Reports suggest Maui’s hotel industry’s hot times cooling off

Two gauges of the tourism market in Hawaii released this week show a robust hotel industry on Maui in May but signs of a cooling off in the current quarter.

The Hospitality Advisors and Smith Travel Research report for May showed strong occupancy and room rates for Maui. The Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s “Airlift Outlook” for the July-to-September period projected slight declines in the number of domestic flights and seats headed to Kahului Airport.

The decline is in keeping with warnings from Maui tourism and government officials, who have said recently that the island’s torrid pace of double-digit visitor growth in the last three years could not be sustained and would be cooling off.

The total number of flights to Kahului Airport will fall 2.3 percent in the current quarter, compared with the same quarter in 2012, to 2,358, the HTA report said.

Flights from Los Angeles, by far the largest city from which passengers directly arrive on Maui, will rise 1.7 percent to 821 flights. The next largest city, San Francisco, will log 247 flights, down 17.7 percent.

Looking at seats, there will be a 0.4 percent decline to 458,853 this quarter compared with the same quarter last year, the report said.

Seats from Los Angeles will rise 2.9 percent for the quarter compared with last year to 163,538. Seats from San Francisco will fall 13.4 percent to 50,192. Vancouver, Canada, seats to Kahului will grow 4 percent to 16,489 during the current quarter, HTA said.

The hotel numbers from Hospitality Advisors, released Friday, offer a look back at May with Maui hotels showing strong numbers. Hotel occupancy climbed 2.3 percentage points to 66.4 percent – the only increase in occupancy among the major Hawaiian Islands for the month.

The gains could be attributed to a 6 percent increase in visitor arrivals, including the U.S. West (up 2.4 percent), U.S. East (up 6.3 percent), Japan (up 33.7 percent) and Canada (up 8.6 percent).

Room rates rose 3.3 percent to $241.46 compared with May 2012, and the revenue per available room, or RevPAR, was up 7 percent to $160.33.

RevPAR is a key metric that represents the average daily rental revenue earned per available room during a given period.

Occupancy was flat in the luxury resort area of Wailea for May at 67.7 percent, but room rates were up 6 percent to $366.08 and RevPAR was up 7 percent to $247.84, compared with last year.

In the Lahaina-Kaanapali-Kapalua area, occupancy was flat, too, at 66.7 percent for May, but the room rates (up 5 percent to $225.43) and RevPAR (up 4.7 percent to $150.36) were strong.

Other Maui areas showed gains – 66.1 percent occupancy, up 5.4 percentage points from last May; $260.23 room rates, up $1.43; and RevPAR, up 9.5 percent to $172.01.

May was a record-setting month in the state for room revenue, at $262 million. The average daily room rate of $207.41, up 9.5 percent, and RevPAR of $148.71, up 7.9 percent, set new marks for the month.

The May survey included 159 properties and 48,178 rooms, or 84.9 percent of all lodging properties with 20 or more rooms in Hawaii. The survey generally excludes properties with less than 20 units, such as small bed-and-breakfasts and single-family vacation rentals and condominiums.

* Lee Imada can be reached at