Season’s Greetings and best wishes for the New Year to all our members and their families from all of us at HANYC!
It has been a highly eventful year on many fronts for our industry with HANYC playing a significant role in the institution of a registration system for short-term-rentals known as Local Law 18. Since it took effect on September 5th, there has been an 85% drop in listings, almost of which were illegal! However, that has spurred a concerted effort by STR platforms to dilute the law which we have vigorously opposed and continue to monitor.
HANYC has been vigilant on other legislative issues affecting our industry both at the state and city level where newly elected progressive members tend to view business and industry with a negative perspective. This includes pushing back against the Wage Theft bill that, among other things, would have allowed an employee to secure a lien against his or her current or former employer’s interest in property for the value of the employee’s alleged wage claim. We have advocated for public safety policies by engaging with the Mayor and the Retail Crime Task Force in attempting to curb retail theft. We also worked with NYS state legislators to proscribe the sale of scooters without license plates as well as pushing for the registration of e-bike riders with delivery platforms.
Besides attending Somos in Puerto Rico, where we connected with numerous legislators and officials from City and State including Tom DiNapoli, Zellnor Myrie, Farah Louis, Diana Ayala, Selena Brooke-Powers, Yusuf Salaam, Ricky Da Costa to name a few, we attended a “retreat” for New York City Council Members in NYC where we engaged with the incoming class of Council Members.
Meanwhile, the industry has celebrated RevPar recovery, unadjusted for inflation, exceeding the last pre-Covid year of 2019. The robust numbers are in no small part due to over 15,000 rooms being taken up for housing migrants with another 7,000 rooms remaining closed. Apropos that, as many of you are aware, HANYC was invited to bid for the contract to house migrants in NYC hotels which was awarded due to the stellar work we did during the Covid crisis in housing people from shelters. Helping our recovery was strong growth in visitor arrivals which are slated to approach 2019 levels in 2024. However, international arrivals, which bring in 4x in revenue, lag by over 20% compared to compared to 2019 and are behind our principal gateway city competitors, Paris and London.
We are continuing our efforts to seek relief in the inordinately high real property tax burden on our industry and are actively engaged with the administration and the City Council in this regard.
With Covid restrictions lifted, HANYC held numerous in-person events on several important topics: Local Law 97, Human trafficking training, Abortion-travel risks and an address by the Fire Commissioner to name just a few. We also had fun events like our highly sought after Golf Outing, End-of-Summer celebration and the massively popular Big Apple Stars award ceremony.
HANYC’s Foundation had the best ever year for its annual Red Carpet Gala! Not only did the contributions reach an all-time high, we had Mayor Eric Adams deliver a keynote address. This marked the first time a NYC Mayor has addressed a HANYC audience in over three decades! Stay tuned for an even more spectacular event on at the InterContinental New York Barclay on April 1st 2024! The HANYC Foundation does valuable charity work, including donating monies to NYC charities like Citymeals-on-Wheels and, of course, scholarships for children of hotel employees. A visual of our many events can be seen on this link.
As in previous years, labor counsel David Rothfeld, and his team at EGS have been tirelessly working on a range of issues for the industry’s benefit from labor training to issues from the aftermath of Covid that continue to affect the industry. HANYC and EGS are closely monitoring the agreements on the labor front in other major cities which are expected to affect contract negotiations for HANYC labor members.
HANYC’s mission and successes have been highlighted in the local, national and international press with the effects of Local Law 18 being quoted and emulated worldwide. As a founding member of the Global Reform BnB, an annual event with participation of over 30 associations worldwide, we were pleased to be a principal participant at the latest iteration held in November in Washington DC that was hosted by AH&LA.
Our annual meeting on November 13th was a resounding success in terms of unprecedented in-person attendance with exclusive and proprietary insights from Mastercard, Future Partners, HotStats and PWC on the macro and micro-economic situation in NYC’s tourism industry.
I would like to close by thanking all our members, the Board and our Chair, Fred Grapstein for their steady support and active participation that enabled the successful carrying out of our initiatives over the year. I would also like to extend HANYC’s deep appreciation to the Allied members who joined our platform with a special thanks to the many who sponsored our numerous events, virtual and in-person.
We look forward to continuing to advocate strongly and effectively for the industry at City Hall, Albany and the Federal level with the help of our outstanding lobbying team at Kasirer and CMW Strategies in the coming year.
Every one of HANYC’s small and highly dedicated team of Niki Franzitta, Albert Fernandez, Neil Tai, Tamta Beriashvili, Rhea Randhawa and Alan Guan made our events and programming resoundingly successful and, of course, remain ready to respond to members’ needs.
December 24th 2023
President and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City