HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's timeshare industry is booming. Every major chain on every island is adding units as fast as they can build them, while the stand alone hotel is becoming a thing of the past.
All day long, prospective owners tour the one bedroom model for the new Hokulani tower, the latest timeshare development by Hilton Grand Vacations in Waikiki.
Dan Dinell, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Grand Vacations, says timeshares have been a big success story for Hilton. "The Lagoon tower went up in 2000" explains Dinell. "That was followed by the Kalia tower because of the demand and most recently the Grand Waikikian in 2007 and now we're building on Kalakaua."
The Hokulani is going up at the corner of Lewers and Kalakaua, where there used to be an Outrigger Hotel.
The move from hotels to timeshares isn't just happening in Waikiki. Over the past decade, there has not been a single stand alone hotel that's gone up anywhere in the State.
Dinell is also Chair of the Hawaii Chapter of ARDA, the industry trade association, and says every hotel is expanding its timeshare divisions. Dinell sized up the tourism shift this way, "Currently there are over 10-thousand timeshare units. It's about 13 percent of the mix. When you see what's coming on down the road it's all timeshare units as well."
From Waikiki's Trump Tower, to the westside's Aulani, new projects court return guests. Since 2000, the State lost 8-thousand hotel rooms to timeshares or condos and that's driven hotel room rates up to an average of 230 per night statewide.
That's the second highest rates in the country, but first time visitors don't mind the price of paradise.
Visitors we spoke to in Waikiki say, "About reasonable. A little less than Australia would cost us" and "For my opinion, it's same as like in Las Vegas."
Timeshares run the gamut- from about 30 thousand for a week's ownership in a one bedroom unit at the Hokulani... to 400-thousand for a share of a 3 bedroom penthouse in Hilton's Grand Waikikian.
Hilton already has another timeshare tower in the works on the grounds next year. Hotels say since tourism always has its ups and downs, it's insurance to expand the ownership, repeat business market.