Neighbor Island hotel occupancy rates in November were below 60 percent, all lower than the same month a year ago. Maui's rate was 58 percent, and both Kauai and Big Island hostelries were less than half full.
The statewide rate of 63.1 percent was only two-fifths of a percentage point lower than in November 2008, but the occupancy rate was buoyed somewhat when 30,000 Jehovah's Witnesses convened in Waikiki.
November is a slow month in the best of times, and November 2008 was slower than usual. The declines in occupancy were not huge - Maui dropped from 61.2 percent to 58 percent, for example. But the declines in room rates were severe.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Chris Irwin of San Francisco joins Rebecca Livengood of New York in reviewing photos on their digital camera while visiting Paia Bay on Thursday afternoon. Neighbor Island hotel room occupancies were below 60 percent in November. Oahu hotels were carried somewhat by foreign visitors and people attending conventions.
On Oahu, occupancy rose in November to 72.6 percent, up from 69 percent in the same month a year ago.
Statewide, operators dropped posted prices by 9.4 percent, the 17th month in a row they have cut prices. The real cuts are even greater because many resorts are throwing in free breakfasts and other come-ons to try to drive traffic.
On Maui, the posted rates, which had been $226 in November 2008, were cut by 14 percent to $194. That drove down revenue per available room from $138 to $112 - 19 percent lower.
Room revenue at Kauai and Big Island hotels dropped to Waikiki budget levels, $86 and $82, respectively. The drop on Kauai was especially noticeable, down from $110.
Oahu, on the other hand, benefiting somewhat from international tourism, almost maintained its level of income from hotel rooms. It was $105 in November, compared with $108 the year before. It used to be unusual for Maui's and Oahu's revenue per available room figures to be so close, but the Neighbor Islands have done much worse in the downturn, which began in May 2008.
The statistics are collected by Smith Travel Research for the Honolulu consulting firm Hospitality Advisors.
Joseph Toy, president of Hospitality, said: "Although room rates continue to be heavily discounted, the declines in hotel occupancy have moderated over the past several months."
This is more visible on Oahu, where two large conventions (dentists and Jehovah's Witnesses) and Japanese group business (driven by a strong yen that was trading at 93.3 to the dollar Thursday) have helped hold up business.
* Harry Eagar can be reached at email@example.com.