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Thread: Omni Hotel

  1. #151

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by hoyasooner View Post
    mkjeeves is about one post away from being on my ignore list.
    About? Stop right there:

    Meat Loaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light - YouTube

    <insert smiley of your choice>

  2. #152

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by betts View Post
    First of all, Sanders is a showman. He too talks a good game but he's lazy. He finds enough data to support his claims, but he generalizes and his beliefs are based on a very clear bias I've found in his papers.

    Having spent a bunch of time researching this, I can tell you that the "lies" spewed here are pretty much comparable to those spewed by every city. And, having gone to a bunch of these meetings and presentations, I don't think the city is deliberately spewing lies. I think consultants are exaggerating and the figures they produce sound so good that people want to believe them. When you want to believe something and you're not in the habit of thinking critically, then you're going to swallow all their numbers. No one is being malicious here. The Chamber really has no reason to want the city to spend $250 million on a building that doesn't help the city, nor do city officials. Where Sanders is really wrong is when he gets political and tries to imply that all downtown development occurs because a few rich people want to keep their property values up. That's a lie as well. He's making very gross generalizations likely based on his experience in one city or his worldview.

    Does anyone truly think most of the people involved in city government and the Chamber don't love Oklahoma City and want to see it succeed? I don't and unlike most of the fear mongers talking about the "plutocrats", I've taken the time to go to these meetings and really listened to people. They absolutely want the best for OKC. Do we all differ sometimes in what we think is the best? Definitely.

    But, if they publish figures that can be refuted or at least the refutation is believable to people, then they risk losing something that I agree the city needs. That's why I think they should sell civic pride. Look how much economic development has occurred as a result of that civic pride and our willingness to improve our city. Maybe we'll increase our business by a third. That would not be a bad thing. I suspect that Sanders is at least partially wrong. He's certainly made some assumptions about OKC as a destination that can be fixed with better promotion of our city as it improves. I'm not done researching, but I think a lot of these convention centers are financed, not pre-paid. That makes a big difference in costs. So, OKC, drop the hyperbole and sell civic pride. By so doing you pull the rug out from the Shadids of the world and their "plutocrat paranoia".
    Betts:

    Attacking Dr. Sanders isn't the way to go. He's an expert and as an academic he is required to at least construe logically sound sentences unlike most people, and I don't hear logically sound sentence construction too often these days so that goes a long ways with me. When did he say that public investments are a conspiracy to inflate downtown property values? He might have been speaking specifically to cities in Texas where property valuations are very political and designed to aid in land speculation but not development.

    As for spewing lies...it's pretty evident that the study is being hidden and that is cause for concern. And you're absolutely right that nothing here stands out from the process that unfolded in other cities - the problem is none of those other cities have been particularly successful, so why should we be successful? I can tell you that pre-paying is unique, it will absolve us of some financial liabilities here, but it doesn't necessarily help us. We are paying for a 2020 product with 2010 dollars so let's just say that the time value finance calculation doesn't look too smart there.

    As for the Chamber, I know first hand how much the junta loves their city. The thing is they aren't always the sharpest tool in the economic development shed.

  3. #153

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by mkjeeves View Post
    No subsidy of any kind on a hotel. There's no evident reason to do that. If we need it, the private sector can step up. We've already spent millions to attract business and redevelop downtown. Let that money do the work we were told it would do.

    As far as CC numbers be damned and spend it all anyway on a bauble, I'd rather take another look at rehabbing the Cox center than do that. Put the rest back in the taxpayers pocket and for something else we need. Maps for Suburbs would be a good place. Buying (another) $1000 doormat for a house with the back porch falling off is irresponsible.

    That spend it while we have it attitude reminds me of a sign my father used to have on his office wall, "Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anyone. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on someone."

    Calvin Coolidge
    The reality is that if you commit to rehabilitating the Cox it may actually cost more and the end game may be less desirable. That is a 50 year old structure in reality and is almost becoming a question of historic preservation, and I assure you that no preservationists want to do anything with an ugly superblock structure that leveled almost a hundred historic buildings. You need to think bigger than you are now and see the big picture.

  4. #154

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    There are actually strategic reasons for the hotel to have some public investment, which have not been discussed much publicly. They specifically go to the ability to book events at the convention center. One current problem has to do with the high occupancy AND 100% private ownership of downtown hotels; the CVB has a difficult time offering large blocks of contiguous rooms and deep discounts, which are standard when pursuing conventions.

    Currently occupancy runs very high - 80% plus nightly - which is extraordinarily high in that industry, and hotels can get close to rack rate nearly every night without expending much effort. Additionally, the current agreement the City has with JQH/Renaissance at times places them into a weird competitive position on meeting space rental.

    Right now we are actually a surprisingly appealing conference/convention destination (and have been for more than a decade) despite what some posters - even pro-CC posters - think. This is due primarily to our central location AND our walkable proximity to hotels and appealing dining and entertainment options. I personally see CVB-hosted site visits very regularly, and speak with convention planners, who are generally blown away by what they find here. Attractions, shopping or lack thereof really have little to do with bookings, despite conversations I see on here.

    The LOCATION of the Cox Center sells this city as a convention destination, and the CVB has for years been competing on events that it really should have not been able to compete on with such an inadequate facility. It's one of the reasons the SITE of the new center is more important than perhaps any other MAPS 3 project; what makes us competitive is how walkable we are as a convention location (ironic for OKC). Where we normally end up losing is on our inability to procure adequate rooms at deeply-discounted convention rates.

    If the City has at least SOME investment or ownership position in the new hotel, they can dictate some of the terms in circumstances like these, and our convention bookings WILL improve dramatically. In other words, City involvement is DESIRABLE. You can believe me or not, but understand that I work very closely with CVB staff and talk with at least one or two people a week there, and have for more than a dozen years.

    The convention center itself - combined with the need to set it up for success rather than failure - is not a pet project of some rich guy (which by the way is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard on here). It is a critical component of a successful city and especially a successful downtown. It isn't sexy or fun to talk/think about, and it doesn't SEEM to most people that it will affect their lives one way or another, but it IS important.
    This is actually quintessential to this discussion. Just to build off what you said which is spot-on, convention planners look at bids for their conference and will hesitate if their rooms are split up. Most convention planners have learned that splitting up the conference leads to trouble. In fact it almost seems like the hotel is actually the more important component than the convention center.

    The problem though is that when there isn't a convention booking these rooms are always the ones you hear about for $40/night on Priceline. This is very common. The St. Louis CC was a fiasco that is still being sorted out after years of losses and went into foreclosure even.

    http://www.conventionhotelbondholders.com/

    We all agree that we're against a full subsidy. I hope we all agree that they want us to pay for a Phase 2 (and they'll probably hold transit hostage in order to logroll it again) because it was indeed implied. As for parking it won't be anything near $50 million and it will be provided by COTPA just like how they build another garage, and it can probably serve a lot of day passes, too.

    The real trick is this subsidy and that we are going $250M in on an investment when we have no idea how much the CC hotel will cost in subsidy and how much the Phase 2 expansion will cost. I have heard a partial subsidy may involve bonding $50M. Never mind the pressure to produce attendance projections because that will probably be a mixture of retention and attraction.

    I say retention with regards to the notion of quitting the convention business altogether because that was brought up as a ludicrous idea. It's actually not that crazy at all and is a measure being taken by some cities. The reality is that either we do all this, including the hotel and throw in the car wash, or we quit the convention business.

  5. #155

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    This is actually quintessential to this discussion. Just to build off what you said which is spot-on, convention planners look at bids for their conference and will hesitate if their rooms are split up. Most convention planners have learned that splitting up the conference leads to trouble. In fact it almost seems like the hotel is actually the more important component than the convention center.

    The problem though is that when there isn't a convention booking these rooms are always the ones you hear about for $40/night on Priceline. This is very common. The St. Louis CC was a fiasco that is still being sorted out after years of losses and went into foreclosure even.

    Convention Hotel Bond Holders

    We all agree that we're against a full subsidy. I hope we all agree that they want us to pay for a Phase 2 (and they'll probably hold transit hostage in order to logroll it again) because it was indeed implied. As for parking it won't be anything near $50 million and it will be provided by COTPA just like how they build another garage, and it can probably serve a lot of day passes, too.

    The real trick is this subsidy and that we are going $250M in on an investment when we have no idea how much the CC hotel will cost in subsidy and how much the Phase 2 expansion will cost. I have heard a partial subsidy may involve bonding $50M. Never mind the pressure to produce attendance projections because that will probably be a mixture of retention and attraction.

    I say retention with regards to the notion of quitting the convention business altogether because that was brought up as a ludicrous idea. It's actually not that crazy at all and is a measure being taken by some cities. The reality is that either we do all this, including the hotel and throw in the car wash, or we quit the convention business.
    The St. Louis fiasco is probably the worst example anyone can find. I've read a few reasons for it, (although I can't spout them from memory) that had to do with some poor planning of convention space. And, I believe it went belly up in 2008, which was not a good time for anybody.

    Perhaps quitting the convention business should be in the discussion. However, as I've said, we don't necessarily need the American Academy of Psychiatry to book a convention here, which won't happen, to have a successful convention center. There is something to be said for the value of a city that is the most important one in Oklahoma offering a site for state and regional meetings. If you live in Poteau, coming to Oklahoma City is exciting. You still pay for your hotel, still eat at restaurants and probably shop a bit. Experiences like that help cement Oklahoma City as the heartbeat of the state in people's minds. I think it's almost as important to be proud of your capital city as it is to be proud of your home city. And, I think we all have to admit that Oklahoma City has a lot more to offer visitors than it did 10 years ago. If we would go ahead and finish the Native American Cultural Center we'd have an important draw downtown, not to mention river activities, the Myriad Gardens, the new central park, our museums (hoping Oklahoma Contemporary breaks ground soon), the Thunder, the Barons, the Redhawks, some really top notch interesting local restaurants and some retail. I'll put Plenty up against almost any store in any city for shopping entertainment. In a few years we'll have a streetcar connecting much of this. So, I think OKC is becoming more appealing. I'm not sure it's the right time to get out of the convention business. What I do wish is that it were easier to tease out precisely what visitors to our convention center currently bring to OKC in terms of revenue and if we really could book bigger or more conventions if we expanded. I suspect, within reason, the answer is yes. I think the data we've been given is overblown, but I'm not sure it's completely wrong. And, I think almost everyone would agree that it's a huge mistake for the city to get into the hotel business. But, as has been pointed out, we've subsidized other businesses and hotels in OKC. If a CC hotel would either truly allow us to book some conventions we are currently not getting (as I believe Urbanized suggested), it offers needed hotel rooms at a particular price point or location and we could generate increased hotel and restaurant taxes, sales taxes, etc, then some sort of subsidy should not be out of the question. The amount or type of subsidy is a better question, to me, than whether we should absolutely or absolutely not subsidize a hotel.

  6. #156

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by betts View Post
    The St. Louis fiasco is probably the worst example anyone can find. I've read a few reasons for it, (although I can't spout them from memory) that had to do with some poor planning of convention space. And, I believe it went belly up in 2008, which was not a good time for anybody.

    Perhaps quitting the convention business should be in the discussion. However, as I've said, we don't necessarily need the American Academy of Psychiatry to book a convention here, which won't happen, to have a successful convention center. There is something to be said for the value of a city that is the most important one in Oklahoma offering a site for state and regional meetings. If you live in Poteau, coming to Oklahoma City is exciting. You still pay for your hotel, still eat at restaurants and probably shop a bit. Experiences like that help cement Oklahoma City as the heartbeat of the state in people's minds. I think it's almost as important to be proud of your capital city as it is to be proud of your home city. And, I think we all have to admit that Oklahoma City has a lot more to offer visitors than it did 10 years ago. If we would go ahead and finish the Native American Cultural Center we'd have an important draw downtown, not to mention river activities, the Myriad Gardens, the new central park, our museums (hoping Oklahoma Contemporary breaks ground soon), the Thunder, the Barons, the Redhawks, some really top notch interesting local restaurants and some retail. I'll put Plenty up against almost any store in any city for shopping entertainment. In a few years we'll have a streetcar connecting much of this. So, I think OKC is becoming more appealing. I'm not sure it's the right time to get out of the convention business. What I do wish is that it were easier to tease out precisely what visitors to our convention center currently bring to OKC in terms of revenue and if we really could book bigger or more conventions if we expanded. I suspect, within reason, the answer is yes. I think the data we've been given is overblown, but I'm not sure it's completely wrong. And, I think almost everyone would agree that it's a huge mistake for the city to get into the hotel business. But, as has been pointed out, we've subsidized other businesses and hotels in OKC. If a CC hotel would either truly allow us to book some conventions we are currently not getting (as I believe Urbanized suggested), it offers needed hotel rooms at a particular price point or location and we could generate increased hotel and restaurant taxes, sales taxes, etc, then some sort of subsidy should not be out of the question. The amount or type of subsidy is a better question, to me, than whether we should absolutely or absolutely not subsidize a hotel.
    So, some data that can back this up is that OKC's Convention favorability ratings have gone from around 1.9 to 2.4 in the last ten years, which Sanders even showed but didn't discuss. It's rare for cities to make that much progress. Orlando has the highest around 4, although I've had negative convention experiences there myself, so who knows.

    Btw St Louis is one of the finest cities in America, and talk about a central location. I would venture a guess that they are losing convention attendance bc their airport lost flights. Compare a chart of passenger traffic at DFW to STL over the last ten years and you'll notice an interesting trend since American Airlines bought Trans World Airlines. That's what happened to STL. How do WE expect to attract conventions without any direct flights? Let's just say I'm getting really good at navigating ORD and DFW...

  7. #157

    Default Re: Convention Hotel


    "Itís a booming time for convention center construction and renovation throughout the country. From Houston and Oklahoma City to Nashville and San Diego, there are at least a dozen major convention center projects currently under way."--



    Bottom line, do we build what was promised in the MAPS III referendum? There will always be conventions & meetings which will require the use of what we are proposing to build. Leave the Cox Convention alone for now because we have no idea if we are going to need that facility or land for future development. Who knows what kind of facility we are going to need to keep and maintain having an NBA franchise here?--

    "Inferior facilities
    OKC has convention space that is inadequate to draw major events, according to Mike Carrier, president of the OKC Convention and Visitor Bureau.

    While acknowledging that OKCís current convention facilities are not booked to capacity, Carrier said itís because convention planners have better options in other cities."



    These were some of the same things being said about the Myriad Convention Center Arena; we're not exceeding its current capacity. Let's face it, convention planners will have better options in other cities.

    "Oklahoma City looks oh-so pretty... ...as I get my kicks on Route 66." --Nat King Cole.

  8. #158

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Great endorsement there of what we DO have by Mike Carrier... That's what you call open sabotage

  9. #159

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    This is actually quintessential to this discussion. Just to build off what you said which is spot-on, convention planners look at bids for their conference and will hesitate if their rooms are split up. Most convention planners have learned that splitting up the conference leads to trouble. In fact it almost seems like the hotel is actually the more important component than the convention center.

    The problem though is that when there isn't a convention booking these rooms are always the ones you hear about for $40/night on Priceline. This is very common. The St. Louis CC was a fiasco that is still being sorted out after years of losses and went into foreclosure even.

    Convention Hotel Bond Holders

    We all agree that we're against a full subsidy. I hope we all agree that they want us to pay for a Phase 2 (and they'll probably hold transit hostage in order to logroll it again) because it was indeed implied. As for parking it won't be anything near $50 million and it will be provided by COTPA just like how they build another garage, and it can probably serve a lot of day passes, too.

    The real trick is this subsidy and that we are going $250M in on an investment when we have no idea how much the CC hotel will cost in subsidy and how much the Phase 2 expansion will cost. I have heard a partial subsidy may involve bonding $50M. Never mind the pressure to produce attendance projections because that will probably be a mixture of retention and attraction.

    I say retention with regards to the notion of quitting the convention business altogether because that was brought up as a ludicrous idea. It's actually not that crazy at all and is a measure being taken by some cities. The reality is that either we do all this, including the hotel and throw in the car wash, or we quit the convention business.
    Not a bad post. But I would argue that if we are able to attract a top-flight hotel brand (no effing Radisson's for example), then we will never see $40 a night bookings. Frankly, Sanders comes across like a complete idiot with that argument. And it is an idiotic argument. Spartan, you're smarter than to buy that crap. Sanders proves he has zero understanding of the dynamics of OKC's hotel market right now, and did no research on OKC's unique situation, prior to his boilerplate anti-convention center presentation (he may have changed a couple of slides in the PowerPoint). Right now my boss is forced to pay $150 a night plus tax to stay at Hampton Inn.

    Think about it. You're a business traveler and you have certain expectations, like 24-hour room service, etc. You're going to stay at the top-end hotel that offers the most amenities.

    I doubt the city will agree to more than $25 million in subsidy. I can imagine them providing land, helping them with parking, and maybe offering some guarantees for lodging capacity (and possibly a tax abatement) that expires over a period of years. Knowing the idiots in Shadid's camp, this would be characterized as being "on the hook."

    To add to my comments: if we cannot guarantee a serious, top-end hotel brand, I am completely against any public subsidy. Go big or go home OKC.

  10. #160

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerguru View Post
    Not a bad post. But I would argue that if we are able to attract a top-flight hotel brand (no effing Radisson's for example), then we will never see $40 a night bookings. Frankly, Sanders comes across like a complete idiot with that argument. And it is an idiotic argument. Spartan, you're smarter than to buy that crap. Sanders proves he has zero understanding of the dynamics of OKC's hotel market right now, and did no research on OKC's unique situation, prior to his boilerplate anti-convention center presentation (he may have changed a couple of slides in the PowerPoint). Right now my boss is forced to pay $150 a night plus tax to stay at Hampton Inn.

    Think about it. You're a business traveler and you have certain expectations, like 24-hour room service, etc. You're going to stay at the top-end hotel that offers the most amenities.

    I doubt the city will agree to more than $25 million in subsidy. I can imagine them providing land, helping them with parking, and maybe offering some guarantees for lodging capacity (and possibly a tax abatement) that expires over a period of years. Knowing the idiots in Shadid's camp, this would be characterized as being "on the hook."

    To add to my comments: if we cannot guarantee a serious, top-end hotel brand, I am completely against any public subsidy. Go big or go home OKC.
    The pay to play with the top brands is certainly a lot higher than $25M resembling just land assembly, parking, and an attendance guaranty. How this goes down is that the city will issue an RFP and each bid will list the subsidy requested by each hotel operator. This format, which is the national standard for CC hotel development, puts the hotel in the driver's seat during negotiations.

    As for $40 nights I'm not saying that it will happen every night there isn't a coinciding convention booking but it will occur a handful of nights a year and the taxpayers will be paying the operator, under such a model that you suggested, for rooms not booked as well as bookings when occupancy dips below a certain level (maybe 70% who knows). You're certainly right that the strong downtown hotel market is one detail Sanders neglected to consider here.

    I'm not basing my cautionary argument on this examples I'm just extrapolating what we're really talking about here just so that you all have some details to go off of. The only complaint I have is that this process steers clear of real details until it's an up or down vote on making a deal.

  11. #161

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Drawing a couple of thoughts posted here together with what HS said in the worst case issues. Urbanized mentioned it was good for the CC sellers to able to attach blocks of rooms to CC deals. HS mentioned some centers end up having to not only give their CC space away but sometimes write out actual checks to get space in CC booked. I think we can draw our on conclusions what could happen when the sellers have to give the CC space away, write out a check and have control over room pricing.

    Worst case.

    Of course, that could never happen here. We're special and WE AREN'T FUNDING A HOTEL!

  12. #162

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    When LA writes a $20k check for a convention they do that bc they will make it up w room bookings...the question is what that rate is.

  13. #163

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    The pay to play with the top brands is certainly a lot higher than $25M resembling just land assembly, parking, and an attendance guaranty. How this goes down is that the city will issue an RFP and each bid will list the subsidy requested by each hotel operator. This format, which is the national standard for CC hotel development, puts the hotel in the driver's seat during negotiations.

    As for $40 nights I'm not saying that it will happen every night there isn't a coinciding convention booking but it will occur a handful of nights a year and the taxpayers will be paying the operator, under such a model that you suggested, for rooms not booked as well as bookings when occupancy dips below a certain level (maybe 70% who knows). You're certainly right that the strong downtown hotel market is one detail Sanders neglected to consider here.

    I'm not basing my cautionary argument on this examples I'm just extrapolating what we're really talking about here just so that you all have some details to go off of. The only complaint I have is that this process steers clear of real details until it's an up or down vote on making a deal.
    If there is an RFP, to whom would the proposals go? The City? Since it would not be a MAPS funding source, it would not go to the CC committee. I doubt a decision like that could be a quick thumbs up or thumbs down on the shoe, though. So, if people are paying attention, and they are, citizens can have some input.

    Unless a CC hotel created a glut, and I guess we could partially gauge that by downtown hoteliers' response to the discussion I can guarantee there would not be $40 nights available often. Since I have four kids and a 2 bedroom townhouse, every time I have more than one home I put them up in a downtown hotel. The best rate I've ever gotten was Christmas 3 years ago at the Skirvin for $120. Usually, the hotels downtown are $150+. And as I've said, most of those $40 rooms are likely the last one or two rooms at the last minute.

  14. #164

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    When LA writes a $20k check for a convention they do that bc they will make it up w room bookings...the question is what that rate is.
    I don't believe L.A. has a specific CC hotel. So rates vary. I did list convention rates for specific CC hotels elsewhere in one of these threads. I believe they ranged in price from about $90 in Houston to $275, with all but Houston being at least $150, most over $200. Then I checked Priceline for the same hotels on weekdays at meh times of the year and found prices to generally be in the $150 to $299 range.

  15. #165

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Hyatt Regency is an older brand I associate with convention centers. I've gotten good deals at Hyatts but never less than $100 a night.

    It is striking to me that Austin -- even before the boom -- had several higher end hotels in its downtown: Four Seasons, Hyatt-Regency, Omni, etc. We only have Hilton, Sheraton, and Renaissance. Overall, we have lost our Marriott brand on the Northwest Expressway property. The Waterford seems to be in decline.

    We could use a really nice hotel brand period, whether or not we use it for conventions.

  16. #166

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    If a CC/Hotel could charge more on the room rate they might make up the difference in giving away space and writing checks. I don't think that happens.

    Anecdotally, I attended five business conventions about 2009-2012, all member and invited guests only, put on by the same industry group. Locations were Denver, Minneapolis, Orlando, Seattle and Detroit. All were three night weekends, Thursday to Sunday, but we went a day early in Seattle.

    Denver and Minneapolis were small group and all held within a hotel and the hotel's meeting space, maybe 100-150 people. The others were larger, 500 companies represented with 700-900 people. Those were at the Ren Cen in Detroit, Swan Hotel in Orlando and Hilton/Washington CC in Seattle. (The next two times the group met it was New Orleans and Indianapolis.)

    The org putting them on negotiated reduced rates for the hotel rooms for the attendees at every location. They were still $150 to $200 a night IIRC but less than the street rates.

    I always figured the industry org got the spaces for the full group meeting, dining, exhibit and breakout groups free as loss leaders; rooms for the org staff free and maybe a kickback off the hotel gross, which pretty much sums it up apparently. The payment on our end was always split, one big fat fee paid directly to the org that included admission and meals, plus the room rental booked and paid at the place where the event was held.

    Every event had non stop activities morning until bedtime. I know some attendees came a day or two early or left late and made a longer vacation out of it, but we only did that the one time. We did ditch an afternoon or evening activity at each location and spent a small part of the time looking around the city, but when you're paying a ton of money to attend an event it doesn't make a lot of sense to not attend. So besides supporting hotel and catering staff at the local level, we did drop some money in the local economy but not a great deal.

    None of the spots earned the distinction of someplace I want to plan for a return visit. I had already been to some and I'll go back to some when there's a reason, like visiting friends in Seattle or hopping from there to British Columbia, or for some other special event, but not because I found out what a great place they were during a convention. Mileage varies, obviously.

  17. #167

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by mkjeeves View Post
    I always figured the industry org got the spaces for the full group meeting, dining, exhibit and breakout groups free as loss leaders; rooms for the org staff free and maybe a kickback off the hotel gross, which pretty much sums it up apparently. The payment on our end was always split, one big fat fee paid directly to the org that included admission and meals, plus the room rental booked and paid at the place where the event was held.
    Being someone with a lot of experience in dealing with hotels in setting up similar events, I promise that is rarely the case.

  18. #168

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Clearly, some hotels (and specifically some convention hotels) make a lot of money. Some don't.

    If our current downtown hotels are booked at 80% capacity, then it seems like any quality hotel that opens downtown can reasonably expect to be successful, attached to a convention center or not. The question becomes, when we build a new convention center, are we going to be able to supply it with enough hotel capacity to fill it regularly? Right now, it looks like we barely have enough hotel rooms for the stuff we've got. If you bring in a really big convention, you'd have nowhere for the attendees to stay. Hence, the purpose of the convvention hotel.

    So to me there are only two issues that we need to address. First, what is our targeted hotel/convention size? Should we be adding 300 rooms, 500 rooms, 1000 rooms? What size conventions are we planning to compete for and how much space do they need? I would expect a fairly detailed analysis on this before we build a convention hotel. Second, how much of a public subsidy will be involved? Apparently that's kind of the standard for convention hotels. If you are going to build a 750 room hotel in a small market, you get public dollars to offset the cost somewhat. I would expect a competitive selection process that both gets us a high quality hotel, and also shows careful stewardship of the public purse. I'm not saying we have to spend as little as possible (remember most times you get what you pay for), but also remember that the public are not the insurers of a private business.

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  20. #170

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by hoyasooner View Post
    Clearly, some hotels (and specifically some convention hotels) make a lot of money. Some don't.

    If our current downtown hotels are booked at 80% capacity, then it seems like any quality hotel that opens downtown can reasonably expect to be successful, attached to a convention center or not. The question becomes, when we build a new convention center, are we going to be able to supply it with enough hotel capacity to fill it regularly? Right now, it looks like we barely have enough hotel rooms for the stuff we've got. If you bring in a really big convention, you'd have nowhere for the attendees to stay. Hence, the purpose of the convvention hotel.

    So to me there are only two issues that we need to address. First, what is our targeted hotel/convention size? Should we be adding 300 rooms, 500 rooms, 1000 rooms? What size conventions are we planning to compete for and how much space do they need? I would expect a fairly detailed analysis on this before we build a convention hotel. Second, how much of a public subsidy will be involved? Apparently that's kind of the standard for convention hotels.
    If you are going to build a 750 room hotel in a small market, you get public dollars to offset the cost somewhat. I would expect a competitive selection process that both gets us a high quality hotel, and also shows careful stewardship of the public purse. I'm not saying we have to spend as little as possible (remember most times you get what you pay for), but also remember that the public are not the insurers of a private business.
    I was talking to a person in academia in city development who has studied this. He contends we have the consultants who tell everyone to build stuff no matter what. We have the leading expert, HS, pointing out they are wrong more often than right; that the market is going the wrong direction and it's a bad area in general for most cities to attempt to compete in. In the midst of that we have some centers that are doing well.

    His frustration is that we don't have the actual knowledge to reasonably predict success. If anyone who has studied it actually has some ideas supported by data when, where, what to build and why, like HS might or might not have, they haven't shared it. (yet)

    End result in his opinion, noodling around in the CC/Hotel business is a total crapshoot, with the odds stacked against success. If that's true, we can hypothesize all day long and not really have a meaningful answer to those questions.

    Where do we go from there to try to get that "fairly detailed analysis" you speak of, especially when "everyone is biased."

  21. #171

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    I'm quite surprised that this post in the mayor race thread didn't get more attention.
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinepatriot View Post
    I thought I would drop a line or two about the convention center... My research on urban revitalization has led me to study convention centers. I have jotted some quick research notes at the following link. This is a first-cut/rough draft response to a buddy's email. Enjoy, and flame away.

    For those too lazy to click, both sides have some valid points. The Myriad is relatively small, but OKC would need a (cost-prohibitively) expensive investment to make a dent in the hyper-competitive conventions marketplace. How the city should proceed with the center is a tough judgement call, especially in light of Core to Shore (a good strategy with improvable tactics). Expanding the downtown footprint: good idea. Current Convention Center Plan: perhaps not the most efficient way to do accomplish this task.

    Oklahoma City?s Controversial Convention Center | Samuel Bassett
    It doesn't address the hotel specifically, but rather the convention center itself.
    I'm also surprised that Spartan's discussion (almost a year ago?) about how we should have a smaller and more focused or tailored convention center like the Medi-Mart concept going up in Cleveland (Spartan: forgive me for misquoting or contorting your discussion -- I'm a relatively old man and my memory has aged with me) hasn't merited more discussion, too.
    I think the author of the study above (who, I'll bet, has absolutely no dog in the race) would say we really don't need a new convention center and (like JTF points out frequently) it won't make the money that some say it will. I think I also read in there that he concedes the Cox Convention Center (which he -- showing how recently he called Oklahoma home -- called the Myriad) is an aging beast that (as betts AND JTF say) shouldn't be our best OKC parlour for visitors, but don't expect its replacement to be a money-maker that would have Las Vegas wondering where all the people went.

  22. #172

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by mkjeeves View Post
    I was talking to a person in academia in city development who has studied this. He contends we have the consultants who tell everyone to build stuff no matter what. We have the leading expert, HS, pointing out they are wrong more often than right; that the market is going the wrong direction and it's a bad area in general for most cities to attempt to compete in. In the midst of that we have some centers that are doing well.

    His frustration is that we don't have the actual knowledge to reasonably predict success. If anyone who has studied it actually has some ideas supported by data when, where, what to build and why, like HS might or might not have, they haven't shared it. (yet)

    End result in his opinion, noodling around in the CC/Hotel business is a total crapshoot, with the odds stacked against success. If that's true, we can hypothesize all day long and not really have a meaningful answer to those questions.

    Where do we go from there to try to get that "fairly detailed analysis" you speak of, especially when "everyone is biased."
    You're right that everyone is biased. That's why you'll never get the detailed analysis you want. It would be helpful, yes, but we didn't have detailed any analysis when we built the Chesapeake Arena or the Bricktown Ballpark. Good government involves looking at all the available evidence and weighing it as best you can, and then making a decision. We don't operate in a world of guarantees, and we likely never will.

    I do know that the Cox is ugly and embarrassing. We should have a better convention center than that just because. As JTF has said, I think civic pride is reason enough to improve it. It's like when someone walks into your office waiting room and you've got a dusty old couch there from the 1970s. It's not a good front door to the city. The last time I went in there was two or three years ago, and it appears quite outdated.

    I don't think we're spending enough to chase the really big convention dollars. A $250M center isn't going to put us anywhere near the top of the list of cities. I think this is more about getting OKC one of those things that every city our size needs. I once heard a saying that every man, no matter what his job, needs at least one nice suit. Likewise I think this is something OKC has to have to be taken seriously.

  23. #173

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by hoyasooner View Post
    You're right that everyone is biased. That's why you'll never get the detailed analysis you want.
    I assume by "you'll" you meant "I will never" or "we will never". I was quoting you when you said

    "I would expect a fairly detailed analysis on this before we build a convention hotel." and "everyone is biased."

  24. Default Re: Convention Hotel

    There is so much misinformation or lack of information on this subject among those who are not in the industry. Conventions and meetings are more or less invisible to the general public, but it does not mean that they aren't happening and that these people aren't walking among you every day, putting money into our community, and you just don't know it. Here is a PDF of the OKC convention calendar through 2016. It includes events at the Fairgrounds (equestrian and other) and also sports events (ASA, etc.), but you can pretty easily sort them by facility in your mind if you pay attention to the type of event.

    Keep in mind that the state, regional and national conferences and conventions are currently utilizing our inadequate facilities and a hodge-podge of relatively expensive hotel rooms and ask yourself if it is really that unbelievable that those numbers would significantly increase with a competitive facility and a modern, attached convention hotel.

    At the very least ask yourself if you want the Cox Convention Center to be the main impression (or even a PART of the impression) that all of these convention-goers and business leaders have of our city.

  25. #175

    Default Re: Convention Hotel

    Quote Originally Posted by mkjeeves View Post
    I assume by "you'll" you meant "I will never" or "we will never". I was quoting you when you said

    "I would expect a fairly detailed analysis on this before we build a convention hotel." and "everyone is biased."
    I thought you were talking about an earlier post when I was talking about the amount of work you'd need to get a truly accurate economic study for a convention center. I said I'd expect a competitive selection process when it comes to building a convention hotel.

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