On some weeks, Nashville hotel prices are comparable to New York City — a surprise to travelers and a worry for local tourism promoters. But as the hotel landscape changes, there’s a chance those rates could come down.
Last year, Hotels.com reported Nashville’s room rates jumped more than any other city, making it the 14th-most-expensive.
So plenty of tourists are spending in the $300 to $500 dollar range to stay in the heart of the action.
“The rates? They’re a little steep,” tourist Donna LeSchander said in a recent interview outside the Country Music Hall of Fame.
From the steps of the hall, LeSchander could see her Hilton hotel room window across the street. In town for a 20th wedding anniversary with husband Gabe Hakvaag, they loved the location.
“I would say it’s comparable to Manhattan. I’ll pay anywhere from $225 a night to $350 a night,” Hakvaag said, before turning to his wife. “Are there lower budget options? If we were young and didn’t care, could we stay some place for $150 a night?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, “I didn’t look.”
At least downtown, $150 a night isn’t likely. But they didn’t have complaints about the quality of their stay.
And that’s the question —whether the price matches the quality — that concerns Terry Clements, vice president of government and community relations with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.
He knows of potential tourists who were “appalled” by prices and decided to go elsewhere.
“It is beyond the pale that one of our hotels, a limited-service hotel, is charging more than the Waldorf Astoria hotel,” he said at a recent Metro Planning Commission meeting.
Clements was at the meeting to support a proposed 40-story tower that would include a five-star hotel. He delivered a counterintuitive idea: entice a few high-priced, five-star hotels to open, and they will force other basic places to lower their rates.
“The thing that will solve our hotel price imbalance soonest is the supply of the right quality rooms at the right location,” he said.
As it stands, 2,000 rooms are under construction — mostly with full amenities. And another 7,000 rooms are proposed after that, according to data from Smith Travel Research, as provided by the CVC.
But for now, the big city comparisons, and prices, are likely to linger.