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Thread: Turmoil at OKCCVB

  1. #1
    Patrick Guest

    Default Turmoil at OKCCVB

    This was reported awhile back while I was gone but I think it's worthy of mentioning. It appears the director of the OKC Convention and Visitor's Bureau has resigned over the loss of the 2010 American Legion Convention. The reason we were turned down was because we didn't have enough affordable hotel rooms downtown. In other words, they were looking for more rooms like Motel 6 and Days Inn downtown. Personally, I think those cheaper motels will come on the outskirts of downtown with time. We definitely don't want them in the core of Bricktown or the CBD. I don't think this is anything to be ashamed of. We are losing a great person in Christine Wise, but I think this can all be blamed on OKC not being mature enough yet. You have to remember, OKC is still in the growing phase. We're just a baby. Not even close to being an adult yet. Give us 10 years and we'll be able to be the top choice. Personally, I think it was quite an honor to be in the top 3 for this convention. That says a lot about how far we've come as a city. Just 10 years ago we wouldn't have even been a consideration.

    The turmoil continues at the Convention and Visitors Bureau:

    Visitors Bureau confirms wise no longer marketing head
    Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau is confirming that Christine Wise no longer works for the organization.

    Wise was previously the bureau's marketing director and was responsible for recruiting and coordinating convention business.

    Earlier this month in an exclusive interview with OKCBusiness News that was shared in an executive email, Wise criticized downtown hotel rates as being the only reason Oklahoma City lost out on hosting the 2010 American Legion National Convention - the nation's seventh largest convention.

    The American Legion's director for Oklahoma, David Kellerman, made the same charge.
    Oklahoma City was among the Top 3 cities considered for the convention, but Milwaukee, Wis., was selected to host the event.
    Following OKCBusiness News' executive email, the downtown hotels identified by Wise and Kellernan - the Renaissance Hotel, the Sheraton Hotel and the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel - indicated Wise's charge was unfair and that many factors have to be considered when hotels formulate convention packages that many years out.
    Jim Rickards, the general manager for the Courtyard by Marriott, told the newspaper he was "shocked" by Wise's statements, saying "we vigorously went after that business."
    Wise, who had been an employee of the bureau since 1996, departed from the bureau via resignation.
    Officials' only comment on the matter was to say a nationwide search to replace her was being considered.

    Above taken from www.downtownguy.blogspot.com

  2. Default Re: Turmoil at OKCCVB

    Having previously worked at the Renaissance Hotel, I have to say this cannot be blamed on the hotels. Those 3 downtown hotels are doing VERY well, and they don't need to lower their rates to attract business. We were consistently sold out (100%) during the week and also weekends when there was a weekend convention. The opening of the Courtyard has not hurt the other two hotels. If anything, it has helped. The Courtyard itself is even beating best-case-scenario given to it by the company, from what I understand.

    While it's sad we did not land this huge convention, it's not like we are going to notice we don't have it. Chances are, those downtown hotels will be filled with some other convention and/or conference that week instead. Plus, it just goes to show you what league we are playing in. There is no convention we can't go after-- that is good news! Maybe in 5 years, we can bid successfully for the American Legion Convention.

  3. #3
    HKG_Flyer1 Guest

    Default Re: Turmoil at OKCCVB

    I don't see the loss of the American Legion as a huge negative. Although I don't live in Oklahoma City, it is definitely getting on the radar screen as a desirable locale. The high number of participants in the American Legion meeting is somewhat misleading... they don't spend a lot of money when they come to down. This makes it particularly hard for hotels to come put together a cut-rate hotel room package since they don't get the high spend on food, drinks, catering, etc. that a typical corporate convention entails.

    As others have pointed out, the reason they didn't get a bargain is because the hotels aren't desperate... they're getting plenty of high rate business. That's a good thing, as it will continue to generate more interest from potential hotel developers.

  4. Post Re: Turmoil at OKCCVB

    Quote Originally Posted by HKG_Flyer1
    they didn't get a bargain is because the hotels aren't desperate... they're getting plenty of high rate business. That's a good thing, as it will continue to generate more interest from potential hotel developers.

    this is definitely what we need, potential hotel developers.

    Why does okc only have Hammond interested in developing hotels downtown? What about some other developers (besides Skirvin and Colcord redevelopers)?

    I think OKC easily needs 1000 to 1500 more downtown hotel rooms, NOW. As was mentioned, all of the downtown hotels are 100% booked, nearly every day. When I came to OKC, my bill was NOT cheap - $145.00 per night at the Courtyard downtown. I believe, as was stated earlier, that the hotels can charge this much because they aren't desparate (sp).

    Yes, the Courtyard is a wonderful hotel but their service was terrible. I commented about it on trip advisor and the Marriott corporate headquarters (they sent me a survey and all) and I have seen comments from other travelers marvel about the "new service" at the hotel. And I was in OKC on business in Feb 2005 but by April they got their act together.

    It was quite simple, in order to justify paying that much you need to provide more than just a NEW hotel. Im glad to see that management took my comments seriourly. Hopefully this will continue to pay dividends for OKC as travelers continue to express positives about our downtown hotels (which usually result in positives about the city).

    But back to my point (sorry for the aside, but hey I supported downtown OKC!!! and aside from being young and not 'proper' service, it was great!). I think the time is now for developers to come in. More than just Hammond.

    What happened to the guy who wanted to build a 20 something hotel in the lot across from the AMTRAK/Courtyard/Uhaul? That is an awesome location and if the tower was 20 storeys or higher (please!!! higher), it could be built rather thin as to not interfere with the views of Bricktown from the Courtyard. It would probably have the best location in Oklahoma City for urban entertainment and view, and the traffic flow generated should not be ignored by OKC, not to mention the 400+ hotel rooms it would generate.

    What happened to the boutique bricktown hotel that was going to be located on "the hill" of the canal? This would have been an excellent addition to Bricktown that would have ensured continual pedestrian traffic on the canal. Was this investor that stupid to pull out of the deal? Isnt there a way "eminent domain" that the city can force this developer out by Bricktown bylaw or something? That is prime real estate that needs to be developed. Is there a way someone can encourage him to develop the land? Something must be done, because imagine if 150+ intimate, romantic hotel rooms on that hill, overlooking Bricktown, the Brick, and the downtown skyline!!! I cant think of a more romantic (and expensive) location in Oklahoma City!!! That 5-Star boutique hotel is definitely needed!!!

    What about North Downtown? I think a nice hotel, like a Hyatt or Marriott, is needed for North Downtown near the OKC National Memorial. While some might call it crass to capitalize on the memorial, it IS an OKC attraction - and is probably OKC's major tourist attraction these days. Lots of Monuments and Memorials have hotels and hospitality that sprout up around them, so I dont think it is any more crass or inappropriate, just as long as the development does not detract from the Memorial. Well, why doesnt the city get someone in there - for say a 400+ room hotel? That would "spread out" the hotel rooms around downtown and offer yet another hoteling option for visitors and business alike. Not to mention the NEED for quality hotels in North Downtown (as there are NONE).

    If we take the three hotels that I just mentioned, plus the ones already downtown and in the works, that brings us to:

    Renaissance 311
    Sheraton 395
    Courtyard 225
    = 931 current

    Residence Inn 150 (hopefully somebody with sense will thumb this down and/or just move the location to West Downtown - an even better move/more appropriate location like Festival plaza area. Build the Embassy Suites concept in LoBrick with 250 rooms as was originally planned for the LoBrick site)
    Hilton Skirvin 250 "hopefully this will be at least 4.5 stars"
    Colcord 150 "I hope it stays unbranded, but if it is, it needs to be upscale brand like Omni or Intercontinental, nonetheless, they should shoot for 5 stars"
    = 550 under construction
    = 1481 total for 2006 (1581 if we get the Embassy Suites, which we all hope/want)

    East Downtown development 400-600+ (I like the sound of Adams Mark for that location, as its close to the convention centre. this should be the biggest hotel in the state room wise, but should be tastefully done as a highrise tower or two)
    Bricktown Boutique development 150+ 5-star unbranded!!!
    North Downtown development near the memorial area 400+ (tastefully done as a highrise tower to join the Regency Apartments as skyscrapers in that local area)
    = 950 - 1150+ for the three I propose above
    = 2431 - 2731+ rooms if everything goes as planned.

    I certainly thing 1481 is a good start but still way to few rooms to "properly" support what OKC is planning to have going on downtown in 2006 on. 1581 is "better", but I like the sound of 2731 downtown rooms by 2007 the best of all!!

    Add to that, the lower chain rooms that we could allow to come into South West downtown, East of Downtown, and North West of downtown (to energize/gentrify the Midtown district), with 1000 rooms. And Downtown OKC could have 3800 hotel rooms downtown!!!

    I think this is the number we want to shoot for. With these hotel rooms, NO convention would turn away from OKC!!! plus you would fill every demographic - corporate traveler, business exec, tourist, family transient, local vacationeer, convention delegate, government employee, rich and wealthy, newly married/anniversaried, college, budget conscious, newly rich - each of these demographics is what downtown should shoot for - and I think having the convention delegate, corporate traveler, rich and wealthy, and newly married populations met would probably meet the others as well.

    I think the city should get the ball rolling here, come on - were only talking about 4 more GOOD quality hotels, only two of them large. Add to this, several condo/apartment towers in North downtown, Triangle, South Downtown, and West downtown, and you really begin to have a thriving urban centre which could support any degree of retail or amenity! This is what we all want, so we should demand that city hall (and urban renewal) go attract developers for hotels and highrise residential development!!!
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Turmoil at OKCCVB

    I like your thinking.

    I don't think you're too far off, although I'd push the timeline for that number of rooms to 2010.

    I'd be surprised if we didn't end up with a Marriott, Hyatt, and Radisson in the near future.

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