By Andrea Grymes
February 17, 2021
A big television and radio ad campaign started Wednesday from the city’s struggling hotel industry.
Owners and workers are asking Mayor Bill de Blasio for help – but will he offer it?
CBS2’s Andrea Grymes has this exclusive follow up to a story we first brought you last month.
Patrick Denihan walks into his once-bustling hotel lobby, but these days it’s eerily quiet.
“It’s really sad. It’s sad,” Denihan said.
Three generations of Denihans have operated hotels in New York for more than 50 years. They’re now up to four, including The Benjamin in Midtown.
Pre-COVID they employed some 700 people. Now it’s down to 130.
“These are all families that I and my family know well because they’ve worked with us for many years and we just can’t afford to bring them back,” Denihan said.
The Denihans have managed to stay open, but so many others have not.
“Hotels are closing all over New York and without help from City Hall, we will lose thousands of jobs and billions in tourism dollars and tax revenue,” is a line in the new advertisement by the Hotel Association of New York City.
That new TV and radio ad campaign just launched, begging the mayor to help their struggling industry. The Association says so far, some 200 of 700 hotels have closed.
“At this point, there are about 10,000-12,000 workers working out of what was 50,000,” the Association’s president and CEO Vijay Dandapani said. “That’s it.”
Hotels say a huge roadblock is the 18% interest penalty the city charges when they’re late on property tax payments. They want the mayor to lower or eliminate it.
“We gotta protect the hospitality industry, so we’ll look at all options and I’ll have more to say on that soon,” de Blasio said. “But we also have to make sure we continue to get the revenue we need to serve the people of this city.”
The mayor believes tourists will start coming back to New York this summer. But the Hotel Association says more of their sales actually come from business travelers, conferences and conventions, and bringing that back will take longer.