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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 1, 2006

Hotels record best April ever

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i hotels broke April records for daily room rates, revenues and sales despite only a small rise in occupancy. More corporate meetings and eastbound visitors helped.

ADVERTISER LIBRARY PHOTO | May 2006

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Hawai'i hotels had their best April ever this year.

Average daily room rates soared 17.4 percent from a year ago to $186.29. That's a new April record and not far off the all-time high for room rates set in December at $189.98.

Hotels pulled in $254.3 million in sales, another April record. Revenue per available room a key measure of profitability also set a new April high, growing 19.4 percent to $142.35, according to a report released yesterday by hotel consultancy Hospitality Advisors LLC.

"April was a good month," said Ed Hubennette, Marriott International's vice president for Japan, Hawai'i and the South Pacific. "We're still very much on target for the growth that we expected."

The high numbers came despite only a slight increase in occupancy as more visitors chose alternative accommodations.

Statewide hotel occupancy rose just 1.3 percentage points to 76.4 percent in part because more visitors stayed in condominiums and time-shares.

An increase in the corporate meetings and conventions market in April helped push up rates, said Hospitality Advisors president Joseph Toy.

"Just the overall business activity in Hawai'i, because of the economy here, has increased, so general business travel to Hawai'i has also increased ... and they tend to be a little less price-sensitive than the leisure market," Toy said. He also noted increases in U.S. East travelers, whose daily spending is second only to the Japanese.

Hawai'i's luxury and upscale properties drove the market and saw higher occupancy year-over-year, while occupancy in budget to midprice hotels fell. But properties across all categories enjoyed strong gains in average room rates and revenue per available room.

Marriott's Hubennette said despite some declines in Japanese visitors this year, there is still optimism about the eastbound market, which appears "pretty decent looking forward." The westbound market continues to be strong, he said.

Maui and O'ahu enjoyed higher occupancy and room rates. Hotel occupancy on the Big Island and Kaua'i declined but room rates also rose.

The survey, compiled by Smith Travel Research with Hospitality Advisors, included 139 properties representing 46,424 rooms, or 77.9 percent of all lodging properties with 20 rooms or more in the state, including full service, limited service and condominium hotels.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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