Butch Spyridon has served as president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation (NCVC) since 1991. Under his leadership, Nashville’s hospitality industry has evolved from an industry largely based on theme park and summer leisure travel, to a year-round destination for convention, business and leisure visitors. Hospitality’s evolution has made it the city’s second largest industry and elevated annual revenues to $4 billion.
Spyridon has guided the industry through many challenging times. In the early 1990s, Branson, Missouri’s budding music draw put an undo public relations pressure on Nashville, long-known has a haven for country music talent. Spyridon and the industry collaborated throughout the challenge by embracing the city’s diverse music community and growing its profile as a meeting destination.
In the decade following, Spyridon would lead the industry through the closing of Nashville’s famed Opryland theme park, a devastating downtown tornado, and the national tragedy of 9-11. With each challenge, Spyridon and the industry seized the opportunity to assess, examine, and plan ahead for growth. And with each challenge Nashville emerged as a better destination and recovered quicker than its peer markets.
That planning prompted Spyridon and the NCVC to develop new and innovative marketing strategies to grow sales, including establishing city-wide events like Nashville’s July 4th and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Spyridon also worked within the community to transform signature events, such as the CMA Music Festival, making them more appealing to a wider audience and increasing their capacity to host more visitors.
In 2006, Spyridon spearheaded Nashville’s first-ever, city-wide branding initiative to grow the image of Nashville as Music City. In support of the initiative, Spyridon and the NCVC created “Heroes Behind the Hits,” a monthly show on Sirius XM Radio featuring Nashville songwriters, established the Music City Walk of Fame, and developed a multi-faceted Live Music Venue campaign. Initiatives such as these have helped to keep Nashvillein the top 25 hotel markets nationwide.
Spyridon most recently championed the construction of the Music City Center, new downtown convention center and headquarter hotel. The $585 million facility and adjacent Omni Hotel are scheduled to open in 2013.
Throughout his career Spyridon has served on the boards of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). He’s also been active in the local community, serving on the boards of the Adventure Science Center, Nashville Hotel and Lodging Association, the Downtown Partnership, the Music City Bowl, the Museum of African American Music Art and Culture, and Conservancy of the Parthenon and Centennial Park.
Spyridon’s achievements have garnered numerous awards and accolades including Nashville Sales Executive of the Year Award, the President’s Award from Meeting Professionals International, and the Stephen Foster Award from Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Community Leader Award from the Tennessee MPI Chapter.
A native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Spyridon graduated fromVanderbilt University with a B.A. in Business Administration. After serving as manager of Travel and Conventions Department at the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, and as Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Spyridon returned toNashville where he has served as CEO for the last 20 years.
Spyridon is a graduate of the Institute of Comparative Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University.