- Craigslist is full of overpriced rooms
- With marathons cancelled, some owners may be trying to make up for their losses.
- Some owners refuse to join the race to make profits by offering rooms and facilities to those who need them.
Greedy property owners and hotel owners looking to make a quick buck off the thousands of people without power or displaced by Hurricane Sandy were exploiting people’s desperation by demanding outrageous prices for shelter.
Yesterday morning, Craigslist was full of posts about expensive rooms, with one ad promising people the luxury of a one-bedroom apartment with electricity for “only” $700 a night.
“Stay comfortable and stylish until the power comes back on,” the Post reported.
It wasn’t just Craigslist vultures. The Red Carpet Inn in Bushwick normally charges $99 for a Friday, but was asking $500 through hotels.com, according to the New York PostThe New York Palace Hotel in Midtown had also raised its rates from $100 a night to $600.
Marathon weekend is one of the busiest times of the year Hilton Garden Inn
Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel raised its prices from $100 to $600
A manager at that hotel insisted to the Post that they were not taking advantage of the consequences of the hurricane.
“We don’t charge them more,” the unidentified manager said. “It’s only because of the hurricane that we had high occupancy, and when we have high occupancy, rates go up.”
When power was restored to lower Manhattan and the New York City Marathon was cancelled, prices began to drop rapidly.
City center hotels that recently claimed to be fully booked suddenly offered rooms at prices close to their usual rates.
Until Friday, tourists trying to book rooms in New York City through a travel website were being directed to hotels in New Jersey.
Even with the opportunity to squeeze every last penny, there were still people trying to do the right thing.
A Staten Island hotel owner refused to evacuate storm victims so he could book marathon runners with reservations.
The New York City Marathon is one of the busiest weekends of the year for the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield, said owner Richard Nicotra.
But with thousands of people without power and temperatures plummeting, Nicotra turned over the rooms to storm refugees.
Vultures: Some people advertised rooms for “only” $700 a night to people displaced by Hurricane Sandy
“These are my neighbors,” Nicotra said. ABC News. ‘Am I going to throw out my neighbors who lost everything, who have nowhere to go, for someone who comes here to run a race?’
He even hosted a local resident’s wedding at the hotel. Contracts with the NYC Road Runners Club, the marathon’s official sponsor, are the lifeblood of Nicotra’s business, but his bosses still supported his decision.
Nicotra called both the club and individual guests to explain the situation, making a total of 180 guest cancellations.
“Well, they obviously weren’t happy about it,” he said. “But we asked them to watch on television what was happening in Staten Island.”
Although he was unable to offer them rooms, Nicotra promised as an alternative a free crib, free meals and a free shuttle to the starting line.
“This was bigger than all of us,” Nicotra said. “But we told them, ‘Come and we will take care of you.'”