Graceland is an iconic stop for Elvis fans the world over
During our BankTravel event at Graceland on February 7, Memphis CVB president Kevin Kane told me that he personally escorts rock and roll dignitaries to this mecca for musicians. For instance, he brought Elvis Costello over here and said that Costello removed his hat and sunglasses when he approached Presley's grave and bowed his head in reverence for a few moments. It's that kind of place.
Kane and all his associates from the convention bureau outdid themselves for our prestigious group of bank travel industry members. Not only did more than 175 bankers attend, but more than three dozen major tour operators as well. Banks have become such a qualified source of business for these tour companies that not only do they attend, but many sponsor events or seminars in order to highlight their services to this group.
At Graceland, we enjoyed Corky's barbecue, rock and roll music from Memphis native Andy Childs and his band, lots of beverages including a wonderful setup at Presley's automobile museum across the street, and, of course, home tours of Graceland itself. I made it up to the home late in the evening and one of our tour guides told me they'd already had more than 350 delegates tour the house. As it turned out, well over 400 made the pilgrimage to Presley's beloved residence. And I don't know how many delegates I saw buying Elvis merchandise in the gift shops.
As I told attendees during our remarks that evening, Memphis is one of America's iconic cities. When you hit this town, you can feel the spirits of musicians and sharecroppers, bluesmen and barge workers. This is a blue collar town with a blue-blooded geneology. Any town that inspires Paul Simon's best work and calls Al Green back to the pulpit, has earned the right to be the King's final resting place.
Kudos to Memphis and all their partners and a special shout out to Lisa Catron, who personally oversaw much of the host city's very special attention to our group.
Lisa Catron, left, was key to the success of the event in Memphis
More than 400 delegates took the time to tour Presley's beloved Graceland
Presley's grave is onsite and draws rock and roll dignitaries each year
Andy Childs, a Memphis native, brought his band and played for an appreciative crowd at the event