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Maui hotel occupancy drops slightly in September

HTA report reveals first hard data on Olivia’s impact

Maui County hotels and resorts saw occupancy rates drop an average of 2.1 percentage points in September, compared with the same month in 2017, according to statistics released earlier this week by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

The hit on Maui County occupied rooms in September to 71.4 percent came a month after Tropical Storm Lane brushed by the islands and the same month Tropical Storm Olivia made landfall on Maui and Lanai on Sept. 12. Both storms had been hurricanes as they approached the islands, and their impacts on the islands were widely reported.

Nevertheless, average daily room rates in Maui County increased 7.8 percent to $302.14 in September (second only to Kauai’s 9 percent growth to $207.77), and hotels and resorts in the county reported revenue per available room rose 4.8 percent to $215.70. (Kauai had the highest percentage increase in room revenue, up 7.2 percent, but its revenue-per-available-room figure of $183.78 is $31.92 less than Maui’s.)

The hotel performance figures are the first hard data on Olivia’s impact on tourism in September. The authority’s monthly visitor statistics are not yet out for the month.

August’s figures (in light of impacts from Lane) showed a 2.6 decline to $355.2 million in visitor spending on Maui, the only month so far this year in which tourist expenditures dropped below $400 million on the Valley Isle. In August, visitor arrivals on Maui were up 5.5 percent to 246,063, although that rate increase fell below the 8 percent increase over the year’s first eight months.

The September report on hotel performance showed that Wailea hotels and resorts were at the top or near the top of every category. Hotel occupancy was up 5.9 percentage points to 84.8 percent, the highest percentage point increase of any region in the state. Waikiki was the only region with a higher occupancy rate with 84.9 percent. And, the subcategory of Oahu upper upscale hotels reported an occupancy rate of 88.3 percent in September, down 1.3 percentage points from last year.

Wailea’s average daily room rate went up 3.4 percent to $428.64 in September, the highest of any region. And, its revenue per available room was up 11.2 percent to $363.50, the only region in the state with a double-digit increase.

Rooms categorized as “luxury” in Maui County saw room revenue increase 10.6 percent to $336.57.

The Lahaina-Kaanapali-Kapalua region’s occupancy rate fell 4.1 percentage points to 71 percent. (Olivia’s impacts were most severely felt on the northwest part of the island where the storm made landfall, triggering flooding in several areas.) The region’s average daily room rate was up 8.1 percent to $263.18, and its room revenue was up 2.2 percent to $186.83.

Hotels and resorts located in “other Maui County” reported a 0.5 percentage point increase in occupancies to 71.9 percent. Average room rates grew 6.6 percent to $351.19, and room revenue rose 7.4 percent to $252.52.

Statewide, hotel occupancy rates were down 1.4 percentage points to 76.9 percent. Average room rates increased 4.5 percent to $241.72, and room revenue rose 2.6 percent to $185.96.

Maui’s revenue per available room of $299.14 for the first nine months of the year ranked it third worldwide among competitive “sun and sea” destinations, according to the tourism authority. The Maldives was top-rated in the category, with room revenue of $387.69 (up 1.7 percent), and French Polynesia was second with $365.85 (up 6.2 percent). Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii island ranked fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the category.

Maui’s average daily room rate of $386.63 through three quarters put it fourth on the list of worldwide “sun and sea” destinations, while its occupancy rate of 77.4 percent ranked it second to Oahu’s 84.8 percent. Oahu’s Waikiki visitor district reported occupancies of 85.3 percent.

The authority’s monthly hotel performance report drew on data compiled by STR Inc. The survey excluded properties with fewer than 20 lodging units, such as bed-and-breakfast operations, vacation rentals and youth hostels.

For September, the survey included 165 properties representing 48,267 rooms, or 89.9 percent of all lodging properties with 20 rooms or more in the Hawaiian Islands, including full service, limited service and condominium hotels.

For more information, visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/research/infrastructure-research/.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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