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Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 86

 Choice’s Settlement with AAHOA; Don’t Demolish the Javits Center;
NYC & Company’s Successful Marketing Strategy; Quote of the Month

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS, ISHC
March 1, 2012

1.  Choice’s Settlement with AAHOA:  Things Are Seldom What They Seem: Skim Milk Masquerades As Cream

AAHOAs January 27, 2012 letter of appreciation to Choice Hotel’s President & CEO Steve Joyce is less than it appears.  Apparently, Joyce has agreed to the following:
  • “New applicants covered under Choice’s Impact Policy will have the option to select an exclusive territory or follow the current Impact Policy.”
Skim Milk:  The option to select an exclusive territory applies only to new applicants not   to Choice’s 6100 existing franchisees.
  • “The revised Impact Policy which incorporates AAHOA’s recommendations along with further changes suggested by CHOC (Choice Hotel Owners Council).  These changes have been vetted and accepted through the CHOC Fair Franchising Committee and will become effective on January 1, 2012.”
Skim Milk:  CHOC is an entity which is completely controlled and funded by Choice Hotels International. Its name (Choice Hotel  Owners  Council) is an oxymoron.
  • The 80% RevPAR requirements in the Impact Policy has been eliminated effective immediately.”
2% Milk The elimination of the 80% RevPAR requirement appears to be a genuine benefit except   for the inherent unfairness of impact studies. 
  • “Choice will welcome additional impact consultants who are recommended by franchisees provided that these consultants meet the current requirements and have completed the training and vetting process.”
Skim Milk:  If the training and vetting process of new impact consultants needs Choice’s approval, the impact process will continue to be strongly one-sided in Choice’s favor. 
  • “Choice’s current Fair Franchising Policy (in which the Impact Policy is housed) contains the “good faith and fair dealings”….language”.
Skim Milk:  In practice, Choice’s policy is ‘poor faith and unfair dealings’ 
  • “Choice intends to commission a research study for the benefit of franchise owners that will address CHOC’s mission, the voluntary versus mandatory nature of the organization, and guidance concerning questions about whether the organization should be fully independent.  Choice will keep AAHOA informed as to the results of this research.”
Skim Milk:  Letting Choice commission (and monitor) such a study about CHOC almost   guarantees the outcome.  There will be no fully independent CHOC organization.  If   Choice franchisees want a fully independent CHOC, there must be complete separation of CHOC from Choice with separate office location, funding solely from the franchisees, and independent Chief Executive selected by CHOC members only.
Conclusion:  AAHOA capitulated too easily and let Choice off the hook

2.  Don’t Demolish the Javits Center

Governor Cuomo’s proposal to replace the Javits Center with a new convention center in Ozone Park, Queens is a huge mistake which will damage the hotel business in New York:

  1. the Javits Center is in the midst of a $463 million renovation that has already improved the 26-year-old building significantly.
  2. the Javits Center is one of the most successful trade show facilities in the United States with a better-than 70% occupancy rate.
  3. the Javits Center is a self-supporting operation that does not receive state subsidiaries.
  4. many of the New York City’s record-breaking 50.5 million visitors in 2011 attended conventions and exhibits at the Javits Center.  Its Manhattan location was perhaps its greatest attraction.
A column in the New York Times on February 8, 2012 by architectural critic Michael Kimmelman jumped on the bandwagon in order to build a better Penn Station.  Kimmelman proposes:

            a. the destruction of the Javits Center

            b. the destruction of Madison Square Garden

  c. construction of a new Madison Square Garden at the southern end of the Javits site at  34th Street and 11th Avenue         

  d. construction of a new Penn Station in the space now occupied by Madison Square Garden

No amount of windy rhetoric by Kimmelman can justify his wrong-headed and destructive recommendations.  The upheaval that would be caused by these recommendations would be catastrophic to the city’s economy.  West Side traffic would be impassable for a decade or more.  Kimmelman’s argument that to move the Garden now is about looking ahead to a booming new West Side.” and “a light-filled Penn Station, a monument to the city’s best self and biggest dreams, should become its gateway” is so impractical as to become a caricature.

Instead, here is a far more realistic series of well-thought out steps:

  • Do not demolish the Javits Center
  • Do not move Madison Square Garden
  • Improve the new Moynihan Penn Station when it moves across Eighth Avenue into the James A. Farley Post Office to include New Jersey Transit with Amtrak.
  • Renovate and expand the Long Island Railroad facilities in its present location.
Will we ever rebuild the iconic Penn Station designed by Charles Follen McKim? No. Perhaps the greatest legacy of that destructive act was the creation of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Law in 1965 which has saved more than 12000 buildings.

3.  NYC & Company’s Successful Marketing Strategy

At NYUs February 7, 2012 “Bunny” Grossinger Distinguished Lecture Series in Tourism Management, NYC & Company’s CEO George Fertitta described the strategy that brought a record- breaking 50.5 million visitors to New York in 2011.

NYC & Company is New York’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization.  Its mission is to maximize travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, build economic prosperity and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world.  With the launch of major interactive initiatives- including and the Official NYC Information Center- NYC & Company becomes the ultimate resource for visitors and residents to find everything they need about what to do and see in New York City.

Hundreds of students from the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management heard the executive team from NYC & Company report that in 2011:

  • NYC tourism has grown by 15 percent overall- 10 percent in the domestic market and 40 percent in international arrivals
  • New York’s hotel occupancy averaged 85%, with a record 27.1 million room nights, a 5% gain over 2010s record levels.
  • Travel from China increased 45 percent and from Brazil by 77 percent
  • NYC & Company opened 11 international representative offices to raise New York City’s global presence to 18 offices serving 25 markets.  This exposure helped the City become the top U.S. travel destination for the first time in twenty years.

4. Quote of the Month

“The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on"
                                                                                              Arthur Bloch

New York Times Book Review (12/4/11)

“They were, by definition built to last, and many of them did.  In “Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York” (AuthorHouse), Stanley Turkel, who (works) in the hotel industry, brings them to life again as they were originally envisioned.


In this passionate and informative book, dotted with (antique postcards), he begins by recalling six classics that figured in his early career, then quotes an 1872 guidebook that proclaims New York “the paradise of hotels.” From the Aberdeen to the Wolcott, the hotels he features- some built as apartment hotels, some converted to apartments- were mostly constructed in the ensuring decades.  Some, fortunately are now officially landmarks.”


To order a copy, visit


Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

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Also See: Nobody Asked me, But...No. 85; Praise for President Obama's Travel & Tourism Strategy; Proposed Queens Convention Center is a Poor Idea; Hotel Rooms and Floors Created Just For Women; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / February 2012

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 84; EB-5 Visa For Immigrant Investors; The Pistilli Lecture; A NYC Hotel Bargain; 'Built To Last'; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2012

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 83; Congratulations To Lodging Hospitality Editor Ed Watkins; Did You Hear About 'Airbnb'?; A Sows Ears Becomes a Silk Purse; On The Verge; Quote of the Month; Give This Perfect Gift for The Holiday Season / Stanley Turkel / December 2011

Nobody Asked me, But...No. 81; AAHOA Strikes Back; Would You Believe Such a Study? Independent Franchisee Associations On The Rise; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / October 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 80; Impertinent Questions Still in Search of Pertinent Answers; Questions for 32,500 Franchised Hotel Owners; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / September 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 79; Relevant Brand Management?; Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel; The Magical Americana of New York; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / August 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 78; AAHOA Chairman Hits a Home Run; Universal Franchisee Bill of Rights; HomeSpun; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / July 2011

Nobody Asked me, But... No. 77: Public Relations Trumps Common Sense; Nobody Does It Better; Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room to Close; Pay Attention to State Franchise Laws; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / June 2011

Nobody Asked me, But... No. 76: Empire State Building's 80th Anniversary and the Waldorf-Astoria; "Defying Time: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"; Impertinent Question Seeking a Pertinent Answer; Wyndham Hotel Group Reports; Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 75: Blackstone Reportedly Prepping Hilton for Flotation; Things Are Seldom What They Seem, Skim Milk Masquerades As Cream; Quote of the Month; First Announcement / Stanley Turkel / April 2011

Nobody Asked me, But… No. 74: The Triumph of Public Relations; Helpful Hotels; Court Rules Holiday Inn Commits “Reprehensible Fraud”; Quote of the Month / March 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 73: Impertinent Question Still Seeking a Pertinent Answer; The Fountain of Old Age; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / February 2011

Impertinent Question In Search of a Pertinent Answer; Does The Industry Really Need Another Brand?; Hilton’s Hands Get Slapped in Starwood Settlement; China- Based Developers Buy U.S. Hotels; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 71 - Impertinent Questions Still Seeking Pertinent Answers; The Baseball Business…Where Next?; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / December 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 70 -John Q. Hammons, Impertinent Question, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / November 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 69 - Large Banks Creating Crisis For Hoteliers; Are Room Telephones Obsolete? / Stanley Turkel / October 2010

Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers; The Best Franchise Website; Free Wi-Fi at Top of Amenity List / Stanley Turkel / September 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 67 : Stanley Turkel's Review of Budget/Economy Hotels Following a Three Week Pennsylvania Road Odyssey / Stanley Turkel / August 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 66 : Recognizing Three Hotel Industry Experts Whose Accomplishments Are Unique - Bjorn Hanson, Peter Greenberg and Richard Warnick / Stanley Turkel / July 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 65: A Well-Deserved Compliment for Steve Rushmore; Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers / Stanley Turkel / June 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 64: Best Western Finally Makes a Move; Cuba, The Caribbean’s Hottest Destination / Stanley Turkel / May 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 63: Can Airlines Learn From Hotels?; Memo to Ian Schrager / Stanley Turkel / April 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But No. 62 / Do the Radisson Franchisees Agree with Carlson's billion-dollar Makeover Program? At Last: A Win-Win Victory for Tourism; Congratulations to the Harris Rosen Foundation / Stanley Turkel / March 2010

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