View Full Version : Hotel Management and the image of a city

07-01-2006, 12:50 PM
It has dawned on me that hotel management can have a huge impact on the image of a city. I have detailed my awful experience at the Waterford Marriott in another thread in best/worst. You can read that here:

But the larger issue is that abysmal management of a "Four-Diamond" hotel can cast a pall over the image of an entire city. I had checked in for two nights to simply get away from the house and get some work done. What if I had been a traveler from out-of-town? I have no question that the visitor could be soured on Oklahoma City simply by the poor experience with their hotel. It's not particularly fair, but the connection is one that the person could very well carry with them forever.

The Waterford Marriott needs help - for their sake, and our city's.


The Old Downtown Guy
07-01-2006, 01:31 PM
I hope that you let Waterford OKC ownership and Marriott National HQ know of your lack luster experience.

07-01-2006, 02:59 PM
Very true. Especially in a market that has very few nice hotels to begin with. Hopefully the Colcord and Skirvin will rasie the standard here and create some much needed competition.

I have also heard of better experiences at the Expressway Marriot than at the Waterford...

07-01-2006, 05:33 PM
I posted this on your other thread and then found this one.. I agree, upper management needs to be aware of the problem.

Corporate Information HeadquartersMarriott International, Inc.
Marriott Drive
Washington, D.C. 20058
Internet: (

08-14-2006, 03:40 PM
As I said in the Waterford thread, I hope that these problems are in the process of being ironed out. Back when I was an OCU law student the Waterford was still in its relative infancy (1990-93) and my few experiences there (as a lounge patron mostly) gave me every impression that it was a world class hotel. It would be a terrible shame if they don't provide a lodging experience that matches their location and their physical attributes. Now that it carries the Marriott banner (which is a fairly tough banner to maintain, or so I've read in some business publications), I would think there would be some real pressure to maintain a level of customer satisfaction sufficient to keep its affiliation. Marriott has a pretty substantial reputation in the lodging community for pulling its flag at a moment's notice if certain standards cannnot be maintained.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that the biggest issue here is the lack of viable competition in general for "Class A" lodging in the OKC metro. You've got the Waterford and the Marriott in the NW sector and they're under the same flag. Downtown you've got the Renaissance and then a presumedly decent drop-off down to the Sheraton. I can only presume that the hotels aren't direct peers because Starwood "downgraded" the Sheraton (which is what it was when I was there) from a Westin a few years back. As far as I know, that's pretty much it as far as the upper tier of hotels goes in OKC. After that quartet you're talking about your cookie-cutter corporate road warrior establishments (Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express) and a smattering of aging, airport grade hotels down by Will Rogers. I understand the old Hilton on NW Expressway has been rebranded a Crowne Plaza (Holiday Inn) and is off to mixed reviews.

In a region the size of OKC there should be a better variety of what I'll call "above-grade" hotels - perhaps not so upper crust as the Waterford (although their rates are anything but), but a step above the Courtyards and Hamptons. I'm talking about Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Omni, Wyndham, Westin. Marriott's got a monopoly in the NW sector and half of downtown - where's the incentive to be anything other than decent at best if you have nobody pushing you to do better?

I know that OKC feels like it's at a point where it can compete with St. Louis (where I live) for certain business opportunities, conventions and tourism and frankly, from what I'm hearing and hope to confirm on my upcoming visit, OKC is getting there, however one big difference is lodging options. Here in St. Louis you've got viable choices in every relevant business and tourism district. Downtown you've got Renaissance, Westin, Hyatt Regency, Drury Plaza, Adams Mark at the high end and a good sprinkling of the road warrior hotels as well. In Clayton (Central Business District) you've got the Ritz, Clayton on the Park (boutique high-end hotel) and a Westin under construction. Further west you've got Hilton, Marriott, Drury Plaza as well as another healthy dose of the road warrior establishments. There's competition at every price range. As for OKC, when it comes to competition at the level most important to the big spenders who make the decisions on conventions and business outposts, you're not seeing much, and thus the high rollers get a very unfavorable impression.

I have to believe that OKC can support a couple of high end hotels downtown and a number of high end chains such as Omni and Hyatt have embraced redevelopment opportunities for older hotels. As for the Northwest district, I think one or two smaller hotels could fit quite nicely into the landscape. Seems to me there's still a decent amount of commercial land to develop and the right group could certainly give Marriott a run for their money.

08-14-2006, 11:03 PM
I actually let local management know about my thoughts about their hotel. They blew me off.

08-15-2006, 09:32 AM
good post y_h. Hopefully the Skirvin Hilton will prove you correct and show that there is a need and demand for better lodging in the city.

And I think the Colcord will provide a nice non-corporate boutique option as well.

These will be two good litmus tests to see if Oklahoma City is a good market for these types of properties and to see if they can influence the big spenders and decision makers. I think you make a good point that you can satiate the masses with the "road warrior" properties, but you have to first woo the decision makers into bringing the masses here.