAP is expanding its learning opportunities for attendees. Before the conference, participants can register for a tour to see the past and present Seoul. ASAE is offering a preconference masterclass that will emphasize strategies on how to run boards more effectively, and a separate registration fee is required. A new learning format called, “Ask the Experts” will give attendees a chance to share their challenges and gain insight from experienced executives.

During the opening keynote, former Kodak and Apple executive Strickland will reveal four critical success factors of Leadership 3.0 and two leadership traps association executives must avoid. He currently advises technology companies on business model innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship, and he serves as Adjunct Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College in London.

To close out the conference, an Associations Ignite session will have association professionals presenting five minute presentations that will cover volunteers, careers, and how to do more-with-less.

“The conference always brings a great mix of association professionals and industry partners from across the globe. It’s a great opportunity for colleagues to gain a better understanding of how associations are operating and using different strategies and tactics in the Asia-Pacific region,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE.

ASAE anticipates more than 200 participants from 16 countries to attend and attract professionals from the Asia-Pacific region, U.S., Europe, and the Middle East.

The early bird deadline is February 21. To see a full list of education sessions and register for the GIAP, visit giap.asaecenter.org/education.cfm.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE, skidwai@asaecenter.org, 202-326-9505.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 28,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,500 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit www.asaecenter.org.