Have You Heard? first reported the deal was a possibility in September.
“It’s been a big deal,” says Paul Coury, chairman of Tulsa-based Coury Group.
His Ambassador hotels in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Kansas City are part of the deal as well.
Coury says Marriott officials are “excited about the fact that they could bring four hotels into their brand.”
“It’s going to have a great impact on the people in the corporate world who want to stay at hotels that get reward points.”
Coury says the ramifications are huge for his hotels as well.
“Well, obviously, I did it because I think it’s going to have a big impact.”
Coury says the Autograph Collection is what’s known as a soft brand. The Ambassador will keep its own identity and add Autograph Collection by Marriott to its name.
He says Marriott has high standards and that the Ambassador already meets them.
“We basically had everything they were looking for.”
Not everyone is excited for the new brand, though.
“There were some objections,” Coury says.
He says there’s a process Marriott goes through when deciding if a hotel fits its brand. Part of that is getting the opinions of other Marriott franchisees in the area. None of them could be reached for comment for this story.
In October, the Tulsa Ambassador will be the first of Coury’s hotels to be rebranded. The Wichita Ambassador will follow in the third week of October.
Guests can’t start booking through Marriott until then.
“In the meantime, everything’s getting in place to make that conversion within the system and the training,” Coury says.
Other than that, Coury says he doesn’t have to do anything.
“Nothing,” he says. “That’s what’s beautiful.”