NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the country to visit. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp is thanking those who go above and beyond to make visitors to feel welcomed with an honor called the “Hitmaker” Award.
News Channel 5 is partnering with them to profile a Hitmaker every month.
Every year, more than 14 million people visit Nashville from around the world, and the city is consistently touted as one of the nicest cities in the world.
“If music is the number one reason people come, our friendliness is number two, and a close second,” said Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp CEO Butch Spyridon.
Spyridon said that “friendliness” translates into dollars and jobs.
Each year, tourists bring $6 billion into Nashville and support almost 60,000 jobs. That’s where the Hitmakers come in.
“They never get the shootout, they never get the love or maybe the spotlight that maybe the owner or the manager and people like me get. So to turn that spotlight back around and say 'thank you,' hopefully it inspires them to do more, and encourages their coworker to step up, as well,” said Spyridon.
Jay McDowell is one of those Hitmakers nominated along with more than 500 other hospitality workers last year.
“I moved to Nashville 30 years ago, and I always tell people I will never leave. This is where it’s at. Music, art, culture, food. It’s all here. There’s no reason to go anywhere else,” said McDowell.
McDowell is a multimedia curator at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the person who nominated him was visiting Nashville when she lost her cell phone.
He searched for it everywhere until finally tracking it down at Hattie B’s. McDowell drove across town to pick the phone up and get it back to its owners.
“I didn’t think anything about it, just happy to help. I wasn’t looking for any recognition, I was just happy to help her,” said McDowell.
The visitors were so impressed they made a donation to the museum in his honor and nominated him for the Hitmaker award.
“I connect with so many visitors at the museum, that’s the best part of my job -- the people,” said McDowell.
A Hitmaker is honored every month, and nomination forms are spread throughout hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions around town.
Visitors and locals can also nominate someone at visitmusiccity.com.
The convention and Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp has been recognizing these Hitmakers for the past seven years.