Hotel occupancy levels in Hawaii have been
in decline for much of the year. The decrease, although modest, may
be compounded should the drop in the number of inbound airplane
seats and the number of cruise passengers continue to decline.
looking to stimulate demand through discounting. Value-added
packages are already on the books for 2008, as many hotels are
offering free nights, even in the winter and summer high seasons,
and announcing them far earlier than is typical.
The results: Room
rates are 15% to 35% off published prices.
When it comes to
packages, flexibility and value-added incentives are the name of
the game. That applies to all price segments, including top-tier
brands resistant to discount marketing.
As a result,
pricing for a Hawaiian vacation for 2008 is likely to remain at
Higher air fares
(as oil inches toward $100 a barrel) are expected to be offset by
reductions in accommodation prices.
particularly vulnerable to a dip in hotel occupancy, due to
airlines' and hotels' increased direct sales to consumers and
Also, an increase
in timeshare inventory in Hawaii has eliminated the need of a
wholesaler for a growing number of Hawaii-bound
are reporting declines in their Hawaii business for the first time
"This is a dynamic
marketplace," said Dennis Odom of Albuquerque, N.M.-based Blue Sky
Tours. "Our Hawaii business was down in 2007, and some of that
seems to be the result of hotels going direct to the
senior vice president for product development at Petaluma,
Calif.-based Creative Leisure International, confirmed the impact
of both vendor-to-consumer and vendor-to-agent
Hawaii has been a wholesaler-dominated destination, thanks to the
cooperation of airlines and hotels," said Johnson. "That's not the
case anymore. With technology what it is today, all kinds of new
tie-ins are happening."
Bad news for cruising
fast-growing cruise market likely will have peaked in 2007, with
more than 800 port calls.
In 2008, there will
be drop of up to 30% in port calls, with the slide likely to
continue for all the state's ports through 2011.
The biggest loss
comes with Norwegian Cruise Line's decision to reposition the Pride
of Hawaii, the largest of NCL's three ships in its Hawaii fleet, to
Europe (the vessel will be renamed the Norwegian Jade).
The Norwegian Sun
will make 35 fewer port calls in 2008, and other cruise lines are
making frequency reductions, as well.
impact may result in visitor counts of 7.1 million to 7.2 million
for 2008, compared with an estimated 7.5 million for
much of it on the high end, will also have an impact in 2008.
Hilton, after focusing on the expansion of the Hilton Hawaiian
Village and on upgrades at its Waikoloa property, has recently
added the Prince Kuhio in Waikiki.
ResortQuest Hawaii, Aqua and Classic have all added properties.
Brand names are sprouting everywhere; both Trump and Disney
properties are on the horizon in Oahu.
community reaction to Starwood's plans to expand facilities at the
Turtle Bay Resort, on Oahu's North Shore, resulted in the
cancellation of previously announced plans for resort development
While much of the
talk over the past few years has focused on high-end development
and rebranding, Hawaii still has a wide range of accommodations.
The cheapest daily rates hover at around the $100 mark, and
five-night packages out of Los Angeles include nights from around
$66 per person.
Something in the air
transportation front, Aloha Airlines has sought to break the
interisland fare war created by Go's entry into the market by
unilaterally raising fares $10 to compensate for rising fuel
It remains to be
seen whether the increase will stick.
determined to remain in the interisland market despite operational
losses and $80 million in damages that Go's parent, Mesa Air Group,
was ordered to pay Hawaiian Airlines for misusing confidential
information. Mesa is appealing that judgment.
Hawaii Superferry, which restarted service last month, might have
trouble securing bookings from travel agents, who may be wary of
the interisland service due to the on-again, off-again problems the
ferry has experienced in its short history.
contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].
For more details on this article, see "Hotels, wholesalers pitch best buys for