Tourism is a-booming in New York City. Starting with Mayor Giuliani’s quality of life push and continued with Mayor Bloomberg’s soft-spot for the service-sector, tourism has never been bigger. In 2012, New York City broke its all-time visitor record with more than 52 million visitors, up 44% since 2002. The city also houses almost 600 hotels, up 39% since 2006, which employ over 44,000 hotel workers.
To help provide policy-makers and industry professionals with a better understanding of the trends and impacts of the New York City hotel industry, the New York City Labor Market Information Service (NYCLMIS) at the CUNY Graduate Center released a report on March 12th, in conjunction with the Deputy Mayors’ Workforce Collaborative. Some of the report’s major highlights include: There are three major organizations which represent hotelier interests within New York City,
- NYC & Company – a private, non-profit member-based organization which is the official marketing organization for the city and represents 2,000 businesses from various segments of the tourism industry.
- Hotel Association of New York City – a private, professional trade association, dating back to 1878, and represents 260 hotels in the city.
- New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO – an umbrella organization of several affiliated local unions, representing approximately 28,000 hotel employees.
There is an internal differentiation between union and non-union sectors of the hotel industry as well. Non-union hotels are generally smaller, limited-service hotels, and have lower wages and employee benefits than in unionized hotels. Unionized hotels provide higher benefits, improved safety protections, have lower turnover rates than non-union hotels. Other trends in the report include:
- Guests are more discerning and demanding, and are able to see reviews and comments of others on online travel sites.
- Limited-service hotels are increasing
- Food, beverage, and laundry services are increasingly contracted out
- Hotels are more commonly adjusting prices on a daily basis using advanced market analytics
- Online booking and travel aggregators continue to increase, and an increase in the use of mobile devices for reservations, bookings, and communications
- Guests priorities now include high speed internet
- Continued growth of a citywide informal accommodation sector, which is now estimated to include approximately 20,000 illegal hotel rooms.
- NYC is predicted to increase total visitors to 55 million by 2015
While only about 20% of New York City visitors are international in origin, they are estimated to represent about 50% of tourism-related revenue as they tend to stay longer and spend more per capita than domestic travelers. Canada and the United Kingdom represent the greatest share of international travelers, but Brazil, Russia, China, Australia, India, and Mexico have seen some of the biggest increases since 2000. New York City is also the most active hotel investment market in the country, with approximately 50% of all acquisition volume in the City driven by Real Estate Investment Trusts, which are bought and sold like stocks in major exchanges. The effect of this trend is that the ownership structure of the hotel industry is changing, with only 22% of Manhattan hotel rooms owner-operated. The resulted in NYC hotel room inventory growing 35% between 2000 and 2011 to at total of more than 87,000 rooms.