Why plan an incentive travel trip to Nashville
Music City, Athens of the South, The Birthplace of Country Music, though this American city affectionally goes by many nicknames, it’s no doubt people are taking notice of the popularity of Nashville, Tennessee for incentive travel trips. In the words of our partner, Breana Burkhart with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, “When people are in Music City, they find themselves emersed in an experience built around something authentic.
There is this inspired spirit that runs through every element of Nashville that makes up our city from the live music, the good eats, and the creative juices that flow in and around the artists, the creators, the chefs, and the people.” Nashville offers a vast array of options for people of all personalities and interests. From world-renown music venues to mouth-watering cuisine and the rich culture of this unique city, it’s no wonder Nashville is growing to be one of the most sought-after domestic incentive destinations in the country.
Nashville Incentive-Quality Hotels
In recent years, the hotel inventory has been bursting at the seams to keep up with corporate groups and leisure travelers’ demands! Between the long-time convention hotel players and the most up-and-coming luxury properties coming on the scene, there is an option for nearly every group demographic both domestic and international. Although it’s hard to choose, here are some of our top recommendations.
It’s easy to see why this makes the top of our list, considering it was voted the #1 hotel in North America by MICE. Although this is one of the larger convention-style properties, it can make smaller groups feel at home. It’s conveniently located directly off Broadway, giving your attendees quick and easy access to the restaurants, shops, and nightlife. The sleeping rooms here are quite spacious and boast floor-to-ceiling windows letting in plenty of natural light.
Located two blocks off Broadway and directly next to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, this property offers easy access to one of the most popular attractions in the city. With state-of-the-art meeting space, Music Row-inspired guest rooms, and a rooftop pool, this property hits your groups’ major tick marks. They even offer a daily biscuit bar in their farm-to-table concept restaurant, Kitchen Notes, that will be sure to satisfy your attendees’ southern cooking craving.
Another downtown favorite, this property offers modern with a hint of funk with its unique sleeping rooms design. This property is directly attached to the entertainment venue Fifth + Broadway giving guests quick access to restaurants, premier shopping, dining, and entertainment while still being near all the downtown attractions.
2. Boutique properties
Personally, this 250-room hotel is one of my favorite options in terms of the overall vibe of the property. You truly feel a sense of place and know you are in Nashville when you step through the doors. Although it’s not located downtown, it is in the hip Music Row area, which is within walking distance to many nearby restaurants and bars. This property also has an on-site live music venue, Analog, that can be privatized for a unique on-site group function while still allowing your food and beverage spend to go toward your hotel F&B minimum (always a plus!).
This property boasts itself not as a hotel but as an immersive experience based on its thoughtfully curated design and décor by some of the city’s finest architects and artists. With Printers Alley (the “original” Nashville) along the back of the hotel and the allure of Broadway one block away, this property offers what we all know to be very important: prime location. After a fun day of exploring the city, groups can make their way to the hip rooftop bar, Rare Bird, to enjoy a specialty cocktail with one of the city’s finest views.
3. New and Upcoming Luxury
Coming onto the scene in mid-2022, this 235-room property is set to make a big splash in the heart of Music City. Located in the SoBro area (South of Broadway), this property is in the new and upcoming area of the city bustling with a vibrant music scene and the hottest new restaurants and bars. The luxury reputation of Four Seasons, combined with their attention to detail and high level of service, will surely bring a new level of elegance to the city.
The Hilton brand jumps into the mix by adding their stunning new Conrad property near the intersection of Broadway and West End Ave. The contemporary guestrooms here are pretty spacious and filled with luxury amenities like a French press for your coffee lovers and even a pillow menu to ensure your attendees get the best night’s rest after a day full of excitement from your incentive travel destination.
Activities for Incentive Travel or Meetings in Nashville
You can’t come to Nashville without making time to see some of the iconic tourist sites such as the Country Music Hall of Fame Tour or the Grand Old Opry. However, there is so much more to experience and see even beyond these well-known and loved attractions. We asked our friends over at the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp for more details on what is new and upcoming in the area, and they shared with us some great options to wow your attendees.
National Museum of African American Music
Celebrate the music genres that were influenced and inspired by African Americans. The museum infuses interactive technology and history, bringing everything to life in front of you!
Listening Room Café or RCA Studio B
You come to Nashville for Live music, but you also come to see the root of where it all began, the writer who imagined it, and the studio where it was engineered for us to enjoy. Experience an exclusive tour of these recording studios or even a private one-on-one session with some of the greatest songwriters of our era.
You can’t miss the opportunity to try a Goo Goo Cluster? This factory is where chocolate and history meet in Nashville. A variety of classes, from Goos and Booze to making your own Goo Goo Cluster are great options to satisfy your attendees’ sweet tooths and are sure to make a lasting memory.
This is home to an interactive Grammy Museum Gallery. Enjoy behind the scenes look at how music is engineered and produced before taking it on yourself, learning to play the drums, guitar, or sing alongside famous musicians in a studio.
What would Music City be without its wide array of music festivals? Some of the most popular are CMA Fest (early June), Bonaroo (late June), and Tin Pan South (March/April). Planning an incentive travel trip around these key dates is a great way to reward your attendees by giving them access to these exciting and interactive events.
Lastly, the Convention & Visitor Council (CVC) also hosts must-see events throughout the year, such as Let Freedom Sing over the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve Live, which are great options for you to capitalize on when taking groups to the city during these times.
Keeping with the trend of major cities around the country, the focus on gastronomy in the city continues to grow with several food festivals to attend. The first-ever Dine Nashville opened in 2021, which was a collaboration of chef experiences from some of the area’s finest restaurants. A few others to consider are the Hot Chicken Festival on July 4th every year or the Brewers Beer Festival that usually happens at the end of the summer. It’s hard to narrow down to the top restaurants, but a few spring to mind that offer great off-site group dinners options.
One of the most well-known steaks in the city, this modern American steakhouse offers a unique spin on the classics. With 8 private dining areas of various sizes, this location provides options for either an off-site small group dinner or even a dine-around where you can take over several rooms within the same restaurant.
This Italian fare restaurant focuses on seasonality and sustainably sourced ingredients to create its delectable menu. It conveniently features four locations for private dinners depending on your group’s needs. The Chef’s room offers a semi-private experience, while the Ivy room offers an exclusive private room and bar for your more VIP dinners.
For those larger off-site group dinners, this restaurant has several fantastic options. Their swanky Supper Club or Honorary Member Lounge can each hold up to 70 people and will have your guests feeling all the speakeasy vibes. The outdoor Terrace can hold up to 75 reception style and is backdropped by the bright lights and glow of Broadway so guests can easily continue the celebration post-dinner. Their final and largest venue is the rooftop bar which can be privatized for up to 250 in reception style seating offering the iconic city views Nashville is known for.
This is the original and creator of the famous Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich! Although there are no on-site private dining options here, they offer catering that could be an impactful addition to your program’s off-site group activity, teambuilder, or even a food truck-style group dinner in collaboration with a local venue or park.
Tips for Sourcing Nashville
As you can see, this destination really offers something special for incentive travel and continues to evolve with its numerous emerging neighborhoods, entertainment venues, and influx of hotels. Groups can’t wait to get their hands on availability, and the demand is at an all-time high, so sourcing this destination early is key to finding the rates and availability you need.
A destination like this does not come without a price. We tend to see a roughly 15-20% increase in overall hotel spend compared to similar domestic city locations, so it’s best to make your stakeholders aware of this upfront if they are truly interested in Nashville. However, starting in late 2023 and 2024, we predict the market will even out and provide more opportunity for groups of all budgets once again.
If the group is flexible, Nashville has a lot of high-end limited services hotels with unique amenities exclusive to their Nashville properties that could be a great fit. Until then, we can’t help but applaud the city for all its development and plans to do, which makes it such a fantastic place in the USA to see and travel to.
Thank you to our partners at the Nashville CVC for sharing their knowledge and their continued partnership! If you’d like to learn a little more how we can help you with an incentive travel program, check out what we can do for you, or contact us today!
(Cover Image for this blog by Nashville CVC)