Chamber officials say Gaylord won't renew membership

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 7:34pm

Gaylord CEO Colin Reed has sent a letter to Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce officials expressing “concern” about the value the company is getting from the organization, and chamber leaders are interpreting that as notice that the entertainment giant doesn’t intend to renew its membership.

The development comes less than a week before the Metro Council is scheduled to vote on funding for a new convention center that would compete with Gaylord Opryland.
 
“We have been notified that Gaylord does not intend to renew their membership,” chamber public relations manager Stephanie Pepper told The City Paper.
 
Gaylord spokesman Tom Ingram characterized that assessment as premature, saying that the publicly held company so far has simply failed to pay its annual $20,000 membership dues. Ingram said the bill’s arrival last week led Gaylord CEO Colin Reed to send a letter to chamber president Ralph Schulz, expressing “concern about the value that they [Gaylord] are getting from their chamber membership.”
 
Gaylord –– which manages the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center –– is a presumed opponent of the proposed $585 million convention center, having donated $8,500 to Nashville’s Priorities, a citizen-led group lobbying to defeat the project. In fact, the contribution led vocal convention center proponent and local restaurateur Randy Rayburn to characterize Reed during a recent public forum as the “Oz of Nashville.”

Meanwhile, Schulz, who could not be reached for this story, is one of the project’s leading supporters.
 
Ingram said the membership kerfuffle is unrelated to the proposed Music City Center, which he insisted Gaylord doesn’t oppose because it doesn’t include a publicly financed hotel.

Finally, Ingram said that Schulz had extended an invitation to meet with Reed but that the two men haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so.
 

17 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 1/13/10 at 8:50

I have nothing but admiration for Gaylord. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce is a narrow short sighted group of people who have only the interests of a few people at their center.

By: dogmrb on 1/13/10 at 11:23

I like you name.

By: dogmrb on 1/13/10 at 11:26

Sorry, "your" but the name does make me think of foie gras and pate.

By: TITAN1 on 1/14/10 at 5:33

Whether he uses richgoose or frank brown it is still the same negative comments and sarcasm. Oh, and he will still always look at the glass half empty.

By: Kosh III on 1/14/10 at 8:15

What's to admire about Gaylord?
That they take millions in taxpayer welfare checks?
That Gaylord destroyed Opryland and did severe damage to out tourist industry?

By: artsmart on 1/14/10 at 8:20

Unfortunately I find that a lot of the moves made by Gov here in TN are very short sighted. But that must work be they keep getting elected. The MCC, this new education plan that Bredesen is pushing through as fast as he can and even the bunker. I would have thought somehow people would have worked up front with Gaylord all along to make this a win win. Don't get me wrong I do not think Gaylord is the best of civic partners but it appears a case of I can win your going to lose so there. It reminds me of the days working for builders, in the good times they muscle customers over stupid stuff just prove that they can. When the economy trends down and people refuse to do business with them they can't understand why. Sometimes you do the right thing because it is the right thing not because you have to.

By: Walter Sobchak on 1/14/10 at 8:36

Gaylord currently has a monopoly on larger conventions in this town. They don't want to give that up. Their facility is totally useless to the citizens of Nashville and actually hurts our efforts to grow our core. Too many tourist never see anything outside the walls of redneck Disneyland and never have the opportunity to spend money in our city. Screw Gaylord.

By: JeffF on 1/14/10 at 10:01

I am curious as to how a convention center downtown would be any less useless to the citizens of Nashville. Too many tourists will never see the real Nashville, they will simply be stuck in downtown Honky Tonk hell without every seeing and experiencing the neighborhoods where 98% of Nashvillians live.

I am curious though, since Donelson and Gaylord are in fact part of Nashville, how is a dollar spent there not being spent "in our city"? They sounds more like jealous bitterness from a person who has something to sell but isn't smart enough to find customers really wanting to buy it. It isn't a convention center you want, you want the government to fence the tourists into downtown (not using your own money to do it) so they have no other choice but to buy from you. That is an awful lot to ask from government and the people they are supposed to represent.

It sounds an awful lot like there are some people in the meeting planning industry (the people I have previously identified as glorified junior league party planners with literature degrees, and failed journalists) who are mad that Gaylord will not let them work on meetings there. Does Gaylord have a staff that already does this?

By: TITAN1 on 1/14/10 at 11:05

Honky Tonk hell? I think many tourists like the Honky Tonks and don't consider them hell. Why would they want to see the neighborhoods?

By: Walter Sobchak on 1/14/10 at 11:12

"you want the government to fence the tourists into downtown (not using your own money to do it) so they have no other choice but to buy from you." by JeffF

Ha! What a laugh. This is EXACTLY what Gaylord does.

By: Walter Sobchak on 1/14/10 at 11:19

"I am curious as to how a convention center downtown would be any less useless to the citizens of Nashville. Too many tourists will never see the real Nashville, they will simply be stuck in downtown Honky Tonk hell without every seeing and experiencing the neighborhoods where 98% of Nashvillians live." By JeffF

Well Jeff, many citizens of this city own businesses that would benefit directly from a downtown CC. I guess Gaylord and that stretch of Donelson between the hotel and Opry Mills is "The Real Nashville?" What a crock.

Ask restaurant and business owners in Hillsboro village, midtown and West End ave if they're more likely to see conventioners from Gaylord or a Downtown Center. Gaylord conventioners have no idea that these parts of town even exist.

By: producer2 on 1/14/10 at 11:28

JeffF,
A large percentage of the leads and closed closed business at Gaylord comes from the assistance of the Nashville CVB. That is their job to provide leads and assistance to all hotel properties. Every hotel also has a locla and National sales force. The City would do well with both entities playing nice in the sand box. Gaylord has a proven track record with corporate business and a downtown facility would attract more of the Association type business. This is not news to any of us "glorified junior league party planners" and it is not news to Gaylord. Walter is correct about one thing, the only time Gaylord wants anyone downtown is when they bus them to the Wildhorse. I don't blame them, its business but there is plenty to go around. The real issue is many of the suits at Gaylord aren't happy about competition. Would you be if you didn't have to work as hard for your supper. They will all be fine in time just like they are in every other city they have a property. All of which have major convention centers.

By: producer2 on 1/14/10 at 11:31

Oh lord, I suspect we will now be besieged with every story from Tupelo to Topeka regarding the slowness of the Convention Industry. Yes we are in a recession, we all get it.....

By: JeffF on 1/14/10 at 11:52

What year did that convention recession begin Producer. Most figures point toward 1998 as the last year of growth in the industry. 12 years later can we still call that a "recession?"

By: Walter Sobchak on 1/14/10 at 12:10

Jeff

You seem a bit disoriented and confused today. Your arguments are uncharacteristically nebulous. I guess scripted responses and roll playing can become tiresome even when you are being paid to do these things.

By: producer2 on 1/14/10 at 12:46

Walter,
He is local legend now. He was called out (using hi other pseudonym Moost of course) in an article today. Not really flattering but recognized none the less...

By: govskeptic on 1/15/10 at 6:38

So approx 30 downtown businesses get their ONE Billion dollar Pink
Elephant! Sounds fair to the rest of the 600,000 co-signers to these
bonds. All based on HVS study that worth about as much as a bucket
spit! The "Brand" will have it's monument.