Occupancy in Hawaii's hotels and resort condominiums averaged 70.6 percent last month, meaning almost 30 percent of the available rooms were empty.
rose to 70.6%
By Russ Lynch
It was, however, the best December since 1995, when the statewide average was 74.2 percent, according to figures released yesterday by the consultancy firm of PKF-Hawaii Inc.
Ernie Watari, PKF-Hawaii chairman and chief executive officer, said the full-year occupancy average was 77.9 percent, up 5 points from 72.9 percent for 1999.
"With approximately 71,000 transient units throughout the state at an average 77.91 percent occupancy, the year 2000 produced over 20 million room nights occupied," Watari said, the first time that level has been passed.
Last month's statewide occupancy rate was also a jump of more than 7 percentage points from the 63.1 percent level of December 1999, when concerns about the switch to a new millennium kept many people close to home.
Room rates were down, averaging $164.42 a night statewide last month, a 2 percent dip from $167.85 in December 1999, but the higher occupancy level raised the average revenue per available room to $116.07, up 9.5 percent from a room-revenue average of $105.98 in December 1999.
For the full year, statewide room rates averaged $151,79, a 5 percent increase over $144.53 in 1999, according to PKF-Hawaii.
All islands showed year-over-year increases in occupancy last month. At a 76.1 percent level, Oahu occupancy was up 8 percentage points from 68.1 percent in December 1999. Big Island occupancy was up a little less than 6 points at 61.7 percent, from a year-earlier 55.9 percent.
Maui occupancy of 69.2 percent last month was up 9 percentage points from a year-earlier 60 percent and Kauai's average of 57 percent in December was up nearly 3 points from 54.2 percent.
Molokai, which usually shows the lowest occupancy in the state, was still in that position with a December occupancy average of 48.5 percent, but that was a 7-point increase from a year-earlier average of 41.6 percent.
Room rates were up on Oahu and Molokai, flat on Kauai and down on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai.
The average rate on Oahu last month was $127.02 a night, up 1.4 percent from the December 1999 average of $125.27.
Waikiki beachfront hotels did well with occupancy of 77 percent and an average room rate of $169.72, compared with December 1999 occupancy of 67.3 percent and an average room rate that month of $167.68.
The Big Island's room rates averaged $208.64 last month, a 4.9 percent decline from $219.39 in December 1999. Maui's average room rate was $217.26, down 4.4 percent from $227.30 a year earlier.
Kauai had an average room rate of $182.42 was last month, down 5 percent from a year-earlier $191.96, and Molokai's December average room rate was $92.12, up 16.5 percent from $79.09 in December 1999.