By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
The International travel ban was finally lifted, opening up the U.S. to tourism. For dozens of Big Apple hotels though, it may already be too late.
As reported by the NY Post, there are some 30 more hotels in New York City that are in danger of going permanently out of business or being sold. Since the pandemic began its course, numerous famous hotels were forced to permanently close, including, the landmark Roosevelt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal, the Excelsior Hotel on the Upper West Side and the Hotel Pennsylvania, opened in 1919 across from Madison Square Garden, formerly the fourth largest hotel in the city, will soon be demolished. There are many more, smaller hotels, which have not yet been reopened and which may never open again. The list of these ailing hotels, as compiled by GAM Hospitality Advisors, reportedly includes posh boutiques including: The Hudson in Midtown, opened in 2000 by Ian Schrager; the Paramount, which is a Times Square landmark; the Avalon, which is near the Empire State Building; and the Roger hotel on Madison Ave.
“The burdens that have been put on them by the lack of tourism over the last 20 months and by the city and the labor union, will likely result in their permanent closure,” said GAM Hospitality president Geoffrey Mills. The hotels listed have not confirmed their intent to close. The Paramount hotel, which was completely renovated in 2019, and the Roger are still slated to open next year, as per their respective websites.
Since last week, tourists have been streaming in, but it has been mostly for the weekends, with business travelers still just a trickle of what had been. Last Wednesday, the occupancy rate was only 63 percent, compared with the “low 90s” on that date in 2019, as per Jan Freitag, National Director of Hospitality Analytics for CoStar Group.
The city’s tourism bureau, NYC & Company, does not expect business travel to recover fully until 2025, said spokesman Chris Heywood. Currently, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center’s calendar for 2022 lists only about 17 trade shows, as opposed to the roughly 175 shows it hosted annually pre-pandemic. “The calendar is fluid and changes daily,” commented a Javits spokesman.
Last month Mayor Bill de Blasio passed a bill forcing large closed hotels to pay laid-off employees $500 a week beginning Nov. 1 for at least six months, if it laid off over 75 percent of its employees. The Hotel Association of NYC sued the city, contesting the law further burdens the belligerent industry.