Friday, March 26, 1999

Occupancy rates down
for Hawaii hotels

Russ Lynch


Hawaii hotel occupancy was down again in February, but the decrease was small enough for industry expert Ernie Watari to label it "an encouraging sign."

Watari, chairman and chief executive of the consulting firm PKF-Hawaii, said statewide occupancy of hotels and resort condominiums was 83.26 percent last month, a decline of 0.07 percent from 83.32 percent in the year-earlier month.

Room rates were down as vacation accommodations pulled their prices back in an effort to attract more people, according PKF-Hawaii's latest report.

The statewide average room rate last month was $145.82 a night, a drop of 3 percent from the February 1998 average of $150.28.

There were some bright spots among the otherwise flat figures. Maui's occupancy increased to 89.6 percent, from 81.8 percent in February 1998, and the average Maui room rate was up too, countering the statewide trend.

Maui reported an average February room rate of $180.07, up 2.9 percent from $175.02 a year earlier.

Kauai showed higher occupancy as well, 78.47 percent last month compared with 68.7 percent in the year-earlier month, although its average February room rate of $157.53 was down slightly from $158.66 a year earlier.

The other figures were mostly down, however.

Big Island occupancy slipped to 78.1 percent from 82.25 percent and the island's average room rate was just about flat, at $170.19 compared with $170.10 a year earlier.

Molokai occupancy slipped to 56.63 percent from 69.2 percent and the average Molokai room rate in February, $80.02, was down 5 percent from $84.19 in February 1998.

Hotel room rates in Waikiki were lower.

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