Obviously, we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to COVID. But life with many people vaccinated is significantly better than before vaccines were available and it’s heartening that more and more people are starting to travel again.
Although New York City is a central place for the world of business and banking, it also gets a lot of money from tourism. And that seems to be coming back, too.
Here’s what Times Square looked like in April 2020:
The crowds still aren’t what they would be on a typical early evening in mid-September, but they’re at least closer.
Hotels in New York are, of course, also opening, and that’s a good thing. What’s even better is that roughly 59% of them DON’T HAVE RESORT FEES!
How do I know? Trip Advisor. 🙂
No, really! Since mid-2019, someone with the ID of LittleBiffOne has been keeping track of every hotel in NYC – what’s opened, what’s closed, what’s changed names, etc. – and whether or not it has a resort fee. AND they post updates to their list on a specific thread on Trip Advisor.
I had written about the list in late 2019, not knowing, of course, that COVID would happen a couple of months later, occupancy rates would plummet and many hotels would go on “pause” (to say nothing of the ones that eventually closed permanently).
Anyway, in perusing some past posts of mine not long ago, I re-discovered the post with the list, checked Trip Advisor, and was thrilled to see that the list is still active!
As of September 10th (the last update as of when I’m writing this post), there are 402 hotels that have either opened, reopened, are no longer on “pause,” or have announced as much by the end of the year. Of those, 168 have a resort fee and 234 (roughly 59%) do not.
Granted, some of those hotels are undoubtedly in seedier parts of town where, if they had the gall to charge a “resort fee,” the most it could possibly cover might be the privilege of having a pillow. Others are, I’m sure, are (still) being used as homeless shelters. But all things considered, I think just shy 60% is pretty terrific (it’s also better than what it was when we wrote about the list in late 2019. At that time, 189 hotels charged resort fees and 214 did not).
An explanation about, and link to the list can be found here.
Of course, just because a hotel is “open” doesn’t mean they’re using all of its rooms or they’ve brought back 100% of its workers. The New York Council has recently introduced a bill to help that along.
From the NY Daily News:
The new bill, which Queens Councilman Francisco Moya plans to introduce Wednesday, would target hotels where 75% or more of workers remain unemployed, or where at least 50% of rooms remain out of use.
Out-of-work employees at those essentially closed hotels would first receive $500 weekly payments for 15 weeks; payments would then increase to $1,000 a week for the next 15 weeks under the bill.
Of course, hotel owners are not thrilled with the bill; many hotels would never be able to afford that sort of severance pay based on how much (or little) revenue they’re currently getting from however many people renting their rooms. However the union that represents hotel workers (about 60% of which are still unemployed in NYC), Hotel Trades Council, thinks it’s an excellent idea.
“The goal is really twofold. The first is for the employees of that subset of hotels that have chosen just not reopen their doors anymore to have a little cushion in terms of a source of income to help put food on the table,” said HTC President Rich Maroko. “The second goal of the bill is to help incentivize those hotels that are on the fence to reopen.”
The bill, if it passed, would affect workers from about 40 hotels across the city.
Feature Photo: Sweetfancymoses / wikimedia
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary