Jeremy Poon, the vice president of operations at the Sanctuary Hotel, says the hotel’s rooftop used to be packed with travelers, pre-pandemic. Today, the majority of people checking into the hotel are locals trying to have a staycation, according to Poon.
"People who are looking for a weekend getaway, people just coming here after being stuck at home for such a long time,” Poon said. “They come, they see a new environment, a new space and they enjoy it.”
Since the pandemic hit, business has been down 70% at the hotel, which is right near Times Square. Before the pandemic, it was a hot spot for tourists.
"Currently, with international travel, we really have not seen much travel coming from the international standpoint. I feel like a lot of countries are dealing with their own safety procedures and guidelines. And, you know, with travel bans both ways, it's been kind of tough," Poon said.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a new report that shows similar declines across the city's tourism industry during the past year.
"The industry's overall economic impact fell by a whopping $60 billion in 2020, diving from $80.3 billion to $20.2 billion,” DiNapoli said.
The Sanctuary Hotel, like all hotels, had to tailor its business through the year. Not all remained open. This one offset the downturn by offering takeout throughout the whole pandemic.
Poon said, right now, 30% of his staff are back and he looks forward to the day that he can bring back all of his employees.
"It was a great team that we had and I am sure everyone misses each other. I am hoping that day will come very, very soon," Poon said.
That can all happen when it's safe for New York City to become a travel destination once again.