NYC Hotel Industry Launches Media Ad Campaign Asking Mayor For Help

New York City's hotel industry, crippled for nearly a year now by the pandemic, is asking Mayor Bill de Blasio for help, launching a television and radio ad campaign to broadcast their pleas; CBS2's Andrea Grymes reports.

Video Transcript

- The city's hotel industry, crippled for nearly a year now by the pandemic, started a television and radio ad campaign today, an SOS. Hotel owners and employees are asking Mayor de Blasio for help, but will he offer it?

We first brought you this story last month. Tonight, CBS2s Andrea Grymes has this exclusive follow up.

ANDREA GRYMES: Patrick Denihan and walks into his once bustling hotel lobby, but these days it's eerily quiet.

PATRICK DENIHAN: It's really sad. It's sad.

ANDREA GRYMES: Three generations of Denihans have operated hotels in New York for more than 50 years. They're now up to four, including The Benjamin here in Midtown. Pre-COVID, they employed some 700 people. Now it's down to 130.

PATRICK DENIHAN: These are all families that I and my family know well because they've worked with us for many years. And, you know, we just can't-- we can't afford to bring them back.

ANDREA GRYMES: The Denihans have managed to stay open, but so many others have not.

- But hotels are closing all over New York. And without help from City Hall, we will lose thousands of jobs and billions in tourism dollars and tax revenue.

ANDREA GRYMES: A new TV and radio ad campaign just launched from the Hotel Association of New York City, begging the mayor to help their struggling industry. Some 200 out of 700 hotels have closed.

VIJAY DANDAPANI: At this point, there are about 10,000 to 12,000 workers working out of what was 50,000. So--

ANDREA GRYMES: That's it?

VIJAY DANDAPANI: Yeah, that's it.

ANDREA GRYMES: Hotels say a huge roadblock is the 18% interest penalty the city charges when they're late on property tax payments. They want the mayor to lower or eliminate it.

BILL DE BLASIO: But we got to protect the hospitality industry, so we'll look at all options and I'll have more to say on that soon. But we also have to make sure that we continue to get the revenue we need to serve the people of this city.

ANDREA GRYMES: The mayor believes tourists will start coming back to the city this summer. The Hotel Association, though, says the bulk of their business comes from business travelers, conferences, and conventions, and bringing all of that back will take longer.

In Midtown, Andrea Grymes, CBS2 News.