If you're looking for proof that Oklahoma City's investment in itself has turned it into a regional weekend getaway destination, consider that it trails only Oahu, Hawaii, in hotel room occupancy growth.
Oklahoma City's hotel rooms filled up at a rate more than 11 percent faster in the first six months of 2012 than last year, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President Roy Williams told the city council this week. The city performed more than 8 percent better than the national average.
“Oahu was the only market we didn't beat,” Williams said. “When that's your competition in tourism, that's not bad.”
The figures come from a quarterly report issued by Smith Travel Research, an industry benchmarking group, said Michael Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Business, vacation travel
The fast growth rate has shown itself in Oklahoma City's hotel tax revenue. The city collected more than $400,000 more than it expected in hotel tax revenue last fiscal year, and it has already projected for strong growth.
A robust local economy and solid convention traffic brought extra business travel to Oklahoma City, but leisure travel is on the rise as well, Carrier said.
“They've heard us for years talking about Oklahoma City and the great things going on here. That message is taking hold,” he said. “We see weekend getaways, people coming from Dallas or Wichita or Omaha and other drive markets, who are coming at virtually any time of the year depending on what kind of special event is happening. There are a lot of them that come multiple times in the year because we have so many events going on.”
The growth could intrigue hotel developers, especially as civic leaders ponder how to fund a hotel needed for the MAPS 3 convention center that would likely become Oklahoma City's largest. Carrier said he hopes developers note the city could use more top-notch full-service hotels.
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