First Tru by Hilton opens on Meridian; more units planned

By Molly M. Fleming

The Journal Record

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Champion Hotels will build six more Tru by Hilton properties in the Oklahoma City area, said Harshil Patel, vice president.

 

The company’s first – and Hilton’s first – Tru opened Thursday to great fanfare with nearly 400 people at the celebration. Developers from across the country attended to see the new flag.

 

The last new flag from Hilton was the Curio. Promise Hotels will open a Curio in the downtown Tulsa Club in 2018.

 

Patel’s father, Champ Patel, CEO, helped develop the Tru property. Hilton worked with nine owners on the concept.

 

Tru Brand Management Senior Director Tripp McLaughlin said Hilton sought to develop a mid-scale hotel and constantly checked its numbers along the way to make sure it stuck to the plan.

 

The Hampton Inn had moved to an upper mid-scale line, so Hilton wanted a product in the $80-to-$90 price range. He said 40 percent of all U.S. hotel nights are at an economy or mid-scale property.

 

The 86-room Tru by Hilton, 802 S. Meridian Ave., sits on 1.4 acres, next to Champion-owned Residence Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites. Those two hotels are still under construction. The entire development is 4.5 acres, Patel said.

 

Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mike Carrier said having competing hotel companies this close together is a new trend in the industry. Residence Inn is a Marriott flag. La Quinta operates under its own flag.

 

Carrier said the three hotels reach different market segments, with Tru targeting younger travelers while the Residence Inn is built for long-term visitors.

 

“There are three different price points and three different types of service,” he said. “It’s an interesting change in our industry’s mindset.”

 

The Tru by Hilton has a bright, open-floor lobby, with different types of seating. It measures nearly 3,000 square feet. It has a pool table, locally sourced snacks, and a mural that’s made specifically for every city. There’s a wall that names Oklahoma City hot spots, like the Plaza District and Automobile Alley, as well as favorite restaurants.

 

“My favorite thing is the lobby,” said Harshil Patel. “When you walk in the door, it doesn’t seem like an old, boring hotel. It’s a fun space that you want to be in. It has fun areas to more private areas. There’s not anything like that anywhere.”

 

Champion Hotels will build the next six Trus in Edmond, Yukon, Norman, along the Northwest Expressway, downtown, and in the Quail Springs Mall corridor. Patel said they will be built in the next two and a half years. He said the concept works well in the suburbs and downtowns.

 

Tru comes online on S. Meridian as the area is down about 2 percent of its room count compared to last year, said Carrier. As of April 2017, occupancy is up 2 percent compared with April 2016, he said. The area is popular with people participating in events at State Fair Park and visiting other tourist attractions. Carrier said even people going to the Women’s College World Series are staying in rooms in the city’s southwest corridor.

 

Travelers will have more options in the next year with a Home2 and a Radisson Hotel in development as well, Carrier said. He said the next question is whether older hotels along Interstate 40 will close as new product comes online.

 

Citywide, the midscale hotels are a popular product, but the style and amenities at Tru will help set it apart in the sector, said McLaughlin. He said he can see how people think it’s similar to Marriott’s Aloft hotel, but Hilton wasn’t concerned with its competition when it was developing the brand.

 

Nationwide, the company has 425 Tru properties in the pipeline, with hotels in 41 of the 50 states. Hilton expects to have more Trus than Hampton Inns. There are more than 2,400 Hampton properties.

 

He said it made sense to put the first Tru in Oklahoma City.

 

“It’s a growing city with a lot of people coming here,” he said. “There are a lot of great local products. With its proximity to the airport and downtown, it made it a great location. And the chance to partner with Champion Hotels, it couldn’t have gone any better for us.”

First Tru by Hilton opens on Meridian; more units planned

By Molly M. Fleming

The Journal Record

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Champion Hotels will build six more Tru by Hilton properties in the Oklahoma City area, said Harshil Patel, vice president.

 

The company’s first – and Hilton’s first – Tru opened Thursday to great fanfare with nearly 400 people at the celebration. Developers from across the country attended to see the new flag.

 

The last new flag from Hilton was the Curio. Promise Hotels will open a Curio in the downtown Tulsa Club in 2018.

 

Patel’s father, Champ Patel, CEO, helped develop the Tru property. Hilton worked with nine owners on the concept.

 

Tru Brand Management Senior Director Tripp McLaughlin said Hilton sought to develop a mid-scale hotel and constantly checked its numbers along the way to make sure it stuck to the plan.

 

The Hampton Inn had moved to an upper mid-scale line, so Hilton wanted a product in the $80-to-$90 price range. He said 40 percent of all U.S. hotel nights are at an economy or mid-scale property.

 

The 86-room Tru by Hilton, 802 S. Meridian Ave., sits on 1.4 acres, next to Champion-owned Residence Inn and La Quinta Inn & Suites. Those two hotels are still under construction. The entire development is 4.5 acres, Patel said.

 

Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mike Carrier said having competing hotel companies this close together is a new trend in the industry. Residence Inn is a Marriott flag. La Quinta operates under its own flag.

 

Carrier said the three hotels reach different market segments, with Tru targeting younger travelers while the Residence Inn is built for long-term visitors.

 

“There are three different price points and three different types of service,” he said. “It’s an interesting change in our industry’s mindset.”

 

The Tru by Hilton has a bright, open-floor lobby, with different types of seating. It measures nearly 3,000 square feet. It has a pool table, locally sourced snacks, and a mural that’s made specifically for every city. There’s a wall that names Oklahoma City hot spots, like the Plaza District and Automobile Alley, as well as favorite restaurants.

 

“My favorite thing is the lobby,” said Harshil Patel. “When you walk in the door, it doesn’t seem like an old, boring hotel. It’s a fun space that you want to be in. It has fun areas to more private areas. There’s not anything like that anywhere.”

 

Champion Hotels will build the next six Trus in Edmond, Yukon, Norman, along the Northwest Expressway, downtown, and in the Quail Springs Mall corridor. Patel said they will be built in the next two and a half years. He said the concept works well in the suburbs and downtowns.

 

Tru comes online on S. Meridian as the area is down about 2 percent of its room count compared to last year, said Carrier. As of April 2017, occupancy is up 2 percent compared with April 2016, he said. The area is popular with people participating in events at State Fair Park and visiting other tourist attractions. Carrier said even people going to the Women’s College World Series are staying in rooms in the city’s southwest corridor.

 

Travelers will have more options in the next year with a Home2 and a Radisson Hotel in development as well, Carrier said. He said the next question is whether older hotels along Interstate 40 will close as new product comes online.

 

Citywide, the midscale hotels are a popular product, but the style and amenities at Tru will help set it apart in the sector, said McLaughlin. He said he can see how people think it’s similar to Marriott’s Aloft hotel, but Hilton wasn’t concerned with its competition when it was developing the brand.

 

Nationwide, the company has 425 Tru properties in the pipeline, with hotels in 41 of the 50 states. Hilton expects to have more Trus than Hampton Inns. There are more than 2,400 Hampton properties.

 

He said it made sense to put the first Tru in Oklahoma City.

 

“It’s a growing city with a lot of people coming here,” he said. “There are a lot of great local products. With its proximity to the airport and downtown, it made it a great location. And the chance to partner with Champion Hotels, it couldn’t have gone any better for us.”