Shane Nelson, contributing editor for Hawaii, Travel Weekly: I'm
curious about multi-island travel. How has that segment of your businesses been
Snisky: Our outer island business is performing very, very well, for a
couple of reasons. We've improved our technology to allow agents to be able to
multi-island shop much more effectively than we have been able to do in the
past. There's also been a lot of lift that's gone direct [to the neighbor
islands]. It used to be Honolulu was the epicenter of every trip to Hawaii.
That's no longer the case, and I think it's really important for us, especially
with fuel being at the rates where it is now, that you're seeing airlines take
a shot at some routes where they took a more conservative approach in the past.
We've really got to make sure those routes work.
Hu: For us, our multi-island experience, as a percentage of our overall
bookings, has declined over previous years. This speaks to a lot of the trends
we talked about, like more flights direct to the neighbor islands. We know a
quarter of our Hawaii business is always going to be multi-island, and the rest
is going to be direct to specific islands. And again, a lot of that has to do
with the availability of lift. It's also origin market, and how many repeat.
For an East Coaster who's coming out here on a 10-hour flight, it's almost like
an international trip. And so they're going, if they're coming for the first
time, to do the multi-island trip. It's sometimes cost-prohibitive if you're
trying to do a couple of different islands and you have a large family, but I
think there's a nice balance of those who want to do multi-island, [and] those
who want to do single island.
David Hu, Classic Vacations Photo Credit: Dave Miyamoto
Nelson: Is interisland air ticket pricing having any impact on
Dean Anderson, director of resort sales and marketing, the Ritz-Carlton
Residences Waikiki Beach: For locals, for a family of five, they say,
"We'll skip a trip to a neighbor island. We'll go to Vegas," because
it's hard to travel to neighbor islands. And I know, in speaking to a lot of
friends and people in the industry, it's hard to do the interisland, because
it's more expensive.
Williams: But we've been very fortunate here that we've had some very
significant increases in airlift, especially out of the North American market.
Last year it was up, I think, 8% or 9%, so that's great. It's easy to get to
Hawaii. It's easy to do the neighbor islands.
Hu: In the current environment, you have so many great tailwinds in
terms of the airfares and everything, and it's fully ripe for having great
demand into this destination. We haven't seen these kind of airfares for many
years. It's incumbent upon us to get that message out there, because people
have thought in years past that certain airfares were much more expensive,
especially during peak season.
Williams: I think the key to this, too, is the farther out you book, the
better it's going to be.
Hu: Sometimes …
Richards: Cheryl, I'm just telling you, that's just not factual, because
if you try to book a Saturday or a Sunday so far out — we look at this every
single day, and Saturday and Sunday and the peak days primarily remain constant.
Snisky: The value proposition for air travel to Hawaii has never been
stronger than it is today, and that's because we were competing against other
destinations, where there might have been a $300 ticket to Las Vegas and a $400
ticket to Mexico. Now you're having $700, $800 airfares to the Caribbean and to
parts of Mexico at certain times.
Richards: We're actually showing fares declining going into the summer
months about 1% year over year. So we feel very, very good about the
environment. I think oil plays a key role in that, although I will argue that
fares never come down as fast as oil, but they certainly go up faster. But I
think for the summertime, you're looking at fares equal to or less than 2015,
which I think is very positive.