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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

Hotel occupancy drops for sixth straight month

 •  Pulse of state economy weakens

By Susan Hooper
Advertiser Staff Writer

July marked the sixth consecutive month of occupancy decline for Hawai'i hotels, according to figures released yesterday.

Hotels statewide filled just under 80 percent of their rooms in July, a drop of more than 3 percentage points from July 2000, according to the consulting firm PKF-Hawaii.

The average daily room rate statewide rose nearly 5 percent last month, however, to $164.33 from $156.73 in July 2000.

Daisy Aio, director of tourism consulting for PKF-Hawaii, said the increase in room rates "more than offset" the occupancy decline with respect to revenue per available room — a key indicator of the industry's profitability.

That measure increased 0.74 percent in July from the previous year, to $131.35, PKF-Hawaii said. Revenue per available room is determined by multiplying the statewide occupancy rate by the average daily room rate.

Still, Aio noted, for most of last year both room and occupancy rates were up compared to 1999. "Obviously (hotel operators) want to see revenue per available room and occupancy up — not one offsetting the other," she said.

The PKF-Hawaii survey shows that last month every island and nearly every market segment within the islands posted decreases in occupancy over July 2000.

Maui had the highest percentage of rooms filled last month, but its 83 percent occupancy rate was more than 2 percentage points below its July 2000 figure.

Kaua'i's occupancy rate last month of 80 percent was more than 4 percentage points off its July 2000 total.

Oahu also had an 80 percent occupancy rate last month, down 2 percentage points from the year before.

The occupancy rate on the island of Hawai'i was just under 75 percent in July, a slide of more than 6 percentage points from the year before.

Moloka'i hotels had the poorest showing last month, with an occupancy rate of just under 45 percent. But the Friendly Isle had the smallest drop in year-over-year occupancy rates, declining under 1 percentage point from July 2000.

For the fifth consecutive month, the Ka'anapali region of Maui achieved the highest occupancy of all the regions surveyed, with just over 88 percent of rooms filled last month.

Maui also had the highest average daily room rate last month. Its $216.66 average daily rate was up 9 percent from the island's July 2000 average daily room rate.

For the year, statewide occupancy is running at just under 77 percent, a decline of 2 percentage points from the same period in 2000. The average daily room rate through July was $162.06, up 5.38 percent from the same seven-month period the year before.

Reviewing the July figures as a whole, Aio said, "It doesn't look good.

"Especially for the short-term future, to the end of the year, we really don't see something there that will help us necessarily, with the faltering U.S. economy and stock market, and the economic crisis in Japan," she said. "It looks like the hotels are going to have a tough second half of the year."

The PKF-Hawaii survey covers about 56 percent of the state's available rooms and does not include properties owned by Outrigger, the largest provider of Waikiki accommodations. The omission of Outrigger tends to project lower occupancy rates and higher average daily charges for rooms statewide and for O'ahu, PKF analysts have said.

Reach Susan Hooper at shooper@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8064.