Low-End Hotels Are Still Doing Business During the Pandemic

In a global crisis, people still need a place to crash

motel 6
Economy hotel are still open to guests amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hotels are closed indefinitely, right? Well, not quite. While ritzier hotels around the country have shuttered as business trips, vacations and weddings are canceled or postponed until further notice, New York magazine reports that more economical hotels are actually still housing guests.

It’s far from business as usual, with industry data provider STR reporting U.S. hotels averaged 22 percent occupied during the week ending April 4. But those numbers do mean that some hotel rooms are still open and hosting guests at a time when it seems like the entire hospitality industry has shut down completely.

According to New York, those rooms tend to be in economy hotels like Holiday Inn and Motel 6, and they tend to house guests seeking shelter for various virus-adjacent reasons. First responders and truckers are still at work and may be in need of economical lodging, while other guests may be seeking privacy and separation from others in their household in an inexpensive hotel room as financial uncertainty looms.

“It’s mostly local,” Z.B. Mohan, the general manager of the Holiday Inn Express JFK Airport, told New York. “Maybe someone in the family wants to quarantine or stay away from family. Some people are stuck from the airport, missing connecting flights because they arrive at the airport and the connecting flight is canceled.”

The days of lavish getaways at luxury hotels may be behind us, but in times of uncertainty and chaos, many people still need a place to crash.

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