Getting More Productivity Out of Your Northern Virginia Meeting

When you’re planning a meeting in Northern Virginia, you’ll want to make sure your event  is as productive as possible. Northern Virginia is home to several modern meeting venues that provide easy access to area restaurants and attractions. Inviting guests to a conference center or state-of-the-art venue can help attendees be inspired and productive. Here are some tips to get more productivity out of your Northern Virginia meeting:

Tips for More Productive Meetings

  1. Send out agendas in advance. Give everyone a chance to prepare for the meeting by sending out meeting agendas in advance. These can be as detailed or as simple as you want them to be with the goal being that every attendee has a fair idea of what will be discussed.
  2. Host focus sessions. If you’re covering several topics throughout the day or over a few days, consider condensing them down into short but highly focused sessions with longer breaks in between. This can help attendees better understand the material.
  3. Encourage networking. You may have a mix of local and out-of-town guests at your Northern Virginia meeting so you’ll want to make sure everyone is comfortable with the group. Host a networking event before or during the meeting at an area restaurant or on the property where the meeting is taking place.

Meeting Planning in Northern Virginia
You’ll find several meeting venues around Northern Virginia but only some offer modern amenities and the latest technologies to make your event a success. Host your next meeting at The National Conference Center for its distraction-free setting. With more than 265,000 square feet of event space and sophisticated presentation technology, you can look forward to hosting a productive meeting. Learn more about meeting services available at The National Conference Center.

How to Choose Your Wedding Date in Northern Virginia

The day of your wedding will be a day you’ll want to cherish forever so you want to make sure you pick the perfect date. When planning your wedding in Northern Virginia, you’ll need to consider a few different factors to narrow down your options. Here are some tips on how to choose your wedding date in Northern Virginia:

The Perfect Wedding Date
1. Decide on an indoor or outdoor celebration. Summer and fall in Northern Virginia offer plenty of opportunities to spend long days outdoors and temperatures are comfortable. Winter and spring are well-suited for indoor celebrations where guests can cozy up by the fire and enjoy indoor activities during their stay. Consider the season to choose the perfect date.

2. Plan around your honeymoon. Northern Virginia has several romantic destinations that are ideal for a romantic getaway. Save money on travel and enjoy an extended celebration by enjoying your honeymoon right after your wedding events.

3. Consider the venue. If you’re booking a conference center instead of a hotel or resort for your wedding events, you’ll need to choose dates that don’t conflict with other events taking place at the event venue. Search for calendars and request information about availability in the season you are planning your wedding to bed in so you can secure a date you want.

Wedding Planning in Northern Virginia
When you’re planning your wedding and social events in Northern Virginia, consider the event space at the West Belmont Event Center. Our Leesburg event venue is surrounded by more than 65 scenic acres and features the largest ballroom in Northern Virginia, accommodating up to 1,800 guests. Learn more about weddings at West Belmont Place.

Time to Upgrade from 3-Ring Binders

All meeting and event planners have horror stories about how they manage their events, from 3-ring binders to elaborate spreadsheets. Heaven forbid, if you lose the binder or can’t get online to access the spreadsheets, there are so many things that can go wrong. Here are organization tips for highly effective event and meeting planners to keep pace in the industry.

  1. Bye Bye Spreadsheets. Spreadsheets were initially used for mathematical or financial tasks, and even though event planners have to track hundreds of deliverables (due dates, costs and assignments), there are better solutions for event planners. These include project management tools with mobile apps that can be used before the event begins and to access information while on-site. These apps are like your notebook, but better; they sync back to the cloud so nothing gets lost. They also allow you to keep in touch with your peers at the office in real time.
  1. The Cloud is your Best Friend. The problem with notebooks is it’s out of date as soon as you put it in the book. A cloud-based system creates a central location for all information associated with an event or meeting. It’s a place where files, decisions, contracts and conversations can be assessed and reviewed. That means fewer meetings and less time spent disseminating new information to team members.
  1. Delegate, delegate and delegate more. Event and meeting planners often exhaust themselves as they try to do everything themselves. You can delegate work effectively, while still monitoring the progress in real time. Collaborative work management software lets you assign work to members of your team and monitor the status of every task. Members of the team will appreciate the organization as much as you appreciate the transparency.
  1. Automate Deadlines. Events and meetings rotate around a variety of deadlines, from short term to years out.  These deadlines usually create a domino effect; one change affects the rest down the line. There are tools that help you automate these calculations so you can manage unexpected schedule changes with confidence, knowing the event is staying on track. Stuff happens. When you utilize automation, you can change one date and the computer will do the dirty work of figuring out the rest.
  1. Templates Create Success. If your event was successful, you want to duplicate that in every way possible. The problem with a notebook is that you can’t just photocopy it and start over again. Tools in the cloud allow you to access learnings from previous events or meetings and replicate your results, while reviewing areas for improvement. As the volume and costs of your events grow, this will help optimize your work, not just manage it.

If you’re a high-speed and high-volume event planner, it’s time to ditch the 3-ring binder and embrace modern conveniences, like cloud software, that will help you improve event planning from start to finish.

Source:  BizBash,

Holiday Party Package

West Belmont Place Event Center at The National Conference Center creates a unique holiday party package to celebrate the upcoming holidays. According to Tony Roberts, the author of “Learn the 7 Forces of Business Mastery,” holiday parties are still popular. According to one study, about 90% of companies throw a holiday party for their employees. It’s yet another way many companies show their appreciation for — and retain — their employees. With so much competition for “star players” and the ever-rising threat of a rival company poaching top talent, these sorts of perks help provide the glue that make a person want to stick with a company.

A great holiday party contains three important characteristics: atmosphere, decor and refreshments (food, beverage) — without trying to cut corners. No matter how large or how small your holiday party is, if it is done in the spirit of giving, it is bound to be a great night that your employees will appreciate.

This year West Belmont Place offers 6 Holiday Party Ideas complete with giveaways and incentives for those who book by September 1, 2018, including:

  • A private 4-course Chef’s Table for four guests that can be a giveaway for meeting guests or a special event for staff, board of directors or VIPs.
  • Complimentary ice sculpture with your company logo.
  • Complimentary Champagne toast at reception or dinner.
  • Two complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

If the contract is $5,000, one incentive can be added; $10,000 contract, two incentives can be added and $15,000 contract, three incentives can be added.

The fine print: New bookings only. Does not apply to previously booked meetings. Can not be combined with other discounts or promotions. Contract must be signed before September1, 2018. Does not include sales tax.

West Belmont Place offers the largest ballroom (16,552 sq. ft.) in Northern Virginia that can be used for a large office party; and also intimate spaces like The National Secret, Black Olive Bar & Grill, The Living Room and The Dining Room. The catering staff can create exhilarating and innovative special events that may include corporate giving, teambuilding, wine and food pairings, scavenger hunts or contests, and themed events.

For more information about the “Christmas in July”, call 703-724-6250 for more details.  Christmas in July continues through September 1st.

$99 Day Meeting Package

The National Conference Center’s West Belmont Place has just created the “Just in Time” $99 Day Meeting Package (DMP), which is an all-inclusive per person, per day-priced meeting package. The “Just in Time” $99 Day Meeting Package includes:Meeting Space in Leesburg

  • Meeting room
  • Unlimited healthy refreshment breaks to create a “food for thought” mood
  • Farm-to-Table lunch with food stations in the Dining Room
  • House technology package
  • Complimentary WiFi throughout the campus
  • Ample, covered complimentary parking with security
  • Dedicated meeting Ambassador to customize your meeting
  • Productive learning environment, distraction-free campus setting
  • A variety of outdoor space for socializing and networking after the meeting

And new this year, The National’s West Belmont Place offers four complimentary incentives or giveaways for those who book a day meeting anytime during 2018. Contract must be signed by August 31, 2018.

  • A private 4-course Chef’s Table for four guests that can be a giveaway for meeting guests or a special event for staff, board of directors or VIPs.Ice Carving incentive
  • Complimentary ice sculpture with your company logo.
  • Complimentary Champagne toast at reception or dinner.
  • Two complimentary in the $20-25/person range.

If the contract is $5,000, one incentive can be added; $10,000 contract, two incentives can be added and $15,000 contract, three incentives can be added.

The fine print:  New bookings only. Does not apply to previously booked meetings. Can not be combined with other discounts or promotions. Contract must be signed before August 31, 2018. Does not include sales tax.

Adventure and Teambuilding
Some of the highlights of The National, in addition to its 265,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, is the newly designed Challenge Course and many teambuilding options that can be added to any meeting. This professionally designed, 14-element Challenge Course addresses the physical and emotional needs of all individuals. Our programs go beyond the Challenge Course with culinary competitions, off-site adventure trips, sport and game tournaments, wellness, fitness and mindfulness programs

Small and Intimate Spots
When new management took over The National four years ago, one of the goals was to create small, intimate meeting spaces. Common areas through the facility provide space for socializing, discussions and networking. A modern Living Room space off the lobby, a game room and a “speakeasy” room aptly named The National Secret round out the indoor space. Todd Goldian West Belmont PlaceThe National Secret is behind the active Black Olive Bar & Grill provides a quiet meeting space.

Hyper-Local Culinary Program
The National’s food and beverage program continues to grow and evolve under the direction of Food and Beverage Director Todd Goldian and Executive Chef Frank Estremera. They have focused on growing relationships with local farmers, incorporating over 60 local products to the daily menus that serve as many as 1,200 guests per day. We have created a healthy Breakfast for Champions menu that includes healthy shakes, steal oats oatmeal served with local honey, cage-free eggs and fresh produce from CEA Farms. See our blog post with more details.

For more information about the “Just in Time” $99 Day MeetingPackage, Click here to submit your meeting requirements. This offer continues through August 31st.

Black Olive Block Party – Enter to Win

Black Olive Block Party – Enter to Win a Private Party in The National Secret!

Become a member of the Black Olive Club to win a private party in The National Secret for you and 11 friends! Our Chef Frank Estremera will create a menu to accompany the evening complete with a champagne toast!

The Black Olive at The National is located in the heart of Leesburg, right off Rt. 7. This neighborhood meeting spot has a club atmosphere with 200-seat sports and action bar, impressive columns and several outdoor patios with fire pits. The Black Olive Club membership, created especially for the local community, offers discounts on food, wine, and events. There is no fee to become a member and no monthly spending requirements. To find out more, click here or call 703-724-5147.

ENTER TO WIN TODAY to reserve your spot. No entry fee. $2 Tasting Tickets will be sold and $6 Food Portion Tickets will be sold.

Black Olive Block Party

Friday, June 15, starting at 5pm we invite all of Lansdowne and Loudoun neighbors to join us for live music with local favorite Jumpin’ Jupiter. Enjoy food and beverages as the summer kicks off at The Black Olive Bar & Grill’s Block Party. Bring your friends and enjoy music, wine, cigars and food from local restaurants, all on a shady patio. Not sure where the Black Olive is located? We’re off Rt. 7 behind Riverside High on 65-acres of beautiful countryside at The National Conference Center.

This is sure to be a fun night and the first of Black Olive’s monthly summer entertainment series. We so enjoy working with our community partners that we’ve invitPatio at Black Oliveed them to partake and share the night.  This is a free event for the local community and businesses to come together and relax.

  • Black Olive Bar & Grill, a mammoth 200-seat sports bar at The National Conference Center, will be roasting a pig for the Block Party, along with side dishes and a full bar will be open to purchase a variety of local wine, beer and beverages.
  • Live music with Jumpin’ Jupiter, a 4-piece group known as Virginia’s premiere rockin’ and rollin’ rockabilly outfit. Dance up a storm as this band unleashes some of the most powerful and energetic music ever seen in Loudoun County.
  • Wine and chocolate pairings with Chief Wine Officer, Mary Watson-Delauder. Have you ever seen Mary in action? If not, you’re missing out on entertainment at its best. With over 30 years in the wine business and the spokesperson for Virginia Wine Tourism in 2007 and 2008, Mary has her very own following. Learn how to taste the differences in wine when paired with chocolate. Six to eight wines will be available for tasting with homemade chocolates by Chef Santosh Tiptur from The Conche Restaurant, who lives by indulging in chocolates! Mary Watson
  • Brewmasters from Solace Brewery, one of the newest in Loudoun County, will be doing tastings of their latest brews and showcasing summer ales. Let’s hope they bring Beach Bod and Sun’s Out Hops Out to taste.
  • Premium Moonshine from Belle Isle. This is not moonshine like we’ve come to know it; this is premium moonshine, made using the same techniques passed down by our American ancestors, distilled from 100% organic corn, and made with only the best ingredients. Taste and see for yourself and pair it with fabulous food from our local restaurants.
  • Mt. Defiance, located in historic Middleburg, creates handcrafted, small batch hard ciders and spirits. This Distillery focuses on the revival of classic spirits, and explores the world of “lost spirits,” those that had fallen out of favor either due to post-Prohibition mass production methods, out-of-date laws, or both. They honor Middleburg, the colonial-era town, with one of the most popular spirits of that time, rum. Taste, learn and experience.

Back Olive Bar & Grill’s pub menu, Ford’s Fish Shack, with its variety of fresh fish from up and down the East Coast and The Conche Restaurant’s chocolate and desserts will be serving $6 portion size dishes. Local farmers from Spring House Farm and Silcott Farm will be showing fresh fruits and vegetables and discussing their upcoming growing season.

MEET US in the Courtyard at The Black Olive Bar & Grill – 18980 West Belmont Place, Leesburg, VA (located at The National Conference Center to the right of the Front Desk). Free covered parking.

RSVP Today to reserve your Spot. No entry fee. $2 Tasting Tickets will be sold and $6 Food Portion Tickets will be sold.

Summer Camp Is Here

Reinvigorate your team’s creativity and productivity with an exciting retreat to The National. With our beautiful, 65-acre campus by the Potomac River, The National offers out-of-the-box solutions for indoor and outdoor venues that celebrate summertime. Take your program into the great outdoors, or completely reimagine what it means to be indoors with innovative set-ups and themed décor ideas from our creative planning experts. Top it all off with innovative teambuilding and networking programs that will leave your team reminiscing like school kids after summer camp. Our team can provide you with such memorable experiences as:

  • Themed Refreshment Breaks: Menu planning, props and activities during scheduled breaks
  • Outdoor Socials: Food, wine and more by the Pergola, Terrace, Courtyard or expansive West Lawn
  • Ice Breakers: Engaging sessions designed to break down barriers and get teams comfortable with one another
  • Team Building: Challenge Course, Black Olive Bar, and custom programs from wine tastings to offsite brewery tours
  • Food & Wine Pairings: Pairings in the Park with Executive Chef Frank Estremera and Chief Wine Officer Mary Watson DeLauder

Enjoy savings of up to 18% when you schedule your program during the weeks of July 8, August 9 or September 16. Special savings are available for two-, three-, and four-day programs.

Call us today for more information: 703.724.5111.

Put A Little Weekend In Your Meeting

Let The National team put the “weekend” in your weekend meeting or event. With 1.2 million square feet of space on a lush, 65-acre campus, The National has everything you want readily available – from 900 guest rooms to our award-winning Challenge Course to an expansive ballroom that seats 1,500. Choose from our Day or Complete Meeting Packages and our expert team of planners will work with you to select engaging teambuilding programs and craft your ideal learning environment, providing your group with an unforgettable experience that’s worthy of their weekend.

Day Meeting Package:

• Fully equipped conference room, break-out room and meeting setups
• Standard audiovisual package (some audio visual aids may be subject to additional fee)
• Lunch in the Dining Room
• Continuous refreshment breaks (coffee, soft drinks, snacks)
• Dedicated conference planner
• Use of fitness center
• Complimentary parking
• GSA Package priced per person, per day

Complete Meeting Package:

• Overnight accommodations
• Professional conference planning manager
• Fully equipped conference rooms, large meeting spaces and break-out room
• Standard audiovisual package
• Three meals daily in our 800-seat Dining Room
• Continuous refreshments and snacks
• Complimentary Wi-Fi in the meeting rooms and guest rooms
• Use of fitness center and jogging trails
• Complimentary parking
• GSA Package priced per person, per day

Enjoy savings of up to 35% when you schedule your program on select weekends.
Call us today for more information: 703.724.5111.

The National is Surrounded by Summer FUN

1. Fridays in Leesburg

Historic downtown/King Street
The first Friday of every month is a celebration. Art galleries and shops stay open later and feature wine and food tastings, and live music. On other Fridays, enjoy the historic setting and many options for dining and nightlife.

2. One Loudoun

The One Loudoun complex
Dubbed Loudoun County’s new Downtown, this complex of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment can fill an hour – or an evening. Go for free outdoor summer concerts, dinner under the stars, or the farmer’s market on Saturdays.

3. Solace Brewery

2615 Trade West Dr. Suite 100, Dulles, VA
Find your Solace at this local production brewery. The large tasting room is open all week. Look for Solace in the Black Olive Bar too!

4. Topgolf

20356 Commonwealth Center Dr, Ashburn, VA
Topgolf Dulles features 102 bays over 3 floors with a golf game concept that anyone can play and enjoy – from pros to zeros. It’s competitive, fun, and always better with a big group. Lively bars, a rooftop terrace, and food and drink options available.

5. Catoctin Creek Distillery

120 W Main St, Purcellville, VA
Learn how this award-winning whiskey is made during a tour, then sample a flight of spirits, whiskey, brandy, or cocktails. Reservations recommended.

6. The Appalachian Trail

18393 Blue Ridge Mountain Rd, Bluemont, VA
You don’t need expedition gear to enjoy a little piece of the famed trail. Catch a sunset across the Shenandoah Valley at Bear’s Den, just half-a-mile from a nearby parking lot or stroll the trail for an afternoon.

7. MacDowell Brew Kitchen

202 B. Harrison St. SE, Leesburg
This brewpub’s beachy backyard, complete with a sandy underfoot, is the perfect way to kick back after a long day. Ask about daily drink specials.