LIHUE — Despite Kauai being ranked No. 2 on Trip-Advisor’s 2013 list of “Top 10 Islands” in the United States, the latest report from Hospitality Advisors LLC shows a decline in occupied hotel rooms during the month of April.
While hotels statewide earned a record $276 million in revenue for April — topping the 2006 record by 9.4 percent — and hotel occupancy rose to 74.4 percent (an increase of 2.1 percent from the year before), occupancy at hotels on Kauai dropped to 66.2 percent, from 67.1 percent one year earlier, according to a report released June 7.
“Unfortunately, Kauai and Big Island were not able to sustain the momentum they enjoyed during the first quarter into April,” Joseph Toy, president and chief operating officer of Hospitality Advisors, said in a news release.
Kauai’s drop was partly the result of a 1.9 percent decline in visitor arrivals, particularly from the West Coast, East Coast and Canada, according to the report. While occupancy declined, average daily room rates rose 5.4 percent to $224.81, and revenue per available room increased by 4 percent to $148.82, which was supported by a 6.5 percent increase in per person daily spending.
Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, said the Hospitality Advisors’ report is not an accurate portrayal of Kauai’s tourism, as it focuses solely on hotel units.
Out of 8,289 total units on Kauai, 2,660 (32 percent) are hotels; 2,731 (33 percent) are timeshares; 1,563 (19 percent) are condo hotels; and 1,172 (14 percent) are individual vacation units. The remaining percentage consists of bed and breakfasts, apartment/hotel and other units.
“(The Hospitality Advisors) report only speaks to less than 32 percent of the total inventory,” Kanoho said. “It’s not reflective of all units on the island. Not all units on the island report into that study.”
Statewide, the survey — compiled by Smith Travel Research in conjunction with Hospitality Advisors — included 159 properties, representing 48,178 rooms, or 84.9 percent of all lodging properties with 20 rooms or more, including full-service, limited-service and condominium hotels. It generally excludes properties under 20 units, including small bed and breakfasts, hostels and sold timeshare units.
When asked about the number of Kauai hotels involved in the April report, Balraj Maan of Hospitality Advisors said the company does not usually release information for specific islands.
To get an accurate look at the health of Kauai’s visitor industry, Kanoho said all units must be included.
“We don’t have all hotels. … You have to consider we have a lot of timeshares on this island, (and) we have a lot of vacation rentals,” she said.
So far, Kanoho said summer tourism on Kauai looks “very strong.”
“We’ve heard people are pleasantly surprised by the bookings,” she said. “Airfare is very important, so hopefully that will stay in the range that’s enticing.”
Paige Cabacungan, director of sales and marketing at the St. Regis Princeville Resort, said business this year is similar to last year.
“We have projected a steady occupancy and continue to see a strong summer ahead,” she said.
Total expenditures by visitors to Hawaii in April 2013 rose 1.8 percent — or $19.1 million — from April 2012, to $1.1 billion, according to preliminary statistics released late last month by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
In the first four months of 2013, total visitor expenditures grew 6.3 percent to $5 billion, and total arrivals increased 6.1 percent to nearly 2.8 million people.
“After eight months of growth, arrivals to Kauai dropped 1.9 percent to 84,715 visitors in April 2013. … However, higher daily spending (+6.5 percent to $175 per person) contributed to a 4.1 percent increase in Kauai’s total visitor expenditures to $108.1 million,” states HTA’s May 30 release.
One noticeable change on Kauai is a 16 percent decline in the number of available units (from 9,872 in 2011 to 8,289 in 2012), largely due to a 56 percent decrease in the number of IVUs and a 2 percent drop in the number of timeshare units, according to HTA’s 2012 Visitor Plant Inventory report.
Kanoho guesses the decline in IVUs may be a result of a new enforcement focus on Transient Vacation Rentals by the county.
Out of the 8,289 units on Kauai, 41 percent remain in the “deluxe” price class, ranging from $251 to $500 per night. The “luxury” class (over $500 per night) accounts for 25.4 percent of all units, while “standard” ($101 to $250 per night) makes up 26.4 percent and “budget” (up to $100 per night) accounts for 7.7 percent.
Oahu’s hotels got off to a strong start this summer as occupancy reached 80.9 percent in April 2013, from 77.5 one year ago, according to the Hospitality Advisors report.
It is the first time Oahu surpassed the 80 percent mark since 1990. Occupancy at Maui hotels rose to 74.5 percent (up 2.1 percent from the year before), while Big Island dropped to 55.8 percent (down 1.3 percent).
• Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.