With Prices Down $200 Per Room, NYC Hotels Brace for More Pain

October is often New York hotels’ busiest month. Last week, occupancy was hovering under 40 percent.

(Bloomberg)—The Midtown Hilton has been closed since March. Same for The Edition, a brand new Times Square boutique. You can get a room at the Pierre, just don’t expect the full-suite of white-glove services that have made the hotel a Manhattan landmark since 1930.

Autumn in New York, a season so inviting that it inspired a jazz standard, is grim this year, with the city’s tourism market among the worst in the U.S. The pandemic has canceled live events like Fashion Week and the New York City Marathon, repelled business travelers and international visitors and blown gaping holes in a tourism market that generates $70 billion in economic activity in a typical year.

Things are better now than they were in March, the worst month in memory for the city’s hotel industry, but they’re still historically bad. At this point, more than 200 of New York’s roughly 700 hotels are closed, at least temporarily.

Across the U.S., the coronavirus is pushing hotels to the brink, putting 870,000 hotel employees out of work and raising the prospect that thousands of hotels may never reopen. It will take years for the industry to recover.

“Next year is going to be far worse than any year we’ve ever had except this one,” said Lukas Hartwich, an analyst at real estate research firm Green Street. “It’s going to be 2022 before we get back to where we were during the worst part of the last recession.”

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