Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

First la Quinta Inn and Suites Opens in Norman

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

First la Quinta Inn and Suites Opens in Norman

Article excerpt

With a new hotel product that has marble lobbies, spas and gazebos, La Quinta Inns is trying to get the attention of business and leisure travelers that haven't stayed there in a while.

The chain held a grand opening for its Norman La Quinta Inn & Suites at Interstate 35 and W. Lindsey Ave. on Thursday. The 117-room hotel offers three different room choices and upgraded amenities not typically found at other mid-priced hotels.

It is the first La Quinta Inn & Suites in the state. Another is planned for the Northwest Expressway and Meridian. "La Quinta felt like, in order to remain competitive, we had to build the best product possible," said Vice President of Marketing Steve Hickey. As more and more limited-service properties have entered markets across the country, La Quinta made a strategy of upgrading all of its 31,000 rooms. The three La Quinta Inns in Oklahoma City were recently renovated as part of the company's $200 million upgrade program. "We have been on an extended healthy economy that has been good for business and tourist travel," Hickey said. "It's been a very successful period in the lodging industry that has spawned a lot of upgrading and new development." In 1996, La Quinta launched the Inns & Suites product. Twenty-six of La Quinta's 270 properties are new Inn and Suites hotels. The company's new ads, featuring the lobbies with fountains and high ceilings and a landscaped courtyard, give the hotel the image of a resort. "The advertising that we're trying to do is intended to jar people's perceptions and get people to try it that haven't tried it in a long time," Hickey said. Two-room suites are geared to traveling families or business people, and king rooms feature refrigerators and microwaves for longer stays. Amenities include oversized desks, data ports and recliner chairs. "We have a combination of rooms to try and meet all needs," Hickey said. "The same traveler might need different types of rooms for different occasions." La Quinta Inns range from $55 to $65 a night, depending on the region, while La Quinta Inns and Suites range from $60 to $75 a night. Destination #46 Oklahoma City was ranked 46th in U-Haul's top 50 destination cities in 1997, following Tulsa, which came in at 45. …

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