NY hotel owner sheds brands, attempts solo ride

Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:06am EDT
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By Deepa Seetharaman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - At a time when many hotels are vying to be part of a major brand, one lodging company has chosen to go at it alone.

Apple Core Hotels, which owns five properties in New York City, has stripped well-worn banners off two of its hotels and hopes to do so for all of them by the middle of 2012.

"You control your destiny in more ways than one," Apple Core President Vijay Dandapani said in an interview.

This month, Apple Core removed the Red Roof Inn brand from its hotel on 32nd Street near Fifth Avenue after the franchise agreement expired. It renamed the property "nyma," which stands for New York Manhattan Hotel.

Apple Core's move runs counter to the global industry. More companies are looking to be part of top companies like Wyndham Worldwide Corp, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

So far, Apple Core has spent $4 million to renovate the nyma hotel and aims to complete a $1 million revamp of the lobby by the end of the year.

By refashioning the hotel as a more upscale property and shedding the budget hotel image typically associated with Red Roof Inn, Dandapani hopes it can command higher rates.

He projects revenue per available room at the nyma will jump by 25 percent by mid-2011 as it also benefits from an expected upswing in the hotel market.   Continued...