Hotel occupancy falls for fifth month in row
By Shayna Coleon
Advertiser Staff Writer
June brought a fifth consecutive month of occupancy declines for Hawai'i hotels, according to the latest figures released yesterday.
Island hotels filled 74 percent of their rooms last month, a drop of nearly 7.8 percent from June 2000, according to hospitality consulting firm PKF Hawai'i.
Room rates continued to rise, however, hitting a statewide average of $155.54 a night, 5 percent higher than the average rates the same month a year ago.
Driving the drop was an uncertain Mainland economy that caused a drop in visitor counts, and a continued decrease in Asian visitors that affected nearly all islands.
Moloka'i was the only island to see an increase in hotel occupancy. Maui had 77 percent of its rooms filled, a decline of 3 percentage points from last June; O'ahu hotels saw 76.4 percent occupancy, a decline of more than 7 percentage points from last June.
Kaua'i hotels posted the biggest occupancy drop: the 71 percent occupancy rate for June was an 11 percentage point decline from last year.
Maui continued to maintain the highest room rates in the state, at an average of $210.13 a night, an increase of $22 from last June. The lowest average room rate was on Moloka'i at $88.10 a night, a decrease of $2 compared to last year.
For the first six months of the year, statewide occupancy is running at 76 percent, a decline of 3 percentage points compared with the same period last year. Room rates, however, are up about $8 to $161.90 a night. Revenue per available room, a key indicator of the industry's profitability, is around $116 a night.
PKF-Hawai'i Chairman and chief executive Ernie Watari said that despite the fact that the first half of 2001 was unable to match last year's occupancy levels, the outlook for the industry is relatively positive as higher average room rates have driven an increase in revenue per available room for hoteliers.
"The recently successful Waikiki Brunch is the kind of innovative and creative program that the visitor industry needs to continue and expand to maintain competitiveness in the marketplace," Watari said. "Also, the recent announcements of renovation and reinvestment in Waikiki should also help maintain Hawai'i among the premier vacation destinations in the long term."
The PKF survey covers about 54 percent of the Islands' available rooms, and does not include properties owned by Outrigger, the largest purveyor of Waikiki accommodations. The omission of Outrigger tends to lower occupancy rates and raise average daily charges for rooms statewide and for O'ahu, analysts have said.