Nashville campaign helps businesses find safe, healthy ways to get back to work

By KATE COIL
TML Communications Specialist

Nashville officials want tourists to know that the city is “good to go” in light of the coronavirus pandemic, encouraging visitors to safely enjoy what the city has to offer as part of a new tourism campaign.
The “Good to Go” campaign is centered around safely bringing shoppers, diners, and visitors back to the city. Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation CEO Butch Spyridon said his organization is partnering with Vanderbilt Health and Ryman Hospitality Services to show that visitors can safely enjoy all Nashville has to offer.
“People are looking for a safe environment. On any given day, we have less revenue than most of our competition,” Spyridon said. “So, in light of this, we have to be better funded and better prepared because it’s going to be an arms race between Vegas and Disney and some of those markets.”
Part of the campaign asks businesses to be more stringent in their precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They have also been encouraged to display a green music note – a symbol of the initiative – at their location and on their websites.
Vanderbilt medical experts will be working with businesses on safe opening procedures while the Convention and Visitor’s Corp will work to create community awareness. Both entities will work to spread the message through a variety of media both locally and nationally.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center CEO Jeff Balser said the overall message is one that Nashville is reopening with the safety of its visitors and business community in mind.
“Nashville has carefully managed many of the issues that have disproportionately impacted other major cities,” Balser said. “Our success has been possible through creative problem solving by leaders from government and major industries who have joined together around a shared vision for how best to help the city get safely back to business. ‘Good to Go’ will ensure that informational tools and best practices are readily available for businesses working to keep their employees and customers safe. Vanderbilt Health is proud to play a leadership role in this effort.”
Deana Ivey, executive vice president and senior vice president of marketing for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp, said the idea for the Good to Go campaign began out of travel research indicating that 73% of consumers said they wouldn’t be returning to patronize businesses unless they could be assured those businesses were operating in a safe and healthy manner.
“We knew that in order to get back into business we have to have our house in order, and we have to show both our businesses and our customers that we care about them and their safety,” Ivey said. “We started brainstorming on this program. Vanderbilt Health has done so much in the field of COVID-19 and were one of the first to jump on testing and researching a vaccine. We are so fortunate they are in our backyard. We partnered with them, and it has turned out even better than we expected. Vanderbilt offering their expert advice to the businesses in our community is just unbelievable. People can email the leading infectious disease doctors and get a response right away.”
So far, Ivey said more than 450 businesses in Nashville have made the “Good to Go” pledge and 90% of those have already gone through online training. Ivey said the businesses participating in the program range from retail and restaurants to law firms, banks, real estate agencies, and live music videos.
Once online training is complete, the Nashville Convention and Visitor Corps sends those businesses a toolkit featuring additional training videos, signage, and other recommendations. Some of the training resources were developed by Ryman Hospitality Services for their own employees who offered to share their resources with other businesses in the Nashville community. Videos include everything from information on proper sanitation techniques to how to take employee and customer temperatures properly.
“It’s free and you can learn things from it to make sure you are ready when you’re opening,” Ivey said. “One of the big benefits of the program is keeping businesses updated on what is changing and what those changes mean. We just want to streamline the information and make it easier for them to digest. People want to make sure they are doing the right thing and taking things seriously. We are hoping we make things easier for our businesses to adhere to the CDC guidelines and the Metro Nashville Health guidelines. We hope the customers see that we care as a community and a city and that these individual businesses are taking things seriously.”
When the training sessions are complete, businesses can then show off to their customers that they have made the effort to stay safe.
“Once people have signed the pledge and go through the training, they get their green music note decal they can put on their door,” Ivey said. “That is a way for customers to know they have gone through that training. We often use the red music note as branding for music city and we decided to use the green music for this because it means ‘go.’ We wanted to say that Nashville is good to go and these businesses are good to go.”
Ivey said the response to the program has been massive.
“The businesses are really appreciative from the small businesses even to the bigger businesses with more resources,” she said. “They like that we are giving easy to digest information that can be applied to their company. We have gotten a lot of thank you notes. The ‘ask the expert’ advice has really been a good benefit.”