New data may show start of APEC hotel bump

Published: Nov. 11, 2011 at 8:24 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2011 at 8:25 AM HST
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By Howard Dicus

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Waikiki hotels report their room sales gradually increased last week as people arriving early for this week's APEC meetings, while neighbor island hotel occupancy remained lower.

Hospitality Advisors LLC, which does weekly occupancy reports by county, reported this data for the seven days to last Sunday:

  • Oahu 76 percent full, about the same as a year ago, with an average room rate of $168, up 9 percent from year-ago levels.
  • Maui 60 percent full, down one percentage point from a year ago, with an average room rate of $204, up 6 percent from last year.
  • Kauai 56 percent full, up four points from last year, with an average room rate of $185, also up 6 percent.
  • Big Island 52 percent full, down two points from last year, with an average room rate of $172, up 7 percent from last year.

At the request of Hawaii News Now, the research consultancy provided more detailed breakdowns on occupancy data for Oahu, showing that occupancy was 76 percent early last week, 80 percent Wednesday, and 81 percent Thursday and Friday. The increase coincided with days on which arrivals by air were higher than usual, suggesting the arrival of APEC conference attendees and journalists covering APEC events.

If one dials out other Oahu hotels and looks exclusively at Waikiki, occupancy was 79 percent early in the week, 82 percent Wednesday, and 84 percent Thursday, before subsiding to 82 Friday, presumably as vacationers left just ahead of the conference.

Still another way of parsing the data, focusing on luxury hotels, showed 61 percent occupancy on Sunday, Oct. 30, 68 percent on Monday, 69 percent Tuesday, 73 percent Wednesday, 77 percent Thursday, and 81 percent Friday.

Data for this week was still coming in, Mimmi Leidnert of Hospitality Advisors said just ahead of the Friday data release from the previous week.

Hospitality Advisors CEO Joe Toy said that based on what data was already available he thought occupancy for this week could start in the low 80 percent range and rise to 85 percent or more.

Hotel occupancy on Oahu has been in the 80-95 percent range for the past few weeks, much better than a typical fall season. But neighbor island occupancy has declined in the past two weeks.

About half of the hotel rooms in Hawaii are on Oahu. Room rates vary widely, with much higher rates than the average on oceanfront and lower rates back from the beach. Oahu hotels that are not in Waikiki include Turtle Bay Resort, the Ko Olina Marriott and Disney Aulani resorts, and a variety of low-cost hotels near the airport.

In other APEC news:

APEC finance ministers said Thursday the European debt crisis is the "central challenge to growth," as U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put it, and the crisis "is not being dealt with forcefully," as Philippine Finance Minister Cesar Pursima put it. The Australian treasurer, Wayne Swan, used a surfing metaphor, saying Europe has learned that when a big wave comes in, it's too late to paddle.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, flying to Honolulu on Friday, said Canada had not yet decided whether to join TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, the new round of trade talks aimed at ending all trade tariffs. Chinese officials on Thursday said again that the United States was pushing developing nations too hard on trade changes that China felt would mostly benefit rich countries.

Two-thirds of Asia-Pacific corporate CEOs think a free trade agreement among the 21 APEC economies should be a top priority, and 60 percent said removal of trade barriers is critical to their own companies, while 30 percent said trade barriers are "a significant barrier" to their growth. PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed 320 CEOs in the region and released the survey results Thursday.

Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who attended Kaimuki Junior High, added the Pier 2 groundbreaking for a Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone to his APEC schedule of events Friday, which includes bilateral meetings with trade and commerce ministers of China, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

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