Hawaii hotels generated a record $2.45 billion in room revenues during the first nine months of the year, representing a 15 percent gain over the same time frame last year, according to a report by Hospitality Advisors and Smith Travel Research.
Maui reported the highest average daily rate in the state for the month of September at $213. Maui's average rate of $259 for the year to date through September was also highest in the state.
That compares to an average daily rate in September of $179 for Oahu hotels, $200 for Kauai, and $162 for the Big Island, bringing the statewide average to $186.
The report noted Maui's increased room rates were "due in part to growth in high-spending markets such as the honeymoon market and independent travelers."
Maui hotels were 73.3 percent full for the year to date through September, a 3 percent improvement over the first nine months of 2011. The report credited a 5.6 percent gain in visitor arrivals to Maui during that period, including boosts from U.S. West, Japan and Canada.
September occupancy alone was down slightly to 65.1 percent for Maui. Only Oahu saw a modest increase in occupancy for the month, while all islands individually posted increases for the year to date.
Statewide, hotel occupancy was up by nearly 6 percent to 77.8 percent, mostly boosted by 86.7 percent occupancy enjoyed by Waikiki properties, the report said.
Hawaii's year-to-date occupancy level ranked the state No. 3 among the top-five hotel markets, behind New York (82.4 percent) and San Francisco/San Mateo (81.5 percent), according to the report.
"The gains in the industry were driven by a sharp rise in visitor arrivals (up 9.2 percent) through the end of the third quarter, which comprised of strong gains in highyielding markets, including honeymooners, non-convention business travelers, independent travelers and visitors from Japan," the report said. "In addition to the gains in visitor arrivals, the (Hawaii Tourism Authority) also reported a 9.1 percent increase in per person daily visitor spending."
Despite the gains in daily rates and occupancy, the report cautioned that profitability isn't keeping pace.
"Following the unprecedented deep market recession that began in April 2008, Hawaii's hotel industry has now enjoyed 31 consecutive months of revenue increases. While revenue continues to strengthen, hotel profitability will remain under pressure due to sharp increases in operating costs, particularly labor, utilities and property maintenance costs," Hospitality Advisors President Joseph Toy said.
The survey included 162 properties representing 48,722 rooms, or 86 percent of of all lodging properties with at least 20 rooms in the state.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at email@example.com.