Why are New York hotels expensive and mostly booked?

Tens of thousands of people with money fled to Florida. Broadway shows are closed until at least September. The Metropolitan Opera has turned itself into a TV channel featuring 200-year-old shows. Museums require onerous Web-based procedures to reserve tickets. The State of Liberty is closed (sometimes the best way to celebrate “liberty” is to prevent people from going where they want to go).

Why is it that a hotel room in NYC this coming weekend is $300-600/night and about half of the hotels are sold out?

(In prep for our flight to the Florida Free State, we’re going to show Manhattan to the youngsters who’ve never been there. We did actually manage to book a hotel via Orbitz. The hotel sent us a message:

… Our In-house restaurant … is currently still closed but we can direct you to nearly place to eat.

During these unprecedented times we have had to modify our operations for the duration of your stay:

• We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas and have continued the use of approved disinfectant.

• We have increased the deployment of hand sanitizers.

• Extra disinfection of high touch areas in guest rooms including light switches and door handles, remotes

• Increased cleaning frequency of public areas hourly

• Reduced paper amenities (like pads and guest directories) in rooms

For your safety and comfort, we will not be servicing your room during your stay.

So… as long as coronavirus is primarily spread via contaminated surfaces, we will be safe!

16 thoughts on “Why are New York hotels expensive and mostly booked?

  1. Those hotel cleaners have to battle NY traffic just to get to the battle & choose between eating & rent while the rest of us can write blog comments while making enough to eat & pay rent. Any deal for $300 or $3,000,000/night in whatever this week’s fiat money is worth is better than nothing.

  2. I guess cost of running hotel in NYC is way up. It might be non-profitable to run it cheaper. There may be a motel or two in Brooklyn but I suggest staying across the Hudson in NJ and driving to Manhattan – tunnel, bridge and Manhattan traffic is not what it used to be. It takes 10 minutes to cross Manhattan from East to West in a car, it used to take an hour. As for occupancy, nit sure whether it still true, from last August: “New York City: At Least 139 Hotels Are Now Homeless Shelters” https://invisiblepeople.tv/new-york-city-at-least-139-hotels-are-now-homeless-shelters/

    • Have you been to Manhattan recently? NY traffic is badically back to what it was, in my estimation.

    • Relatively recently, about a month ago. I know one large firm is partially back in the office since than but it is not likely to affect bridges/tunnels traffic.

    • Not comparable to 10, 15 or even 20+ years ago, no practical bottleneck on entries form NJ side, what used to take 30 minutes + takes under a minute now (for the past year and few months up to a month ago).

    • In Europe the #1 goal is keeping hospital utilization at a reasonable level, politicians literally don’t care about anything else. I don’t think they care about fatalities either, they just need X% free hospital beds in case they or their friends should need medical care.

      A more reasonable strategy would have been to fully vaccinate all essential workers first and tell the risk groups to isolate.

    • Tom: Thanks for the link. What if the $84/night number includes rooms rented to the city for housing the unhoused (formerly known as “homeless” formerly known as “bums”)? https://abc7ny.com/7-on-your-side-investigates-investigation-new-york-city/10447989/ says that, as of March 25, 2021, taxpayers (mostly federal ones since ultimately Biden will direct a river of federal cash to NYC?) were paying $1 million per night to house 12,000 deserving poor. That’s… $83.33 per night per person (assume that each person gets his/her/zir/their own room).

  3. I guess a lot of people who fled are deciding to rent a room and spend a couple of days walking around the haunted house, and they want things *CLEAN*. Plus, they have all those essential workers to pay now – to keep cleaning everything! Inertia! More cowbell!

    And why wouldn’t they keep sanitizing everything? This is no time to let their guard down! Not with David Leonhardt from the NYT blasting out his morning briefings, warning everyone about the “Dangerous Delta Variant.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/briefing/delta-variant-britain-covid-cases.html

    @Philg: You really should read it, particularly for his analysis of how Britain did such a tremendous job vs. the US. That’s some amazing stuff, right there.

    • By the way PLEASE, PLEASE take pictures during your trip. I am on the edge of my seat to see them.

    • One question raised by the NYT piece is why even apparent public health experts are using the term “contagious”, spread by *contact*, instead of the appropriate term “infectious”. Oh, and cases, schmases, as long as they’re not your mother: every case is someone unlikely to transmit the virus again.

    • Alex: That is a beautiful article. Thanks. The assumption that everyone should live with a #1 goal of minimizing COVID-19. “Britain has had one of the world’s most successful Covid-19 responses in recent months. … Unlike the United States, Britain was willing to impose nationwide restrictions again late last year to reduce caseloads.” (i.e., the most successful country would be one under permanent lockdown) “Thanks to these moves, Covid has retreated more quickly in Britain than in almost any other country.” (although the UK is near the top of https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/ , it can’t be the case that COVID-19 is down because it has already infected and/or killed most of the people in the UK who can be infected/killed). “Despite this success, Britain is now coping with a rise in Covid cases. … But the Delta variant is adding a wrinkle. Data suggests that it is more contagious than the original virus and more likely to infect people who have had only one shot.” (Maybe evolution is more than just a theory?) “If hospitalizations or deaths in Britain rise over the next two weeks, there will be a strong argument for pushing back the full reopening of activities. And that has obvious implications for the U.S., too. Restricting indoor activities for unvaccinated people is particularly important.” (i.e., people who don’t want to be locked down should move to Florida where nearly everything can be done outdoors!)

    • Philip, ” (Maybe evolution is more than just a theory?) “. Maybe genetic engineering is more just a theory? With the basis that you provide to support this statement you can say that Delta strain or whatever it is in reality is caused by the wrath of God. Which would better describe coronavirus pandemic response.

    • @Philg: I also loved how he chose the tiny sliver of data to present to illustrate Britain’s “triumph.” Sure, their overall death rate per million is higher – but oh, in that last month, they were so much better! It is just a beautiful illustration of “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.”

  4. The Waldorf Astoria is booked up for the weekend. Suites at Trump International are available but expensive. I just did an Expedia search and I am finding rooms at top hotels with two double beds available this weekend for $200-$300 a night. One explanation for the high prices is suggested by the Kitano’s policy of having all rooms stay vacant one night after a stay. $300 is at the low end for the Kitano, but I have heard very good things and the location is ideal. I suspect less luxurious hotels will not be as scrupulous with covid restrictions as hotels of better breeding as gilded cages which must work harder to keep their immaculate lustre bright. Do not be clever and book an out-of-the-way hotel to save some money. You will just end up spending your saved money on ubers to and from your remote hotel.

    Prices have gone through the roof for everything, so just grin and bear it and enjoy yourself. The bars and restaurants are packed. Everyone is enjoying the outdoors. The Hudson River frontage is one continuous walkable park from Battery Park to Harlem, with all sorts of amenities and entertainments along the way. Sea planes take off and land on the East River. Any ferry or boat ride is highly recommended. Central Park is still marvelous, and full of life. Wearing a mask outdoors might be recommended, not to protect against covid, but to protect against getting a contact high from all the pot smoke.

    We are currently going through a heat wave — VR World in Midtown is an air-conditioned entertainment that the kids will enjoy. A lot of venues do require advance bookings, so if there is something you really want to take the kids to, book ahead of time.

    I second Alex’s request for lots of photos.

    Bon Voyage!

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