I had recently attended a conference (attended!) in Oklahoma City. The Renaissance was the headquarters hotel and the majority of the sessions were held at the Convention Center, which is attached. I already reviewed both spaces in July when I was in town for a site visit, but I wanted to give a quick update after seeing the space again.
The space is average for a convention center. It’s definitely a smaller convention center which makes a meeting of this size (750 people) much more manageable, compared to the miles and miles you could walk at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The Great Hall was used for meals and the space was an ideal size for the group.
There was a bit of an odd smell outside of some of the breakouts one afternoon – it almost smelled like there was some water damage. I didn’t see anything to corroborate that, but it wasn’t pleasant.
The food & beverage…
I had limited exposure to the meals because I was so busy with our own events, but I did make it to two plated meals and a few receptions. For one lunch there was a chicken dish. It was fine. It wasn’t amazing, but it was fine. Mine was thoroughly cooked, but someone at my table complained that there’s was undercooked.
The dinner I attended was a duet of beef and salmon with a side of mashed potatoes. The beef was actually fine, but the salmon was gross. Personally, I am a bit of a seafood snob since I grew up 20 minutes from the beach and I wouldn’t trust most seafood in a part of the country that is about as far from the beach as you can be.
I was intrigued by the dessert choices – particularly the red velvet cupcakes that were ginormous. It’s an interesting departure from the mini desserts we’re seeing everywhere, but it looked difficult to eat.
I don’t think convention centers are known for their service. I had high hopes because this convention center is administered by the Renaissance, but no such luck. I literally saw a server with a tray of crab cake balls drop some, and leave them on the floor. Yes, really.
Another issue with the service was that everything seemed perpetually understaffed. It’s hard for a server to provide good service if they are covering too many tables and the program is so tight.
All in all, I wasn’t overly impressed. What do you think?