Crowne Plaza suffers more than others

By Adam Pincus | January 28, 2009 04:52PM

Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan has been hit particularly hard as business and tourism travel dry up.

Since the completion of a major renovation in September, the occupancy rate at the hotel fell to 55 percent at the 770-room hotel located at 1605 Broadway at 48th Street, according to Thomas Lydon, president of the City Investment Fund, which owns the hotel.

That is below the 66 percent average occupancy rate for Manhattan for the three weeks ending January 17, according to Smith Travel Research figures.

“We were 90 percent occupied at a $350 to $360 room basis in September. Right now we are 40 percent occupied, and that is what the market is in Times Square,” Lydon said.

Lydon was speaking on a panel hosted by Real Deal columnist Michael Stoler at the City University of New York’s graduate center in Midtown today. The Real Deal was one of the sponsors of the seminar.

In an interview later, Lydon said the 40 percent figure referred to a mid-week occupancy rate, and the projected monthly average occupancy rate for January was 55 percent with an average room rate of $222.

The 46-story hotel is managed by InterContinental Hotels Group Resources. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment. The upscale hotel was never closed during the rolling $70 million renovation which upgraded rooms as others remained available, Lydon said.

He said the occupancy and room rate falloff was not related to the renovation, but was part of a general decline in travel to the city.

John Fox, senior vice president at hotel advisors PKF Consulting, said a decline in business and vacation travel has affected hotels in the city and elsewhere.

“Some say transient business is in a death spiral,” he said. Over the past 40 years, January’s average occupancy rate is 65 percent, compared with an average of 79 percent rate in September. The lowest average for a January in the past four decades was 52 percent in 1992, he said.

“There was an expectation that the first quarter would be bad, but I think it is turning out worse,” he said.