NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's one of the most important conventions Nashville has hosted in years: a convention for convention planners.
Thousands of members of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) have gathered every year for their Convening Leaders conference, and in 2017, Nashville was chosen as the location, giving the city a tremendous opportunity to showcase what Music City has to offer when it comes to conventions.
Tourism has been the second largest industry in Nashville, and conventions and meetings have accounted for 40 percent of the tourism dollars taken in.
About 80 percent of PCMA members have been key decision-makers for their organization, and 40 percent have been in associations with at least 10,000 members. According to the organization, this is the largest event they've ever hosted.
"I think that speaks volumes for Nashville," Deborah Sexton, CEO of PCMA, said.
While PCMA members will be entertained with special events, such as a concert from Little Big Town and Peter Frampton, city officials have also been counting on the city to do some selling based on its tremendous recent growth and the accommodations the city provides.
"The growth of the hotels in the downtown marketplace, making it walkable to the city center, is a really important element for our group," Sexton said.
According to Butch Spyridon, CEO and President of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., 1,200 hotel rooms have opened in the past year and 5,300 are currently under construction with plans to open in the next two years.
Spyridon said a successful PCMA convention could mean financial stability for the city in the years, and even the decade, to come.
"We're selling, every minute of the day," Spyridon said of the city's work during the convention.
Luckily for Spyridon and the city, when people experience Nashville in person, people fall in love.
The hope from city leaders has been that PCMA members will tell their colleagues all that Nashville has to offer.
"The buildings are cool, the hotels are great, the dining scene is good, the package is convenient: we need to be in Nashville," Spyridon said, which is what he hopes PCMA members will spread.
PCMA convention members will attend numerous events throughout the week in addition to their information and education sessions, including an event where they will attempt to break a world record.
The conference was scheduled to end on Wednesday.