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W. Maui hotel occupancy still mostly residents

Occupancy rates down but room revenue, daily rates highest in state

Kaanapali Beach is deserted on Sept. 22. Hotel occupancy rates in Maui County took an expected dip in September compared to the same time last year, but hotels continued to have the highest average daily rates and room revenue in the state. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Occupancy at Maui County hotels in September was down only 3 percentage points compared to the same time last year, but hotels in West Maui were almost exclusively occupied by fire-displaced Lahaina residents and relief workers, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority said.

According to HTA’s recent Hotel Performance Report for September, Maui County’s occupancy rate was 62.7 percent, down 2.8 percentage points from the 65.5 percent occupancy seen in September 2022. Hotels in the Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua area saw a 66.2 percent occupancy in September, down 3.1 percentage points compared to the 69.3 percent occupancy at the same time last year.

Wailea hotels were not immune either from the apparent setbacks from the fire, as those hotels saw a 50.6 percent occupancy in September, down 2.5 percentage points from the 53.1 percent occupancy at the same time last year.

After tourism slowed and multiple flights were canceled in the wake of the fire, Gov. Josh Green announced in September that West Maui would reopen to visitors on Oct. 8. Maui County set the reopening in phases with Kapalua to Kahana Villa first. The county accelerated the second and third phases, with the area spanning Kahana to the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Kaanapali opening today.

Even as occupancy numbers were lower, Maui County still led the state in revenue per available room “due to comparatively higher” average daily rates, HTA said in a news release last month.

Maui County’s average daily rate in September was $533.86, the highest in the state and an increase of 2.6 percent compared to $520.43 in September 2022. Wailea hotels’ average daily rate was $645.93, which was down 21 percent from the same time last year when rates were $817.40.

The average daily rate in the Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua region in September was $534.51, up 14.2 percent versus September 2022 when the average daily rate was $467.93.

After Maui County, Kauai had the second-highest daily rates in the state but still trailed well behind at $398.

Maui County’s revenue per available room in September was $334.60, which was 1.9 percent less than September 2022, which saw revenue per available room at $340.92.

Wailea hotels’ room revenue was also down at $327.15 in September, a decline of 24.7 percent compared to $434.34 at the same time last year.

Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua hotels had room revenue at $354.05, which was up 9.1 percent versus $324.46 in September 2022.

Again, Kauai came closest to Maui County with a room revenue of $322.

Statewide, revenue per available room in September was $261, which is up 5.8 percent from last year. The average daily rate was $346, up 3 percent from September 2022, and occupancy was 75.5 percent, up 2 percentage points compared to the same time last year.

Oahu had the highest occupancy among all the counties in September at 82.7 percent, or a 5.1 percentage point increase from the 77.1 percent occupancy seen in September 2022.

A separate Vacation Rental Performance Report by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism said many vacation rental units continued to be unavailable in West Maui because of the wildfires.

It added that unit night supply and unit night demand were inactive for the entire month of September in West Maui.

For Maui County in September, the vacation rental supply decreased to 148,400 available unit nights, which is 33.5 percent less than the same time last year. Unit demand was 71,700 unit nights, or down 49.8 percent from 2022, resulting in 48.3 percent occupancy.

The average daily rate was $266 in September, down 20 percent from the same time last year.

* Staff Writer Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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