NEW YORK, N.Y. – HX: The News last checked in with Christian Brosius in July 2021. As general manager of The Moxy Times Square in midtown Manhattan (plus two other New York Moxy properties), Brosius has seen “ghost town” Manhattan transform back into the Big Apple.
In Summer 2021, Brosius enthused: “The overall feeling in the city is that we are coming back. Weekends are sell-outs across the board. Branded and non-branded hotels in every neighborhood are doing pretty well. It’s all good news.”
Fast forward to March 2023 and Brosius is unequivocal. “The pandemic mindset is over,” he says. “The bar is crowded with people standing shoulder to shoulder. People thought we would no longer have buffets and people would stop shaking hands. However, all of that is back. People have a relatively short memory.”
HX: The News caught up with Brosius three years after the start of the pandemic upended the hotel industry, a time when various issues came under heavy scrutiny.
HX: The News: How bad is the hotel labor shortage these days?
Brosius: The labor situation for us has stabilized, but like so many other industries, hotels are finding it difficult to find and keep good people. It’s the same with plumbers, skilled trades, and other manual labor.
HX: The News: How best should hotels compete with Airbnb and Vrbo?
Brosius: If you are just offering a commodity of a bed and a bathroom, AirBnB and Vrbo are a threat. But here in New York, we are offering an experience. We have bars, amenities, and extremely convenient locations that are ideal for tourism or business travel. Vrbo likes to say that you have the whole place to yourself, but that also means you have to do everything yourself.
HX: The News: How much of the pandemic mindset is still with us today?
Brosius: The pandemic mindset is over. The bar is crowded with people standing shoulder to shoulder. People thought we would no longer have buffets and people would stop shaking hands. However, all of that is back. People have a relatively short memory.
HX: The News: What did the hotel industry learn from the pandemic?
Brosius: Owners realized that this is a volatile industry. Situations can change within society that affect occupancy rates and how people congregate. No one saw the rise of Zoom and that affects business travel. We are up the street from the Javits and we are seeing plenty of enthusiasm for the in-person events taking place at the convention center.