Visitors' exec. says struggling to get conventions - WKRN News 2

Visitors' exec. says city struggling to get conventions

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The next battle of Nashville may be over its hotels and whether or not it needs another large one, like the Omni now being built next to the soon-to-be opened Music City Convention Center.

"It's a good problem," said Butch Spryridon, head of the Nashville Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Spryridon is the man in charge of filling the convention center with lucrative convention business that brings people into the hotels, restaurants and stores downtown.

The problem he is facing is that increased tourism is taking a lot of rooms from small and large hotels that in previous years were reserved in blocks for large conventions.

"The hotels see an opportunity to sell more rooms with the increased tourism, in doing so it has cut down on the large blocks normally set aside for conventions," said Spyridon.

"I would like to see one more full service hotel; I don't care what it is or where it is as long as it's within a few blocks of that new building."

That new building is the Music City Convention Center, which is scheduled to open next spring.

"I have had six clients call me saying we need one more full service hotel before they sign on the dotted line," added Spyridon.

However, not everyone feels the way Spyridon does that another large hotel is needed.

Many of the smaller hotels and some of the large ones aren't so sure they can compete if another big player like Omni comes to town.
 
One hotel manager who did not want to be identified told Nashville's News 2 there is the "danger of overbuilding hotels in a business that's sometimes feast or famine."

The operator says another large hotel would likely want Metro tax incentives and that's never an easy battle.

Spyridon says he's been meeting with various hotel operators to get input. 

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