Compared with other "island/sun" vacation destinations, Maui ranked near the top in 2010, particularly in the crucial measurement of revenue per available room. In that category, Maui was second in an international survey, at $154.
Only Maldives did better, at $338. But Maldives is a tiny nation with a tiny resort plant. It is also the only destination ever to top Maui in American travel magazines' reader polls.
The rankings - by occupancy, rack rates and revenue per available room - were released Friday by Hospitality Advisors, a Honolulu consulting firm.
Eight of the top-10 destinations cut prices last year. Maldives made the biggest proportional cut, 17 percent, to an asked $538 per night.
That did not help its room revenue, as it did not finish in the top 10 in occupancy. Its revenue per available room was down 6.9 percent.
Maui operators ranked third in price-cutting, with rack rates down 4.8 percent. (Costa Rica was second.) Maui's strategy appears to have worked, with the biggest gain in room revenue among the top 10, up 10 percent.
Gains might be fragile. Joe Toy, president of Hospitality Advisors, said turmoil in the Arab states, which has been driving up oil prices, is a concern.
"Travel markets generally react very quickly to bad news," he said. "But it's too early to tell what the impacts, if any, will be from these events, in particular the potential impact on travel costs should the price of oil escalate."
Maui ranked third in costliness, with average daily rates of $226. The Maldives was first with $538, and Bahamas was second, $267.
Maui was fourth in occupancy, 68.1 percent, a gain of 9.2 percent. Only Guam saw a bigger gain, up 11.2 percent to 74.1 percent.
Oahu was first, 78.2 percent, a gain of 5.9 percent over 2009.
Hawaii as a whole ranked high, with three islands in the top 10 in occupancy (Oahu, Maui and Kauai in ninth); and all four main islands in the top 10 in asking prices: Maui third, Kauai fifth, the Big Island sixth and Oahu eighth.
With high prices (even if lower than the year before) and high occupancy, all four main islands were in the top 10 in revenue per available room as well: Maui second, Oahu fifth, Kauai seventh and the Big Island eighth.
Toy said: "The magnitude of the loss in room demand and pricing discounts during the global recession was quite similar for both Hawaii and many of its primary competitors. The pace of recovery is also very similar."
The statistics were compiled by Smith Travel Research and reflect business at 38,000 properties with almost 5 million guest rooms.
* Harry Eagar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.