More bad news for New York State’s hospitality industry. The results of a new national survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members show a hotel industry teetering on the precipice of disaster, with 68 percent of hotels having less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time, and 74 percent of respondents saying that they will be forced to lay off additional employees without further government aid. (The AHLA conducted the survey of hotel industry owners, operators and employees from September 14-16, with more than 1,000 respondents taking part in it.)
In addition to those data above, half of hotel owners responded that they are in danger of foreclosure by their commercial real estate debt lenders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than two-thirds of hotels (or 67 percent) report that they will only be able to last six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels without a further bailout.
All depressing data aside, at least one local hotel is getting creative in its attempt to stay afloat. On November 1, Saratoga’s Pavilion Grand Hotel will transition from a hotel to a luxury apartment complex, offering corporate and private guests the ability to rent one- and two-bedroom apartments (and larger) for a minimum of one week or longer—with the emphasis being on longterm rentals. “We will adapt our business model to reflect our ability to adapt to the changing environment that the hotel world is now in,” says Susanne Simpson, general manager and director of hospitality division at the six-year-old hotel. “We feel that we will be able to better serve clients and guests in a unique upscale apartment style atmosphere. We are excited about what this change may bring to us and the new services we can provide.”
The decision was made following the double-whammy of the pandemic lockdown, which forced the hotel to lay off 50 percent of its staff in March, and Saratoga’s summer to forget, during which Saratoga Race Course went spectator-less and the classical and Live Nation seasons at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center were both canceled.