Despite steep discounting and unprecedented incentives, hotel occupancy in Hawaii continues to slide to new lows because of the slowed global economy, especially on the Big Island where only half of rooms were booked in May, according to a report released Monday.
Hotel occupancy fell 6.9 percentage points to 62 percent in May, marking the worst May on record since Honolulu-based Hospitality Advisors LLC began its monthly survey in 1987.
It's unlikely Hawaii will see any sign of recovery until well into 2010 with room revenues continuing to lag the prior year by over 20 percent, said Joseph Toy, president and chief executive of Hospitality Advisors. May results reflected a continuation of the record hotel market lows since the start of the year, he said.
"While we will see some seasonal lift in occupancy during our summer season, it will likely be marginal at best given the lack of momentum in the market," Toy said in a statement.
Every island saw sharp declines, with bookings on the Big Island plummeting 8.2 percentage points to a statewide low of 49.3 percent.
Oahu posted the smallest occupancy loss of 3.6 percentage points to 69.2 percent, representing the highest occupancy of all islands. Oahu also had the lowest average daily room rate of $146 due to a wide range of room rates.
Maui had the highest rate at $210.48 with an occupancy rate of 55.9 percent.
The average daily rate also fell 12.8 percent to $166, resulting in a 21.1 percent decline to $103 in revenue per available room, known as "RevPAR" — a key gauge of a hotel profitability and performance.
The hotel survey is compiled by Smith Travel Research in conjunction with Hospitality Advisors. It included 158 properties representing more than 46,000 rooms, or 82.3 percent of all lodging properties with 20 rooms or more in Hawaii.