The high-stakes game of musical chairs in brokerage continued this week as a pair of senior hotel investment sales brokers bolted from CB Richard Ellis to join principal competitor Cushman & Wakefield.

Both Thomas McConnell and Paul Fitzpatrick are in the first tier of national sales producers, according to Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE. It’s unclear if McConnell and Fitzpatrick were offered lucrative signing bonuses as an added enticement to join Cushman & Wakefield.

Historically, Cushman & Wakefield’s talent pool in the hotel sector has been remarkably thin, acknowledged Bruce Mosler, president of U.S. operations at Cushman & Wakefield, during an exclusive interview with NREI. For that reason, Mosler said, his firm is ramping up its efforts at becoming the premier hotel investment sales firm in the country.

Mosler said there is a twofold reason brokers jump from one firm to another: company culture and perceived financial stability. "For being entrepreneurial people, the brokerage world doesn’t like change. These people see [company] platforms as indigenous to what they do. If there is change, they see an opportunity to explore," said Mosler.

Just last week, CBRE snapped up three of Cushman & Wakefield’s top-performing sales brokers from its Philadelphia office.

In a prepared statement, CBRE officials wrote: "Tom McConnell and Paul Fitzpatrick of CBRE’s hotel practice in New York are long-time members of our corporate family," said Joseph Harbert, CBRE vice chairman and general manager for New York City. "We wish them well in their future careers."

BRE officials said their clients will continue to be served by the firm’s Investment Properties Institutional Group, led by Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan. The group has sold an average of more than $1 billion in New York City properties annually during the past five years.

According to McConnell’s bio, he established Insignia/ESG’s hospitality transactions practice in New York City after its merger with Hotel Partners in 1998. McConnell has cultivated several marquee clients. For example, he has provided advisory services for the Trump International Hotel in New York. Other major clients include Citicorp, Wyndham Hotels and Credit Suisse First Boston.

Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick has served as the lead broker in several deals, including the sale of the Best Western Hotel on Long Island ($21.75 million), the Gorham Hotel in New York ($23.1 million), and Castle at Tarrytown ($11 million).