Big Island hotel occupancy tops 53%; 64% on the Kohala Coast

  • Visitors enjoy the sun at Kamakahonu Beach fronting Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua Village. Big Island hotel occupancy rates topped 53% in April, a sign the state’s tourism industry is on a slow climb back to normal a year after the pandemic took hold. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Visitors enjoy the sun at Kamakahonu Beach fronting Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua Village. Big Island hotel occupancy rates topped 53% in April, a sign the state’s tourism industry is on a slow climb back to normal a year after the pandemic took hold. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

Big Island hotel occupancy rates topped 53% in April, a sign the state’s tourism industry is on a slow climb back to normal a year after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

The Kohala Coast saw an even higher occupancy rate with 64.4% of rooms filled during the fourth month of the year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Hotel Performance Report published this week. Though 53.7% of the island’s hotel rooms were filled last month — a 42.5% increase from 2020 — occupancy rates are still down from 28% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

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Statewide, the occupancy rate hovered at 50.8% in April, up from 2020 when just 8.8% of the state’s hotel rooms were occupied around the time the coronavirus began to take hold. Across the state, occupancy rates were 47% on Oahu, 62.1% in Maui County and 36.9% on Kauai, giving the Big Island the highest rate in the Aloha State.

Despite occupancy being down substantially from the year prior, the Big Island has seen its rate slowly tick upward since October 2020 when the state reopened to tourism. During the first month of the Safe Travels program, the Big Island reported occupancy of 19.8%, which increased to 20.4% in November and then to 26.8% in December. By January, it had reached 26.9% and by March 49.6%.

Along with the increase in occupancy, hotels across the state saw a higher average daily rate and revenue per available room. In April, the Big Island’s average daily rate was $326.23, up 128.6% from 2020 and $272.33 in 2019. Revenue per available room was up 1,280.3% from 2020 to $152.52.

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Resorts along the Kohala Coast saw an average daily rate of $470.92, up from $373.55 in 2019. Revenue per available room in April was $303.25, up from $285.72 in 2019. Data was not kept for the Kohala Coast during the pandemic shutdown.

April data for vacation rental occupancy has yet to be released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. However, the lodging choice in March outperformed hotels on the Big Island, reporting an occupancy rate of 70.3%, which was up about 4.5 percentage points from the year prior. Statewide, 62.3% of the 587,269 units available were occupied in April.

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