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SEC Tournament brings business back to Nashville hotels following dismal year

SEC Tournament brings business to Nashville hotels following dismal year
Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 23:50:15-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — At the Omni Hotel in downtown, Nashville occupancy has nearly tripled this week.

"You could just feel the buzz with all of our staff," said the hotel's Area Director of Sales & Marketing, Tod Roadarmel. That's because the SEC Tournament has breathed new life into Nashville hotels.

Roadarmel said guests are "happy to be out, they're happy to be going to the restaurants, for those fortunate enough to have a ticket over to Bridgestone they're happy to watch live basketball again."

"It is good timing, it really is good timing," said President and CEO of Hospitality Tennessee and the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, Rob Mortensen. He said the hospitality industry comes in second for Tennessee's tax revenue and employs the state's largest workforce, making the success of hotels crucial to Tennessee's rebound.

For hotels that have barely stayed afloat the tournament has thrown a lifeline. "That then drives more revenue, not only for our restaurants and our hotels, but once again it brings in those taxes that feed everybody across this city," said Mortensen.

Now for the first time in a long time, Omni's lobby is busy and it could be a sign of what's to come. "We're receiving inquiries levels for group meetings and conventions back to the same levels in late or mid-2019 so we're definitely seeing a bright light," said Roadarmel.