By Michele Kayal
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawaiis luxury hotel market boomed into November, helping to bring record revenues to the states lodging industry, according to the most recent figures.
Hawaii hotel revenues for 2000 are expected to hit $2.7 billion, breaking the states record of $2.4 billion set the previous year, according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hospitality Advisors LLC.
Estimated revenues of $2.5 billion for the first 11 months of 2000 have already surpassed revenues for all of 1999, said Joseph Toy, Hospitality Advisors president.
The states poshest hotels have been hot all year, with occupancy rates driven by a robust U.S. economy and a shift of visitor patterns toward longer stays and single-island vacations.
Oahus top-scale hotels pushed past Maui in November, hitting 81 percent occupancy for the month, the report said, an increase of nearly 6 percentage points over the same month the previous year. Maui, which leads the Islands in occupancy for the year in all classes at nearly 82 percent, reported almost 79 percent of its luxury rooms full, an eight-point jump over last November.
Average room rates for Oahus prime properties hit $199, a 14 percent increase over last November. On Maui, luxury room rates came in at $268 a night for November, a $10 increase over the same period last year.
"The month was very well done, we were in the high 80s, which is a real good month," said Fred Honda, general manager of the Halekulani in Waikiki. "For us it has been a good year, far exceeding all expectations."
Honda said the International Foundation of Employment Benefit Plans conference, which brought 13,000 people to Oahu in November, contributed to the strong showing for the hotel and for the Island in general.
Meetings and conventions business was up 31 percent for the month compared to November 1999, according to the hotels report.
Toy also identified a 20 percent surge in visitors from the eastern United States as a trend driver, including about 6,000 people from Wisconsin who came when the state university played the University of Hawaii Warrior football team.
"Weve just seen a continuation of visitors coming from U.S. east," Toy said. "Even if the Wisconsin game had not occurred, we still would have had an increase."
Visitors from the eastern United States who stayed only on Oahu jumped 40 percent over last November, according to the report.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority, which sets policy for the states largest industry, has increased marketing efforts in that region of the country, making visitor cultivation from that area a primary goal.