US Mainland & Canadian Visitors Continue to Fuel Hawaii's Double Digit Recovery Rate In Room Revenue Through First Four Months of the Year

Mainlanders raise isle hotel occupancy

Japanese arrivals slump 23.5 percent, but Canada and the U.S. take up the slack

By Kristen Consillio
Article from: Star-Advertiser

More visitors from the mainland and Canada are traveling to Hawaii, while Japanese arrivals have slumped by 23.5 percent.

Mainland visitors helped boost statewide hotel performance in April despite a sharp decline in tourists from Japan.

Although Japanese arrivals plunged 23.5 percent in the first full month since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, statewide hotel occupancy climbed 3.2 percentage points to 68.5 percent in April, according to a report released today by Hospitality Advisors LLC.

A 10 percent increase from the U.S. West and a 33.7 percent boost from Canada — driven in part by a late Easter holiday that shifted spring break into April, and 7,500 visitors to Waikiki for an American Academy of Neurology convention — more than offset declines in the Japanese market, the report said.

“The timing was just good. There’s just enough strength in other markets not affected by the 3/11 event,” said David Carey, president and chief executive officer of Outrigger Enterprises Group. The Japanese decline “definitely affected us, but not as much as we thought. We’re fortunate.”

Room rates statewide rose by 8.5 percent over the previous year to $191.26, while revenue per available room — considered the best measure of hotel performance — jumped 13.8 percent to $131.01.

Oahu hotels reported the highest occupancy rates at 74 percent, or 4.4 percentage points higher than a year ago. Properties on Maui saw a 2.5 percentage point increase year-over-year at 69.2 percent, while Hawaii island hotels were flat at 54.6 percent and Kauai hotels were 57.8 percent full, up 3.4 percentage points.

The increased occupancy was welcomed, but the decline in high-spending Japanese tourists had an impact.

“From a revenue standpoint it hurt our restaurant business and hurt the traditional buying of some of our higher-priced rooms, but we’re happy in the fact we gained some share of the U.S. market that were able to offset the declines,” said Keith Vieira, senior vice president of operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts-Hawaii & French Polynesia.

The average daily room rate on Oahu was $162.43, 12.2 percent higher than last year. Maui room rates jumped 13.2 percent to $259.30 but decreased by 13.9 percent on Hawaii island to $172.16. Rates on Kauai rose 9.2 percent to $207.01.

Revenue per available room, known as RevPar, soared 19.3 percent to $120.20 for Oahu hotels due to gains from the mainland, Canada and group business, according to the report. Maui’s RevPar jumped 17.5 percent to $179.44, while Hawaii island’s RevPar dropped 13.9 percent to $94. RevPar for Kauai hotels rose 16 percent to $119.65.

“The U.S. mainland and Canadian markets continue to show pent-up demand that has been fueling Hawaii’s double-digit recovery rate in room revenue through the first four months this year,” Joseph Toy, Hospitality Advisors president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.