The Essex House is not alone changing its brand affiliation. As the recession has eased and hotel occupancy rates have improved, hotel owners have been increasingly changing their affiliations from one brand to a competitor’s — what is known in the industry as reflagging.

According to statistics from Smith Travel Research, a research firm in Henderson, Tenn., nearly 2,500 hotels were reflagged in 2011. While that represents just a 5 percent sliver of all hotel properties in the United States, it was still a 39 percent increase from 2010.

Photo Credit: View of the Essex House and Central Park. rxb / Flickr.com