I hesitated before writing this article because as I said in previous content, solidarity and unity in the sex industry is unfortunately minimal or even non-existent.
The Coronavirus challenges us all and forces us to accept a harsh reality: many things will change after the Covid-19 and the sex industry will not be excluded and will be forced to make certain changes in which case, some will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy or quickly convert into something else. Our disunity weakens us further and exposes us to further accentuated marginalization of our industry.
This article is mainly for apartment Managers like me. To all these men and women who are doing business in the German part of Switzerland and who provide private, legal apartments to women, men, transsexuals or traverstis who have chosen to sell their sexual services for money in a country where prostitution is legal and regulated.
Those who manage this apartment rental activity in a legal and transparent way may have a chance to see the end of the tunnel provided that they have enough cash flow to compensate for the total lack of income to which they have been confronted since mid-March 2020. Those who operate on a small scale (I am referring here to those who manage one or two apartments at most three) will also be able to get out of the game if the location of their apartment (s) is strategic and if they did not already have large debts before the Covid-19 paralyzed their operations. Managers of medium-sized apartments with high fixed costs, no money on the side and who have always worked mainly “under the table” are the ones who will have the hardest time coping with the crisis that awaits us.
As for the erotic studios, contact bars, Gentlemen Clubs and Swinger Clubs, I’m not even talking about it. For them, the current situation is even worse. Indeed, the Coronavirus directly targeting the “masses”, it inevitably condemns the concept on which these various places of sexual entertainment are based which, unless they are financially very solid, will be heavily impacted by the post-Covid-19 era which will force some to close their doors permanently.
However, those who manage independent/private apartments are not necessarily in a better situation. Many of us (included myself) are small businesses, sometimes with a maximum of one or two employees. Banks often refuse to lend us money because we are in an industry that is bad for their image. For my part, when I created TheVelvetRooms in 2017, I suffered 5 bank refusals that wanted nothing to do with this industry. Without the support of a bank today, how can small businesses like ours survive?
For those who have always paid taxes, who have savings, who can count on a bank that trusts them and on an experienced accountant who has contributed to their expansion and / or stability, the future may still look difficult. Being self-employed, one will not escape a considerable loss of income and whether one likes it or not, things will be different after Covid-19. We will face problems that did not exist before or, although present, did not constitute a particular danger to our way of working.
It had already become difficult to make money by renting apartments (because despite common opinion, fixed costs are very high in Switzerland and apartments are rarely occupied all year long. An empty apartment is a loss of considerable weekly income), it will be even more so in the months to come and here are 4 big problematics that make me think so:
The loss of current apartments
Managers who have been unable to pay their rent since March 16, 2020 are in a fragile position. Not only will the prosecution office penalize them, but the property owners may also evict them. Evicting someone is certainly not that easy in Switzerland and often takes months or sometimes years but tensions with the owner are never positive and if you cannot pay what you own them, debts at the office of prosecutions will officially pile up. An apartment manager cannot afford to have debts as this will make it very difficult for him/her to expand and therefore acquire more flats. Generally, in the German part of Switzerland, if you have debts, you are unlikely to get the apartment or the commercial premises that you want and if you are a foreigner working in this industry, the obstacles are even bigger.
Harder to attract girls
Do not think that the temporary closure of studios, contact bars and Gentlemen’ Clubs will necessarily increase the number of girls who wish to rent your apartments. Why?
Because 80% of the girls working in the German part of Switzerland come from Eastern Europe. These potential girls (willing to rent your places) cannot currently travel to Switzerland before June 13, 2020 (circulation at the Swiss borders is currently limited). This excessively heavy dependence on foreign “labor” handicaps certain Managers who, until now, certainly thought more in terms of quantity than quality. Girls already present in the country (Swiss citizens or holding a Swiss work permit and living permanently in Switzerland) are often more demanding regarding the working environment, the reputation of the place which they agree to work in. Those who are more “detached” with Switzerland generally give much less importance to the space they rent to offer their sexual services. Wouldn’t it be the time now to turn more on the ladies present at the local scale instead of going to seek them “elsewhere”? Managers whose tenants are mainly girls from Eastern Europe will not be able to count on this provenance, at least not before the end of June, 2020. In the meantime, their apartments remain empty. But it is not the only reason…
Airbnb apartments and Hotels will become more attractive
Don’t think that when the borders reopen, the girls will run to your apartments … Not necessarily. Why? Because Airbnb apartments and hotels which will certainly take between 6 months and a year (or even longer) before recovering from this crisis will have lost so much money that they will undoubtedly drop their prices drastically (this is already the case today). In case you did not understand it yet, the year 2020 is already a lost year (with negative income) for Swiss tourism. A real disaster !
We can therefore expect to see girls who, in certain cases without a work permit and regardless on the legal aspect of the thing, will start to rent private apartments or hotel rooms at prices more competitive than the apartments that we, Managers legally put at their disposal. Those girls who will have not worked for months will also try to spend as little money as possible in a room/apartment rental. Some of them obviously take the risk of being denounced or expelled, but one can very well imagine that in times of crisis, private apartment owners and hotel managers who have already lost too much money will choose to turn a blind eye to this exceptional situation and still let these girls work without disturbing them… not being able to count on tourists this year.
Erotic studios may turn into rooms rentals
Although we are all affected by this crisis, it seems that our compatriots and managers of erotic studios and erotic clubs are even more affected.
In recent years, the trend has been towards private apartments where independent Escorts prefer to work. The ideal for an Escort is to have a whole apartment for herself so she has her peace and true intimacy with her clients. The second option, although less comfortable but still acceptable, is to share an apartment with a another girl … But the vast majority of the time, the available apartments are to be shared with at least three other girls and / or TS who often do not know each other. As soon as you have more than one girl in an apartment, it is not private anymore. A place with more than two girls under the same roof is a brothel. No matter if each girl is renting her separate room. It is still a brothel with no privacy for the Gentlemen who cares about the surroundings he is in and a high risk of meeting someone he knows in the other room of that same apartment. Far from being the ideal context (to receive a Gentleman looking for calm and discretion), some girls will choose this option because many oft hem don’t care, especially if the price of the room she rents is rather low.
This is the new niche that many erotic clubs and studios are tapping. They begin to rent the rooms of their establishments for a week at least or for a whole month at a competitive price. Girls will be able to work there as Independent Escorts and not on commission/percentage anymore. Why this trend? Because not only do these erotic studios not know when they will actually be allowed to reopen, but in addition, even when they finally can reopen, they are not sure if the demand for these kind of places will be as strong as it used to. Maybe among the sex workers, but what about the customers? For sanitary, safety and hygienic reasons, one can expect that after Corona and for an indeterminated period of time, people will privilege limited contacts, preferably with one Escort at a time and rather in a private context. I will not be surprised to see an increase in rooms for rent in former Gentlemen’s Clubs or Erotic Studios … Which is clearly an additional competition for those who have been established in this market for years.
What can be done, then ?
This lockdown forces us to face a situation in which none of us has been prepared. It forces us to think differently and be proactive if we are to survive the crisis that awaits us. But we can choose not to be spectators or victims of what is happening and that will shake our industry and change its codes. I think that if we, apartment Managers became united towards the same common objective, we could easily and quickly turn this situation to our advantage… I will be delighted to have your opinions on this situation and invite you to contact me to discuss it. Apartments’ Managers and owners, by exchanging our ideas, we could certainly find a strategy and a solution, together.
See you soon! 🙂
Janet for TheVelvetRooms