Lisa Chow is the economics reporter at WNYC. She tries to explore in her stories surprising aspects of New York’s many economies—in plain view or hidden, in neighborhoods or sectors.
New York City hotels are capitalizing on the growing number of business and leisure travelers coming to the city by raising their prices. The average daily room rate in May was $252, up nearly 9 percent from the same time a year ago, according to the hotel research firm Smith Travel Research.
"The business traveler is back in full force full," said Jan Freitag, senior vice president with the firm. "The leisure traveler is back, driven by the international leisure traveler, who finds that New York City shopping is a bargain."
The U.S. dollar has fallen against the euro this year, making it cheaper for Europeans to travel to the U.S.
The city's hotel room prices, however, are still not at the levels they were in 2008 before the financial crisis hit, when they topped $300 a night.
As prices have rebounded from their lows in 2009, several new hotels have opened in the city, increasing the number of rooms available. In May, the total number of hotel rooms across the five boroughs neared 100,000 — 6 percent more than May of last year.
"Everybody and their brother wants to be owning a hotel in New York City, which is why we're seeing this huge influx of rooms available," Freitag said.