February 10, 2020 05:00 AM

New York City has long been a destination for tourists around the world, and its hospitality sector is vital to keeping it that way. In recent months, the five-star sector has thrived and providers of mid-range accommodations have had to raise their game to stay relevant.

To gain insight into where the sector is heading, Crainʼs Content Studio recently spoke with Nicky Unkles, vice president of Lehrer Cumming, the East Coast project management division of the international project and cost management firm Cumming. Unkles has been a leader in project management services within the construction industry for more than 15 years. In addition to managing major projects in New York City, he has led hotel developments in South Florida, the Caribbean and the UK.

As vice president, Unkles is responsible for aligning with hotel brands and operators to drive all facets of the design and construction process – from planning and feasibility, to scheduling, cost estimating, permitting and closeout.

Crainʼs: What key trends have you seen in New York Cityʼs hospitality market during the past year?

Nicky Unkles: Weʼve seen a continued slowdown in the middle-market hospitality sector this past year, but the shortage of true five-star accommodations has created a significant demand for the sector and will continue to keep it hot for the near future. This is partially due to the hospitality market overusing the term “luxury” in recent years when describing accommodations.

Social responsibility is a trend that has also continued to impact the build process from the very early development stages of a new hotel to a renovation redesign.

Crainʼs: What trends are you forecasting for the New York City hospitality market for 2020?

Unkles: Despite earlier concerns of a recession, the hospitality market continues to be hot, thanks in part to the continued strong growth in the true five-star hospitality sector, which will continue throughout 2020. With the com