Michael Zayas, regional director of sales and marketing for Maryland-based Real Hospitality Group, describes Queens’s hotel and hospitality market with one word: dynamic.
“You have the two airports, plus the areas that are close to Manhattan,” he said. “You almost have three different types of hotel markets in one.”
Real Hospitality Group (RHG) manages seven hotels in the borough, ranging from familiar brands to independent and boutique hotels. Though the company has only been around since 2010, they started with a hotel in Long Island City, now a booming area for development thanks in large part to its proximity to Manhattan.
“We’re literally seeing an explosion of stuff along the waterfront in Long Island City,” Zayas said. “Literally one or two stops, you’re in Manhattan. It’s five to 10 minutes.”
Another attraction is the view of the Manhattan skyline from the other side of the East River. Zayas said Long Island City hotels are starting to add “Manhattan View” to their names, just to give people an idea of what to expect.
Another area that is hot is Flushing, sandwiched between LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. RHG operates two hotels in the area, including the Parc Hotel.
“We have a very large following from China at that property,” he said. “The interesting thing about Queens is that each area has its own demand. Flushing has its own demand now because of all of its businesses. The neighborhood there draws its own travelers of people who want to go and stay in Flushing.”
Zayas noted that each hotel they operate is unique, offering “something for everybody.” Some travelers are brand-specific, he said, and they like to earn points while traveling.
Others, including many international visitors, tend to gravitate toward independent hotels because they have their own style and aesthetic that “gives them a more authentic feel of the New York experience,” he said.
The hotel executive said the next hot market could be in Astoria or Sunnyside, which border Long Island City and are served well by mass transit.
RHG has projects on the horizon in Harlem, NoMad, the Financial District and Brooklyn. But Zayas is keeping an eye on Queens too.
“We’re just happy to be a part of the growth and happy to be integrated into the neighborhood that our hotels are located in,” he said. “That’s the most fun part, seeing a neighborhood grow and develop, hiring local and welcoming people.”