The four hotels put out of commission by the September 11 attacks— the Marriott World Trade Center, Marriott World Financial Center, Millennium Hilton, and Embassy Suites Hotel New York City—represented close to 4 percent of Manhattan’s total lodging inventory, according to a recent report from Ernst & Young.
But things are starting to look up for the beleaguered New York hospitality industry. While no plans have been announced on the possibility of rebuilding the destroyed Marriott World Trade Center, and the Millennium Hilton’s reopening date is dependent on Ground Zero cleanup progress, two Ritz-Carlton Hotels, a Best Western, and the Westin New York at Times Square, along with a Residence Inn by Marriott and a Mandarin Oriental, are on schedule to open by the end of 2002. Add to this the Marriott Financial Center, which reopened in January, and the Embassy Suites Hotel New York City, which is scheduled to open before year’s end, and the city’s room supply should get close to its pre-9/11 room inventory levels.
Which begs the question: If you build it, will they come? According to an NYC & Company-sponsored study, the city lost an estimated $7 to $13 billion in travel and tourist dollars in the fourth quarter of 2001, which represents 6.8 percent to 11.7 percent of the original $102 billion projected for the 2001 to 2003 time frame. According to Ernst & Young, the chance of occupancy rates leaping back to the city’s record 2000 levels will depend on redevelopment initiatives at Ground Zero, New York’s promotional efforts, and what happens development-wise in other New York City districts.
In the meantime, concerned representatives of the city’s meeting and event community have formed the NYC & Company Meeting and Event Coalition, which aims to bring events back to the city. A 24-hour response team has been formed to help. The group will arrange exclusive New York moments, such as having a Broadway star greet your group, getting your group to play on the Knicks court at Madison Square Garden, or creating a Times Square multi-screen welcome to the city. For more details, contact Greg Gibadlo, vice president of convention development at NYC & Company, at (212) 484-1218, or e-mail email@example.com. —Sue Pelletier and Andrea Graham