NYC hotels fill some rooms — thanks to medical workers

National hotel occupancy rose to 23% last week as Chicago, Los Angeles gained

TRD NATIONAL /
Apr.April 22, 2020 02:45 PM
A medical worker boards a bus that transports staff to local hotels. Inset: Four Seasons on East 57th Street and the Wythe hotel in New York (background by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

A medical worker boards a bus that transports staff to local hotels. Inset: Four Seasons on East 57th Street and the Wythe hotel in New York (background by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Thanks to an influx of medical workers, New York City hotels were about one-third fuller last week than the week before — but still only one-third full.

The occupancy rate for the seven days ending April 18 was 33.3 percent, according to hospitality research firm STR. While the rate was down 64 percent from a year ago, it was up from 24.8 percent the prior week.

The Chicago and Los Angeles markets also recorded weekly bumps in their occupancy rates, which came in at 19.6 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively, per STR. In Miami/Hialeah, the figure was nearly flat from the prior week at 20.3 percent.

Nationwide, occupancy inched up to 23.4 percent from 21 percent the week before, but was down 64 percent from the same time last year, according to STR.

“Absolute occupancy and average daily rate were actually up slightly from the previous week, but it is important to state that this is not any type of early-recovery sign,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights, in a statement. “Rather, more demand can be attributed to frontline workers.”

Hotels, including the Four Seasons on East 57th Street and the Wythe Hotel, have been filling beds with healthcare workers and patients battling Covid-19. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the de Blasio administration and advocacy groups have begun renting hotel rooms to house homeless individuals, and the City Council is considering legislation to accelerate that.

The Wythe Hotel is housing local and out-of-state medical professionals, including those from New York University Langone Medical Center, who are fighting Covid-19, the hotel’s owner, Peter Lawrence said in a statement. “We are honored to support those who are on the front lines,” he added.

The hotel is providing the rooms for free in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call. Medical workers have access to the minibar and on-site laundry services. Thirty rooms are occupied, and the hotel’s workers are volunteering.

Hotels for budget-conscious travelers, such as Extended Stay America, have seen less impact from Covid-19, which has decimated the hospitality and travel industries. Blackstone and Starwood recently picked up minority stakes in the chain, which continues to fill rooms with medical and construction workers.

STR also reported that the average daily room rate for hotels across the country was $74.53 last week, down 42 percent year-over-year. And revenue per available room was $17.43, a 79 percent drop.

Write to Mary Diduch at [email protected]


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