Big Island lagging in hotel occupancy
By OSKAR GARCIA
HONOLULU — Hotel occupancy on Oahu is back to levels seen at the peak of Hawaii’s tourism industry in 2005, while Maui, Kauai and the Big Island still haven’t fully recovered from the Great Recession, according to a new analysis.
An analysis by Hospitality Advisors LLC says hotel occupancy on Oahu was 85 percent during the first eight months of 2013, the same level seen in 2005 and well up from a low of 72 percent in 2009.
The Honolulu-based hospitality consulting firm says occupancy was 78 percent statewide from January through August, including 75 percent on Maui, 63 percent on the Big Island and 71 percent on Kauai.
While occupancy has returned to peak levels on Oahu, the rate is 5 percentage points behind 2005 levels on Maui and Kauai, and 9 percentage points behind on the Big Island.
Hotels are generally more crowded on Oahu than on other islands because of the volume of tourists and flights. Oahu includes the state’s most popular tourist area in Waikiki, while many flights to neighbor islands from the mainland U.S. and international markets require a stop in Honolulu.
Analysts say occupancy is expected to grow 2.7 percentage points statewide in 2014, to 81.1 percent. At the same time, average daily room rates are expected to go up 8.1 percent to $249 per night in 2014.
Hospitality Advisors says one night in an average hotel room in 2014 will cost $233 on Oahu, $295 on Maui, $242 on Kauai and $231 on the Big Island.
The analysis says Hawaii tourism recovered quickly in 2013 because of pent-up demand from domestic markets and expanding international flights, but that pent-up demand “has run its course.”
The firm says it expects a strong first quarter in 2014, but concerns are growing about the market softening after that.
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