As people begin to travel again, they’re probably noticing that prices for many aspects of that travel have become significantly more expensive. Prices for airline tickets and rental cars have gone through the roof. You may also notice an increase in restaurant prices, especially in tourist towns.
There are many probable reasons for the increases, but I keep figuring it’s the travel industry’s way to recoup what they lost last year, when no one was traveling. And to be honest, although the extra cost hurts, when I figure how much (well, how little) we paid for travel last year, I’m not going to grump about it.
However, hotels in NYC are about to become cheaper. And it’s for a very smart reason.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced an executive order to temporarily eliminate the city’s 5.875-percent hotel room occupancy tax. The order will begin on June 1st and will remain in effect for 3 months (through August 31, 2021).
The reasoning? Tourism.
According to a press release from New York’s City Hall, the move is intended to allow hotels to potentially lower the cost of their rooms, which could, in turn, lead to increased demand and occupancy.
“As our COVID rates continue to plummet and we continue to drive a recovery for all of us, tourists will be coming back to New York City in droves. We’re ready for them,” said the mayor. “By eliminating the hotel room occupancy tax for this summer, we’re accelerating our economic recovery, saving jobs and providing relief for one of our hardest-hit industries.”
I think it’s very nice that the City of NY is doing this, but I’m not sure that the places that book hotels have gotten the message.
Joe and I are staying at the TWA Hotel for 1 night, as a stopover before we continue to Iceland in July – so right smack dab in the middle of the hotel room occupancy tax “vacation.” This is the price we’re currently paying:
That 14.75% tax is how much taxes on NYC hotels always are (here’s the breakdown – it’s the 4th example down). But that would make sense because we had made that reservation in early May, and the announcement from the Mayor’s office happened about 2 weeks later, on May 19th.
Joe had made our reservation through Booking.com (Using An OTA? Earn Extra With Shopping Portals But Be Aware of This!) so I just went to the same place and pretended to make the same reservation for the same room type, on the same night:
Hmmm…..14.75% tax is still included.
Wellllll….sometimes “New York City” means the 5 boroughs of NYC, and sometimes it just means Manhattan. Maybe the Mayor’s office was only temporarily suspending the hotel occupancy tax on hotels in the borough of Manhattan. So I used Booking.com to make a pretend reservation at a hotel in Manhattan – The Hilton Club New York.
14.75% tax is still included. Hmmm…
OK, let me try booking directly with the hotel.
The tax there reflects the elimination of the hotel occupancy tax. OK, good.
What if I book directly with another brand of hotel? Let’s try the Holiday Inn NYC on Wall Street.
Their taxes still reflect the 14.875% hotel occupancy tax. So did the Marriott Marquis.
I don’t know if the OTAs and hotels themselves just haven’t caught up yet, or they’re waiting until June 1st to reflect the new rule, or what. But frankly, if temporarily eliminating the tax is meant to be an incentive to book hotels in NYC, it might behoove the hotels in NYC (and booking companies such as Booking.com) to reflect that in their rates.
Meanwhile, if you’re planning on staying in an NYC hotel (definitely Manhattan, but potentially Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn, too) between June 1st and August 31st, make sure you’re not charged hotel room occupancy tax.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary