T&E Cost Reduction — Goldman Style

Earlier in the month, The Wall Street Journal (registration and subscription required) published a rather humorous piece that looked at the impact of reduced travel budgets on the hotel stays of Goldman Sachs employees. According to the story, Goldman's out of town employees must now slum it at the Embassy Suites rather than enjoying the "plusher digs" of the Ritz or Carlyle. "Cost-cutting and government oversight mean finding out how the other half lives," the authors suggest. But, "Staying at the Embassy Suites Hotel in lower Manhattan has its perks: The nightly manager's happy hour features free beer and popcorn. Flash a room key and earn a seat at the complimentary all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and a 10% discount at the Chevy's Mexican-style restaurant next-door." The hotel offers Goldman employees a corporate rate of $250 per night vs. what was most likely $300-$450 (my estimates) for previous corporate discounted options at plusher haunts.

So how does slumming it at a more plebian place compare to previous Goldman accommodations? "Ritz guests luxuriate in 400-thread-count Frette linens made of 100% Egyptian cotton, while at the Embassy Suites guests sleep on 250-thread-count Hilton Hotel-brand sheets made of a 60/40 cotton-poly blend." I checked on Trip Advisor and found one review that called the place Expensive Yet Strangely Down market. Perhaps, but Goldman employees are losing perks worse than missing out on the Ritz. The Journal notes that "Goldman has found other ways to pinch pennies. Goldman people working late can only put in for $20 in dinner costs; the old limit was $25. If Goldman employees want to take a hired car home, they have to wait until 10 p.m., an hour later than before. The firm recently slashed the number of computer printers at its New York headquarters, frustrating employees who now have farther to walk in order to retrieve pitch books."

Jason Busch

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