Tulsa Hotels Filling Up Fast For NCAA Tournament

Monday, March 14th 2011, 5:49 pm
By: News On 6

Laura Moss, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa businesses are scrambling to make sure they're ready for the Big Dance. The BOK Center is hosting some familiar teams.

03/13/2011 Related Story: Lineup Set For Tulsa NCAA Basketball Tournament

Texas takes on Summit league champ Oakland and Arizona plays Conference USA champ Memphis in the first session on Friday.

Then later on Friday, KU plays Boston University and UNLV takes on Illinois. That's a lot of fans headed to town this weekend

Now that we've got the teams lined up, the fans will follow. They will all end up at the BOK center, but first they will have to find a place to stay.

"You can expect lots of people here. I keep saying exciting, but it is very exciting for us!" Said Michael Frimel, President Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association.

Almost 18,000 BOK seats and about 12,000 Tulsa hotel rooms. Area hotels are filling up fast.

"We are sold out and have been sold out for the last two or three days at least," said Rob Hanlin, Sales Manager at The Renaissance Tulsa Hotel.

According to staff, The Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center will be the temporary home of a top seeded team.

"We blocked off something like a 100 rooms for them, but out of our 300 rooms, the rest have gone to just regular interest by regular folks just wanting to be here," Hanlin said.

And these folks aren't worried about the 12 mile trip to the BOK center. Hanlin said they sold out the rooms without offering rides to the event.

"We are out here a ways, we haven't had any real need to come up with any sort of shuttle access, but we do know that we are sending away sending maps with anyone who comes in here," he said.

Hotels aren't the only go to spots for some fans. One Tulsa Sports Commission leader said he's had friends ask him for a place to stay.

"I'm gonna put them in, I'm going to make them stay in hotels. The Hoyt Inn is not open," said Ray Hoyt of the Tulsa Sports Commission.

Luckily, there's room. News On 6 spoke to hotels all over town with vacancies. And if you book your room late and end up a little outside of town, guests might be able to score a room closer to the action.

Tulsa Hotel & Lodging Association leaders say when a fan with a 3 day hotel reservation loses, you could win.

"They'll lose, they'll go home a little early and then those individuals that are on the outlining skirts will come in to the city and get a little closer," Frimel said.

Tournament planners say people typically book their flights and rental cars before thinking about hotel reservations.

They expect more hotels to sell out of rooms in the next couple of days.