New Jersey hotel owners say they are willing to sell to tourists
By ERIC SELMAN and RICHARD FOSTERAssociated PressNEW JERSEY (AP) New Jersey hotels have been selling at record prices to tourists, and they’re struggling to maintain that level of demand amid a national recession that has hurt sales of everything from hotel rooms to hotel rooms.
In some cases, those hotels have closed, making it harder for their operators to sell rooms.
But the hotel industry is facing a crisis that could have broader ramifications, such as the impact on tourism, which is a key driver of the state’s economy.
Tourism, which has fallen from a peak of nearly $4.7 billion in 2015 to $2.3 billion in 2017, is down nearly 12% in the past year, according to an Associated Press analysis of hotel data from the National Association of Realtors.
That’s not good news for hotels, which have been trying to stay afloat and have faced pressure to cut costs to stay competitive.
Hotel operators say the crisis has hit them harder than most other sectors.
They are seeing hotel rooms in some areas being more expensive than they are used to and the prices being passed on to customers.
The hotels are losing more money than they’re making, said Bob Johnson, the president of Johnson & Johnson.
Hotels also are struggling to keep up with the demand for rooms.
The state’s hotel industry lost $1.2 billion in 2016, the most recent year for which there are data.
The decline is even more dramatic when you compare it to other states that saw declines, such for the pharmaceutical industry.
New Jersey had the highest number of closings of any state last year.
The hotel industry has been a major driver of New Jersey’s economy and helped generate $2 billion a year in state revenue, about 3% of the $12.2 trillion economy, according in a 2017 study from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.
But hotel owners in New Jersey have struggled to keep pace with rising demand.
HotEL.com, a popular website that sells and rent out rooms in New York, Florida, and other cities, has seen a steady drop in sales in recent months, to $1,000 from $4,000, according a survey by the online hotel company.
Some of the owners said they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few years.
The average number of rooms on the website has dropped by nearly 20% since March, to 2,000.
Many have taken to renting rooms out to others to save money.
The companies have also faced a decline in bookings, which the industry calls “hotel sales.”
Hotel Booking, a New Jersey-based website that provides information about hotel bookings and allows users to buy or sell rooms, reported last month that it had lost $3.6 million in 2016.
The website did not say how many of the rooms on its website had been sold, but it said it has seen an overall decline of more than 10% in bookable rooms.
The state’s largest hotel chain, Hotel Renaissance, has reported a decline of about 20% in hotel bookable room volumes.
Hotell, which operates about 2,300 hotels across the state, said it expects its hotel business to fall by at least 15% this year, as fewer guests book hotels because of the economic slowdown.
The company is already feeling the pinch, as the number of people who are staying at a hotel dropped by about 1.4% last year to about 1,200.
Hotes operators have to find more room to fill, and have had to make changes to some of their rooms to keep customers.
Hoteland said last month it was working to change the layout of rooms at some of its hotels to improve the availability of rooms.
Hotels also have been working to make their rooms more welcoming, such changing the lighting to match the decor of their hotel.
The changes were part of a plan to get rooms booked, but also make room accessible.
HotELS, a unit of Hilton Worldwide Holdings, said the economic downturn has had a major impact on its business.
The hotel company has lost about $2 million this year and expects that to continue this year.
Hilton declined to provide an analysis of the impact of the recession on the company’s bottom line.
Hotelnights, which runs hotels and resorts in New Orleans, said last week it has had to cut staff and cut back on events to keep revenue up.
The business has lost nearly $300,000 this year due to the recession, and is expected to lose another $400,000 in the second half of this year as well.
The decline in hotel room sales has affected the companies profits.
Hotel Bookings reported last year that revenue had fallen by 6.5% in 2016 to $4 billion, about 2% from $5.9 billion in the previous year.
HotELS expects that number to fall to 1.8% this coming year