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ESPA Annual Conference

Rockin' Nashville
30th Anniversary Annual Conference

Friday, January 5th, 2018 Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown • Nashville, Tennessee
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Sessions are created for event service professionals – and note that there are different tracks to suit your preferences. Be sure to select your track sessions during the registration process.

ESPA offers valuable continuing education credits! As a CMP Preferred Provider, our aim is to make the earning of credits seamless for you! Sessions are pending approval from the Events Industry Council and will be noted on the schedule once approved.

We have great sessions for maximum interactivity and discussion among members! With discussions on challenges & solutions, roundtable sessions, and new this year we will have opportunities for people in similar disciplines to network together – Small, medium, large CVB, Center and Hotels.

Each year, through our community support initiative, ESPA's awesome attendees give back to a charity. This year we are making it interactive and encouraging our members be hands on in assembling kits for Clean the World while at the event. The idea for soap recycling came about after Shawn Seipler, the organization’s founder, learned the barely used bars of hotel soap he left behind each morning ended up in a landfill.

Clean the World collects and recycles soap and hygiene products discarded every day by the hospitality industry and other sectors that generate environmental waste. Through the distribution of these and other donated products to impoverished people, they are preventing millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, and encourage vigorous childhood development.

An assembly station will be located in the ESPA networking area for members to help assemble kits during coffee breaks. A great way to give back and network at the same time.

To find out more about Clean the World please visit https://cleantheworld.org/

THE EVENT SERVICE PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION

NEED HELP GAINING MANAGEMENT APPROVAL TO ATTEND?

This brochure describes the value of professional development and education for services managers. Print this out and provide it to your manager – it contains quotes from meeting planners about the value they place on their CSMs, including when making re-booking decisions.

Interested in sponsorship? Email ESPA HQ for details today.

  • All
  • Event Sponsors
  • Elite Sponsors
  • Premier Partners
 
Visit Houston
PSAV
Dallas CVB
Freeman
Clean the World
Spokane
Fort Worth
 

Schedule of Events

Friday
2018-01-05
Saturday
2018-01-06
Sunday
2018-01-07
08:00 - 11:30
Board of Directors Breakfast and Meeting
13:00
Optional Tours: Two Nashville Tour Experiences

Music City Memories Museum & Walking Tour


NOTE: Separate registration required. Details, register and pay for the two sightseeing tours directly through Destination Nashville’s online registration site, links are below. For the Music City Center tour, register on the ESPA Conference registration site, there is no fee for this tour.

 

This tour will take you through Nashville’s iconic music scene. This is a walking tour that will cover a broad area downtown, so be ready to log some good steps! We will depart from the hotel and do a walk by of the famous Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ol’ Opry. From there we will visit the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum.

The world’s largest research center dedicated to a single form of American music, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum boasts dynamic state-of-the-art galleries, archival storage, education classrooms, retail stores, and special event spaces. Here guests can get an in-depth look at the people, places and instruments that have contributed to the development of country music.

Officially authorized by the Estate of Johnny Cash, The Johnny Cash Museum features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.

Our tour will conclude with a stop to shop! We’ll visit one of Nashville’s famous boot shops, where participants can try on boots. Remember, you’ll want some appropriate attire to wear to our Saturday night shindig!Fee: $78 plus tax Register with Destination Nashville

Nashville City Tour

On this tour you will see all of the major sights of this vibrant city. You will start downtown, then take a ride to SoBro, “South of Broad,” Germantown, West End, Music Row, and including a stop at Centennial Park, home of the Parthenon, the only full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens Greece. If you are looking for a tour that offers an overview of the entire city – this is your tour! Fee: $50 plus tax Register with Destination Nashville

 

13:30
Optional Tour of Music City Center

The Music City Center is Nashville’s convention center. Located in the heart of downtown, this 2.1 million square foot facility opened in 2013 and was built so that Nashville could host large, city-wide conventions in the downtown area. The Music City Center champions environmental sustainability and is LEED Gold certified for New Construction by the U.S. Green Building Council.

 

For the Music City Center tour, register on the ESPA Conference registration site, there is no fee for this tour.

17:30
New Member / First Timer Meet and Greet with ESPA Board
18:30
We’re Rockin’ Nashville Opening Reception
19:30
Optional Off-Site Dinner at Puckett’s 5th and Church

For those who want to join other members for dinner tonight, we have arranged a limited number of tables at Puckett’s, which is just a short walk from the hotel. Puckett’s roots stretch back to the ‘50s and to a little grocery store in the village of Leiper’s Fork, Tenn. Since those early days, Puckett’s has focused on providing friends new and old with great food and Southern hospitality. Four restaurants later, that aim still rings true. Puckett’s has built a name on hosting local musical acts and serving Southern food in a laid-back and down-home atmosphere. Fee: $50, Register through the ESPA Conference Registration portal, space is limited.

07:30 - 08:30
Networking Breakfasts with Peer Groups
08:30 - 08:45
Opening Session: Welcome to Nashville!
08:45 - 09:45
Opening Keynote: Open Roads, Open Minds, an Exploration of Creative Problem Solving Presented by Steve Uzzell

Drive for any length of time on a true open road and you’ve more than likely experienced the remarkable mind-opening phenomenon that results: Our imagination is released, and problems resolve quickly. Why? Why does this ALWAYS work? No one knows exactly, but most everyone acknowledges the effect, and I call this effect the Spirit of the Open Road. Regardless of what we do as adults, including our ever-evolving role as event service managers, the continuum of every day is spent solving problems, so… how DO we access the Spirit of the Open Road and turn it into an attitude for everyday problem solving?

 

Steve Uzzell is one of the top advertising and corporate photographers in the United States. He started in the photography business 40 years ago as the assistant to the editor of National Geographic and a member of the photographic staff there. His assignments have taken him to all 50 United States and 30 foreign countries. His work has garnered international acclaim and won numerous awards, including ten from Communication Arts. Along the way, he has photographed two books and had editorial work published in over 100 publications.

09:45 - 10:00
ESPA Sidebar! Announcement of the Donald S. Freeman Jr. Scholarship Recipient
10:00 - 10:30
Networking Break: Clean the World Activity & View our Showcase of Member Materials

Members: The Showcase is your chance to strut your stuff! Place your marketing materials on our display tables for others to see. This is a great way to share and to learn from your peers. Also look for the Clean the World assembly station to help create kits for those in need.

10:30 - 11:30
Two Concurrent Sessions (click for details)

1) CVB Challenges & Case Studies

Have you been wondering how other CVBs deal with unconventional requests regarding site visits? Maybe you’d like to know how other cities are quantifying their services. Join this lively and interactive discussion to discover how other cities are facing these and other challenges. Bring some questions of your own to join the conversation.

 

2) Hotels & Centers – Challenges & Case Studies

Are you looking for new ideas to optimize space? Do you want to know how other event managers are saying “no” nicely? Join us for this lively and interactive discussion to discover how other venues are facing these and many other challenges. Bring some questions of your own to join the conversation.

11:45 - 12:30
Networking Luncheon
12:40 - 13:00
ESPA Annual Business Meeting
13:00 - 14:00
General Session: Customer Service as a Key to Success,Presented by Butch Spyridon, President/CEO Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp


Integrating customer service into every aspect of your business is important. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp has taken Southern hospitality to a new level and achieved unprecedented success in visitation and visitor spending as well as record growth in hotel room sales. With attention to detail in everything it does – from tying its convention services team to its marketing department , to staging world-class events and providing consistent branding — Music City’s authentic hospitality and friendliness is a key reason it’s been ranked a top destination in the world for the past six years.

 

Butch Spyridon has served as the head of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC) since 1991. Over the last 25 years, the NCVC has led the strategic development of Nashville’s hospitality industry. During that time, Nashville has evolved into a global, year-round destination. Visitor spending in Davidson County exceeded $5.7 billion and accounts for one third of the visitor spending in the entire state.

 

During Butch’s tenure, the NCVC has been involved with development initiatives that include the Tennessee Titans, Bridgestone Arena, Music City July 4th, New Year’s Eve in Nashville, the Music City Center, Music City Walk of Fame, and the first ever citywide branding initiative.

14:00 - 14:30
Networking Break: Clean the World Activity & View our Showcase of Member Materials
14:30 - 15:30
Three Concurrent Sessions (click for details)

1) Cornhole, Footbag, Fencing and Gymnastics – Sports planners don’t necessarily have the same needs as the traditional meeting planner. This session will reveal how other cities are providing unique and memorable services in order to create a culture for repeat business. This active discussion will feature a panel with a representative from a hotel, a center, a CVB and a planner.

 

2) Forecasting Room Blocks – Straight from the horse’s mouth! Hear from a director of revenue management how the hotel forecasts room blocks and why it’s important to you. Your client – whether you work for a hotel, a center or a CVB – will be better served by your knowledge of this intricate process.

 

3) Leadership Focus – Evaluating Convention Services Value. Knowing how difficult it is to measure productivity and success in convention services, how do you show value to your leadership? Join a brainstorming session with other team leaders to discover new ways to measure value.

15:45 - 16:00
ESPA Sidebar! Presentation of Executive Excellence and Meeting Professional of the Year Awards
16:00 - 17:00
Event Security 2.0 – Practical Guidance for Event Service Professionals: Developing & Implementing a Holistic Approach to Security Planning Presented by Jonathan Wackrow, Executive Director, RANE

This session will feature a security and safety expert who will  present actionable event security guidance and strategy combined with industry peers discussing critical event security issues they have directly encountered. This session will provide event service professionals hands-on, step-by-step guidance on how to incorporate safety and security elements and emergency preparedness into meeting and event planning.

 

Session Objectives:

  • Review the risk environment event planners face
    • Identify global and local threats that have operational and/or economic impact to events and meetings
    • Develop centralized, local responses and mitigation strategies
  • Develop holistic and balanced framework for guiding key emergency planning and action steps
    • Secure your organization and the event’s physical and technological assets
    • Leverage people, process and technology in your security and event planning
  • Develop peer-to-peer understanding of critical event security elements through a focused panel discussion
    • Industry participants discuss how key foundational elements of event security were executed during previous events
17:15 - 17:45
ESPA’s 2018 Committee Meetings
18:30
Off-Site 30th Anniversary Dinner Celebration — Denim and Diamonds at the Wild Horse Saloon

Grab your cowboy boots and hats – put on your denim and diamonds, and let’s head to a Nashville Honkey-tonk for a night to celebrate ESPA’s 30th year. We’ll gather at The Wild Horse Saloon for great live country music and a line dancing for those who want to kick up their heels. And what’s a Nashville night without some good BBQ with all the fixin’s? Come hungry!

Note: Cash bar. There are two registration fees – one includes the full conference plus this dinner. If you are not able to attend the dinner, you can select the full conference registration without dinner included. Separate Dinner-only tickets are available for spouses or other guests in the Online store.

07:30 - 08:30
Networking Breakfasts with Peer Groups (click for details)

In addition to our regular networking breakfast, this morning we will offer breakfasts for the following subgroups:
-Leadership Breakfast (Assistant Director/Director Level and higher) – Challenges and Successes
-New CSM Breakfast – Ask-it basket – What are your burning questions as a new CSM? Drop them in the basket!

08:45 - 09:00
Musical Opening Day two!
09:00 - 09:45
General Session: The Politics of Meetings

Given today’s political climate, the industry is experiencing a variety of challenges. At a May Events Industry Council meeting, the impact of the US Political Climate was designated as one of the top 5 trends currently shaping the events industry.

During this session, learn how legislative and political decisions impact meetings, and hear how CVBs are responding and successfully working around some of these issues.

09:45 - 10:00
ESPA Sidebar! Presentation of the CSM of the Year Awards
10:15 - 11:15
Three Concurrent Sessions (click for details)

1. Roundtable Discussions – At this session, you will have the opportunity to speak with peers about issues of importance to you. Each table will be pre-set with topic questions to help get the conversation started and keep it moving along. This is a great opportunity to share ideas and solutions with your services peers.   Please be prepared to select your preferred topic during the registration process so that we can have ample space available for each topic.

  • Housing – How do you do that? Take this opportunity to ask your peers how they’re facing the challenges of housing.
  • Seamless communication – Brainstorm ideas to create better communication between sales, services, and talk over social media and marketing.
  • Food & beverage – Serving clients with limited budgets and different approaches to your F&B offerings.
  • Personalizing the meeting attendee’s experience – Learn how other cities are creating authentic experiences for attendees.
  • Strategic feedback/surveys (Director Level) – What’s the new survey? What to ask, what do we use the answers for? Is it tied to goals, raises & bonuses?
  • Addressing city-wide issues – How are other cities working with issues such as homelessness, protests, city wide emergencies or natural disasters.


2. Technology Focus for Venues

a)Technology’s Impact on the Future of Events: Will You Be Ready? Presented by Dan Berger, CEO, Social Tables

Learn about global trends and predictions for hotels, meeting spaces, and the hospitality industry and how technology impacts them all. Find out how properties and planners alike are experiencing a paradigm shift, from customization to the new tech renaissance and what you can do to make sure you’re ready when these trends take shape.
Learning Objectives:

-Review technology’s impact to date

-How you can integrate technology into all stages of the planning lifecycle
-Prepare for the technological trends that will impact the industry at large

b) Up and coming AV technology, Presented by PSAV

PSAV will discuss the latest developments in event technology so that you can be more of a resource in bringing these new technology ideas to your clients, including:

  • Presentation Technology
  • Event Intelligence
  • Green Innovations
  • Mobile Solution


3. Ask a Pro!

Are you new to the CVB world? Do you work with a small team and want some fresh opinions? This is your opportunity to ask experienced CSMs all of those burning questions. Let’s bring the ESPA Connect forum to life!

11:30 - 12:30
Networking Lunch
13:00 - 14:00
Q&A with the Planners

Participate in this intimate exchange between event service professionals and meeting planners, led by a facilitator. Topics will be established based on member input. What are they looking for from their CSMs and what do the CSMs need from planners? What trends are on the horizon for groups? Come ready for interactive dialogue and information sharing.

14:00 - 14:30
Networking Break
14:30 - 15:30
Closing Keynote Session – Are you Playing it Safe? How to Amplify Your #EventProf Brand and Stay Relevant, Presented by Judi Holler


How would you feel if…

  • You had more patience with your clients and colleagues?
  • You felt confident to ask for what you want?
  • You felt more productive and less overwhelmed?
  • You had the guts to dance with your fear?

 

Through personal stories, Improv games and with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Judi Holler will help you understand how to harness the power of your unique personal brand to build confidence and manage fear.

 

The qualities of a good improviser can be learned.  Just like it’s common knowledge that eating well and working out will help you lose weight … practicing and using the fundamentals of Improv is like Yoga for your professional development!   It’s a mental workout that will improve your emotional IQ, help you get out of uncomfortable spaces, allow you to think on your feet, and become a more collaborative event professional along the way.

 

Participants will take away the following:

  • How to promote yourself internally and externally
  • Steps to gain a competitive edge in the industry
  • How to embrace change
  • Tools to provide more focus and productivity
  • Strategies that will help you expand the reach of your hospitality network
  • A personalized value proposition statement you can use immediately
  • An understanding of how to overcome and embrace your fear
  • A sneak peek into the world of Improv theatre

 

Judi Holler-Durkin, DES, has worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 13 and has spent over 15 years working in Sales and Marketing for companies like Marriott, Omni and Starwood before starting her own company: HOLLA! Productions, in 2016.  In 2014, Judi was selected as a Connect Magazine 40 under 40 in the Hospitality Industry, she recently received her Digital Event Strategist Certification from PCMA and is a proud past President for the Chicago Area Chapter of Meeting Professionals International.

 

As a professionally trained improviser & Second City Alumni with a radio/television degree, Judi uses her training every day to create authentic, relevant and memorable experiences for her clients. Judi works as an event emcee, on-camera host and keynote speaker, with a focus on personal branding and fear management for the hospitality professional.

 

Judi’s Mission:  To help hospitality professionals stand out in a sit-down world by embracing fear and maximizing hustle.

15:30
Closing Remarks
Select date to see events.

Conference Chair:

Amy Cabe

Amy Cabe

Visit Spokane

Vice Chairs:

Sissy Lawty, CMP

Sissy Lawty, CMP

Travel Portland
Heather Walker

Heather Walker

Visit Dallas

Committee Members:

Name
Role
Company
Alisa Doyle
Committee Members

Atlantic City Convention & Group Sales

Amanda Swanstrom
Committee Members

Northern Quest Resort & Casino

April Montez
Committee Members

April Montez

Becca Cohen
Committee Members

Destination DC

Brenda J. Square, CMP, CTA
Committee Members

Visit San Antonio

Brenda Wasnok
Committee Members

Visit Anaheim

Casey Sickler
Committee Members

Atlantic City Convention & Group Sales

Chacara Harvin
Committee Members

Cabarrus County CVB

Christie Bravos
Committee Members

Visit Syracuse CVB

Daniela Rindler
Committee Members

The Jefferson Hotel

Dave Raymond
Committee Members

Westin Charlotte

Denise Reid
Committee Members

Hyatt Centric French Quarter

Fidel Mitchell
Committee Members

Arlington CVB

Gina Geisbauer
Committee Members

Visit Anaheim

Heather Huhn
Committee Members

Fort Worth CVB

Jamie Huckleberry
Committee Members

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Jerrine Lee
Committee Members

Richmond Region Tourism

Katy Willis
Committee Members

Visit Seattle

Nannette Eiland, CTA
Committee Members

Forth Worth CVB

Natalie Young
Committee Members

Visit Houston

Natalie Norris, CMP
Committee Members

Meetings and More Inc.

Rashanea Shakir
Committee Members

Visit San Antonio

Ronda Roe, CMP, CTA
Committee Members

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Rose Moreno
Committee Members

Visit Houston

Samantha Baldwin
Committee Members

Greater Birmingham CVB

Susan Breen
Committee Members

Bloomington CVB

Sydney Murrell
Committee Members

Bryan College Station CVB

Tamara Spude
Committee Members

Meet Minneapolis

Tessa Kalfell
Committee Members

Visit Seattle

Thomas Hutchinson
Committee Members

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Vanessa Kane
Committee Members

VFW

Yldefonso Sole
Committee Members

Dallas Convention Center

If you would like to be considered as a speaker or panelist, contact Sissy Lawty.

If you are interested in joining the planning committee for the 2019 Conference, email Lynn McCullough at ESPA Headquarters.

Registration & Earning Credits

Please note to receive Continuing Education (CE) Credits for attending sessions, you must pre-select all sessions during the registration process. Only sessions listed on the agenda with a CMP Credit noted will be eligible for CMP Credit. You may add/delete sessions prior to the conference. You will only receive CE Credits for those sessions you selected. Additionally, following the conference, your sessions will be listed in the My ESPA Portal under the "My ESPA" drop down on the "My Continuing Education" page and on the new Event Industry Council portal.

Registration Rates

The following are the ESPA Conference Individual registration fees: (Note: Members whose companies are Organizational members of ESPA, and who are registering 3+ people see below for group registration fees.)

  Advanced Rate (valid through November 10) General
Active ESPA Member (Includes Saturday Dinner) $695 $805
Active ESPA Member (Dinner Not Included) $665 $775
Non-Member (Includes Saturday Dinner) $755 $865
Non-Member (Dinner Not Included) $725 $825
One Day Member (Either Saturday OR Sunday; Dinner Not Included) (You may only register at this rate for one day) $299 $325
One Day Non-Member (Either Saturday OR Sunday; Dinner Not Included) (You may only register at this rate for one day) $325 $350
Student Rate (must provide proof of student status upon request) $250 $250

ESPA Organization Member registration fees:

Organization and Corporate Member group registrations fees are listed below. In order to register at the group registration fees, your company must be an Organization or Corporate Member of ESPA. Click here for the group registration form (group registration is not available online)

# of People attending from your company Advanced Total Rate (valid through November 10) General Total Rate
Includes Saturday Dinner  
3 people $2,055 $2,385
4 people $2,680 $3,120
5 people $3,300 $3,875
Dinner NOT Included  
3 people $1,962 $2,295
4 people $2,560 $3,000
5 people $3,150 $3,700

Day of PCMA is non-refundable, regardless of date of cancellation.

Conference registration cancellations received in writing by December 4, 2017 are eligible for a 50% refund on the ESPA Registration fee only. There are no refunds for cancellations received after this date.

PCMA - One Day Registration – In partnership with PCMA, ESPA attendees have the opportunity to participate in the opening reception and Monday programming for the PCMA Convening Leaders conference at the discounted registration rate of $275. Register for the PCMA One Day offer when you register for ESPA's Conference – just check the box on the ESPA online registration form. Day of PCMA registration is non-refundable. Your one-day registration includes attendance to the Sunday Welcome Reception and their Monday program. For the complete schedule of events, please visit http://conveningleaders.org.


Hotel rooms may not be available Sunday, January 7 and Monday, January 8. Please check availability before registering.


NOTE: Per PCMA policy, you must be a paid Day of PCMA registrant to attend the Sunday reception.

ESPA Optional Tours

Optional Tours: Three Nashville Tour Experiences offered Friday afternoon!

NOTE: Separate registration required. Register and pay for the two sightseeing tours directly through Destination Nashville’s online registration site, links are below. For the Music City Center tour, register on the ESPA Conference registration site, there is no fee for this tour.

This tour will take you through Nashville’s iconic music scene. This is a walking tour that will cover a broad area downtown, so be ready to log some good steps! We will depart from the hotel and do a walk by of the famous Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ol’ Opry. From there we will visit the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum. The world’s largest research center dedicated to a single form of American music, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum boasts dynamic state-of-the-art galleries, archival storage, education classrooms, retail stores, and special event spaces. Here guests can get an in-depth look at the people, places and instruments that have contributed to the development of country music. Officially authorized by the Estate of Johnny Cash, The Johnny Cash Museum features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. Our tour will conclude with a stop to shop! We’ll visit one of Nashville’s famous boot shops, where participants can try on boots. Remember, you’ll want some appropriate attire to wear to our Saturday night shindig! Fee: $78 plus tax Register with Destination Nashville
tour

On this tour you will see all of the major sights of this vibrant city. You will start downtown, then take a ride to SoBro, “South of Broad,” Germantown, West End, Music Row, and including a stop at Centennial Park, home of the Parthenon, the only full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens Greece. If you are looking for a tour that offers an overview of the entire city – this is your tour! Fee: $50 plus tax Register with Destination Nashville

The Music City Center is Nashville's convention center. Located in the heart of downtown, this 2.1 million square foot facility opened in 2013 and was built so that Nashville could host large, city-wide conventions in the downtown area. The Music City Center champions environmental sustainability and is LEED Gold certified for New Construction by the U.S. Green Building Council.

tour

Hotel & Travel

ESPA Host Hotel - Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown

The Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown is ideally located in the heart of Music City near many dining, shopping, and entertainment options. It is within walking distance of popular destinations in Nashville’s financial, historic, and entertainment districts. We’re just two blocks from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, three blocks from the Convention Center, and four blocks from the Predators’ Bridgestone Arena. Also nearby are Music City Center, Schermerhorn Symphony Hall, Ryman Auditorium, Ascend Amphitheater, and Nissan Stadium, the home of the Tennessee Titans.

The Library Bar is open for lunch and dinner daily and features over 55 varieties of bourbon. The hotel also offers a fitness center and an indoor pool.

ESPA Group rate: $182 Single / $202 Double. The cut –off date is December 4.

Click here to reserve your room.

The ESPA block on Sunday and Monday nights is currently sold out.   Due to high demand in the city, at this time the Sheraton is unable to add any more rooms to EPSA’s block on these nights. We have been in communication with PCMA and they are also unable to release any rooms to ESPA.  Saturday availability is still OK but is limited.  Thursday and Friday have no limitations at this time. Please book your Thursday – Saturday rooms immediately to ensure availability.  If you find no availability for your needed dates, nearby hotels within walking distance are:

Homewood Suites Downtown Nashville  

The Hermitage Hotel  

Doubletree Downtown Nashville  

Renaissance Nashville Hotel

Travel Information

The Nashville International Airport (BNA) is very convenient – only 10 miles from the hotel (a 15-25 minute ride). Taxis to the hotel are a flat $25 fare, plus gratuity. The hotel also offers 24-hour valet and self-parking for $35 to $39 a day. You can find the airport transportation options here. Additionally, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to locations in the downtown area.

Nashville & Travel Info

Nashville is known as Music City for a reason. Take a walk down Broadway and hear the music coming from all the honky tonks for a real feel of Nashville. The Nashville CVB website provides valuable information to help you experience the real Music City. From its very beginnings, Nashville grew from a foundation built on music. Music has been the common thread connecting the life and soul of the city and its people. And visitors have ventured here to experience the music that weaves such a fundamental pattern in its cultural, business and social fabric.

The most famous music venue in Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium, was built in 1892 when riverboat captain Tom Ryman completed was what originally named the ”Union Gospel Tabernacle.” When it opened it was the largest auditorium south of the Ohio River. It is nicknamed the “Carnegie Hall of the South” and attracts musicians and fans from all over the world.

If you’re a music lover, you will definitely want to visit the Honky Tonk Highway. A honky tonk is an establishment that contains at least one rockin' stage, cold beverages, and a party that lasts all day, every day. Nashville's Honky Tonk Highway, located on Lower Broadway, is a row of these venues pumping live music into the streets from 10am to 3am. One of the best parts: it doesn't cost a thing. Meaning no cover charge. This part of Nashville is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. There is plenty of free music to see in Nashville.

If you want more than just music, Nashville has a unique flavor to its culinary scene. Food Arts Magazine noted the "emerging culinary scene putting Nashville on the gastronomic radar" and, most recently, Condé Nast Traveler stated this about Music City: "There's enough going on food-wise to warrant a trip solely for eating".

Nashville also has plenty of Arts & Culture, its rich with historical sites; and where else can you get the authentic country look than some Nashville shopping !

Recognition Programs

Executive Excellence Award – Nominations due November 17

Is your manager committed to excellence in Convention Services?

Each year at the Annual Conference, ESPA recognizes an executive for his or her commitment and dedication to the profession of event service and to giving key support and leadership to members of their services team. As a member of ESPA, if you feel your organization has an executive who is a mentor, an ESPA supporter and convention services advocate, if he/she encourages your team’s professional development, submit your nomination!

Please fill out our online Nomination Form – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • Nominee supports staff participation in ESPA
  • Nominee must be an executive of an organization which has an ESPA member. Executive is defined as a VP or higher at a CVB; a member of the executive committee or GM at a hotel; or a VP, GM or Executive Director at a Convention Center.
  • Nominee personally and consistently supports quality assurance in the organization's convention services operations.
  • Nominee supports staff development, growth and continuing education


2016 Recipient: Linda Atkins, Austin CVB

Meeting Professional of the Year Award – Nominations due November 17

This award was designed to recognize the hard-working meeting professional who exhibits personal and professional characteristics that create an environment that focuses on team work, as well as shows support for the event services profession.

This is your chance to recognize a planner that represents the best of the best! Event Service Professionals know better than anyone when a planner is prepared, shows professionalism and is a great leader when producing an event or meeting. Why not recognize them for their dedication and hard work?

To submit a planner for consideration, please fill out our online Nomination Form

 – winners will be selected at the end of November and the winner is invited to attend and receive the award in person.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • You must have worked with meeting planner during the past year

  • Shows superior leadership and management qualities before, during and after the meeting

  • Recognizes the importance and supports the role of the CSM in the meeting planning process

2016 Recipient: Jeannette LeGault, Gen Con LLC

Annual William H. Just, CAE, CMP Memorial Award

Recent CMP recipients – Apply to attend the ESPA Annual Conference on a Scholarship!

Have you earned your CMP Designation within the last five years?

The Annual William H. Just CAE, CMP Memorial Award recognizes an ESPA member who has earned their CMP certification within the last five years and remains in good standing with the association. The award was established in honor of the late William H. Just, CAE, CMP who founded ACOM (now ESPA) in 1988. Just also played a key role in the establishment of the CMP program. Bill Just embodied valuable attributes including being a visionary, incorporating creativity, professionalism and leadership into his endeavors. This award recognizes these qualities in its recipients.

ESPA members can submit an application which includes an essay on how the CMP designation has been beneficial to them, why they decided to receive this certification and details on their industry and community involvement. The winner will receive a complimentary registration to the next ESPA Annual Conference which helps to support their CMP continuing education status.

Download the application – Due November 18