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Every year I enjoy looking at the trends for the Hawaii tourism industry as there always seems to be some interesting and useful information. This year has definitely been a slightly different year than previous years in some positive and negative ways. While the Hawaii Tourism Authority only provides general information and comes to conclusions about tourism in Hawaii as a whole, I try to break it down even further to make it more relevant to vacation rentals on the Big Island. The following information is based on data through July 2014 and estimates for the remainder of 2014.
Big Island Vacation Rental Trends
While most of our properties did not see much of a decrease through July 2014, the two main figures we would be interested in decreased in comparison to the same timeframe in 2013. Of the major Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island saw the largest decrease in visitors, 2%. While for a long period condos were seeing steady growth, this is the first year people staying in condos decreased by a fair amount (close to 3%).
What to Expect for the Remainder of the Year
Although not in line with the statistics, most of our properties did better through July this year than last year. I do not see the remainder of the year being the same, which will probably make things balance out overall for the 2014 year. While typically September in a slow month, the number of air seats to the Big Island are down in 2014 as opposed to 2013. October and November are roughly the same as 2013. December has a significant increase, but that is mostly during the holiday season. Maui is seeing significant increases in all of those months.
The Canadian Market
While the US visitors are typically pretty consistent from year to year, the increase in Canadian visitors over the past few years has seemed to make the difference in the overall statistics. While they do help increase the numbers over the course of the year, they are typically seasonal and come out during the peak seasons, which really does not help vacation rental occupancies too much over the course of a year. That being said, we could see a decrease in Canadian visitors over the course of the next year for the two following reasons:
Canadian Dollar– Due to a sharp devaluation against the US dollar, Canadians will now be paying roughly 15% more than they were last year for accommodations.
Alternate Destinations– With the cost of vacationing in Hawaii increasing, Mexico looks like a more appealing alternative. Through July 2014 Canadians visiting Mexico hit a record high with over 1 million Canadians traveling to Mexico by air.
Looking Forward to 2015 and 2016
According to MMGY Global travelhorizons data, a record number of travelers (36%) say that they are extremely likely to visit Hawaii in the next 24 months. Although this is great, converting that number to actual visitors is extremely tough. The largest factor is airfare with over 42% of people stating that they chose to vacation elsewhere due to the cost of air to Hawaii.
How are People Booking?
As I mentioned in the prior newsletter, we had made a fairly large update to our web site. Although the update was not too large as far as appearance goes, it did make it more mobile friendly. We have seen positive numbers in all the relevant web site traffic stats relating to mobile devices since making the change. This has been a nice modification given that the use of mobile devises to book/research travel is continuing to increase. Roughly 35% do their research on travel on a mobile device with over 20% actually booking on a mobile device.
In conclusion it does look like things are continuing to move in a positive direction for the tourism industry in Hawaii as a whole. It is just a matter of people choosing the Big Island as opposed to other islands such as Maui, which is seeing the largest growth, and choosing to stay in a vacation rental versus a hotel.
Recently we had the opportunity to expand our selection of vacation rentals with the addition of a Waiulu Villa at Hualalai Resort. With this addition we are excited to potentially add more villas or homes at Hualalai to our vacation rental program.
Hualalai is home to some amazing multi million dollar properties. Annually it is recognized as one of the top vacation destinations in the world.
With the Four Seasons Hualalai as the cornerstone, not only are the accommodations amazing, but also world class service is offered. All guests of the resort have access to the amenities of the Four Seasons Hualalai, which includes world class restaurants, a selection of pools, a lagoon, and much more. The Hualalai Spa has been recognized as one of the top spas in the world and offers an array of services to guests of the resort. There are two highly desirable, exclusive golf courses.
While trying to offer a high level of service at Waikoloa Vacation Rentals, we are excited to start venturing into the resort that is known to be the most luxurious on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Each year we try to put together a report of what tourism in Hawaii seems to be doing as well as how that is affecting the vacation rental industry on the Kohala Coast. Every year the data seems to be very telling as to what is going on. 2013 is the first year that not only is hard to decipher as far as trends go, but also seems to be a bit negative in relation to the previous years.
Overall tourism is up in Hawaii slightly with an increase of 2.5% from 2012 to 2013. The main factor driving this trend is international guests with Japan leading the way. The largest percentage increase has been in the “Other” category, which includes China. It is suspected with the increase in 2013, with Hawaiian Airlines lobbying to get a direct flight from China to Hawaii, and with China’s economic state that this number will drastically increase in the coming years.
When you look at how the islands fared specifically, Oahu was the only island with a significant increase. This logically makes sense given that the island of choice for the visitors from Asia tends to be Oahu. With an increase in international visitors, Oahu will typically see the largest increase in visitors. It is worth noting that some of the smaller islands such as Kauai and Lanai saw the largest percentage increase of international visitors.
What I found extremely interesting was that the largest increase in accommodation type was with vacation rentals. In years past, international visitors have traditionally stayed in hotels due to packages such as JALPAK and that the hotels typically have services for guests that do not speak English. In fact, vacation rentals were really the only type that saw an increase. Vacation rentals saw an increase of almost 5% while hotels saw an increase of just over 1%.
For the second year straight, there was a decrease in the average night stay. This is in line with the fact that the largest increase in people were due to vacations and conventions.
How does all of this relate to your vacation rental on the Kohala Coast? This is the first year in a while that there was not much change related to vacation rentals on the Big Island. With the visitors increasing by less than 2% and vacation rentals increasing by less than 5% there was some positive growth, but not as much as recent years.
As a whole, the State of Hawaii had a very positive first half of 2013 to offset a somewhat negative second half. While the first half of 2014 looks to be very positive, the second half is what will make the difference for 2014.
The Hawaii tourism industry continues to be on the rise in 2013 with both arrivals and expenditures up!
Where Are the Visitors Coming From?
For the past couple of years the largest growth has been with the Canadian market. That has not been the case for 2013, which has seen the largest growth come from the US West market. The least amount of growth has come from the US East market. The Japan market is the only market that has shown a decrease in visitors for the summer.
How Are the Islands Faring?
While the Big Island of Hawaii has seen some of the best growth in previous years, that is not the case for 2013. Lanai’i has seen the best growth, with Oahu seeing the best growth of the larger markets. The Big Island did see a fair amount of growth in the spring, but has just seen a 2% increase over the summer. The other major markets experienced growths of 6-7% during the summer months. Many people speculate the sudden growth for Oahu is partially in relation to the popular Disney resort, Aulani, becoming more well known.
Where Are They Choosing to Stay?
The vacation rental industry has seen the largest growth for the past four years and that is continuing in 2013. The vacation rental industry has been a bit more sporadic this year with small increases in the winter months and increases of close to 10% in the summer months. With the space and amenities that vacation rentals offer it makes sense to see them do well in the summer months when a lot of families are traveling.
What Does All of This Mean For Vacation Rentals on the Big Island?
While things are moving in the right direction for all areas of the travel industry in Hawaii, they are not increasing as aggressively for the Big Island this year and especially this summer. The positive is that the vacation rental sector has been very strong this summer partially offsetting the minimal increase in visitors and decrease in length of stay.
What Does the Future Look Like?
I suspect that a lot of this is temporary. The vacation rental industry has continued to grow nationally over the last few years and I suspect that to continue. With average spending continuing to increase I would suspect that higher end properties will increase more rapidly than others.
The first quarter of 2013 has been very promising for the tourism industry in Hawaii. With almost all aspects of the industry growing from 2012 it appears 2013 will be an excellent year for the vacation rental industry in Hawaii.
Each island specifically enjoyed growth. Of the more popular islands, Oahu enjoyed the largest growth in visitors with an increase in visitors of 7%. The Maui had the smallest growth of 6%. All the islands seem to fair pretty. Within 1% of each other, all the islands fared relatively the same.
As the vacation rental industry continues to grow in popularity nationally, vacation rentals were once again the sector that experienced the largest growth of all the accommodation types. With a 7.2% growth, it fared over 1% better than the hotels did for the first quarter of 2013.
With spending up and the popularity of vacation rentals increasing, luxury vacation rental complexes such as Kolea at Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii are seeing significant increases in demand and rates. Looking into the second quarter of 2013 better increases are expected for the vacation rental industry in Hawaii.
January of 2013 offered the same positive momentum the State of Hawaii has seen in recent history. This trend actually continues the upward momentum on record for every month since January, 2011. Both total arrivals and overall expenditures increased during the month of January, 2013.
For the first month of 2013, total arrivals into the state increased by nearly 6% overall compared to January of 2012. Total visitor expenditures grew by nearly the same number. The US West region arrivals grew by 9% and expenditures increased by over 14%. Total arrivals from the US Eastern market increased by almost 2% while visitor spending improved by nearly 11%. Arrivals from the Japan market continued its eighteen month consecutive run, improving by nearly 8%. Expenditures increased by nearly 4%. Canadian visitors continued their support, offering over 5% additional visitors and almost 2% higher spending compared to January, 2012.
Each of the major Hawaiian Islands had increases with arrivals and visitor spending this last January. Kauai led the charge followed by the Big Island of Hawaii, then Maui and finally Oahu.
Chinese visitors decreased overall due to a shift in the Lunar New Year from February this year to January of last year. February should show improvements for that specific market. Though there were fewer visitors getting married on the islands this past month, honeymoon arrivals did increase by over 8%. Incentive trip arrivals increased however convention and corporate meeting visitors did decline compared to last year.
Guests staying in condos vs. hotels did increase for the month, improving by nearly 6%. Guests selecting hotel accommodations increased by almost 5% compared to January, 2012. These numbers are not surprising given the vacation rental market has been extremely busy over the past few months.
As we move further into 2013, business levels continue to improve. The Hawaiian Islands are busier than ever and the trend appears to be holding steady. The economy of Hawaii welcomes this continued success and we look forward to the future.
With 2012 behind us, tourism throughout the State of Hawaii showed continued growth through the month of December and at year’s end. Both visitor arrivals and expenditures increased compared to this time last year for the month of December. As noted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, visitor expenditures and arrivals grew during every month of the year for 2012. In addition, visitor spending and arrivals were the highest ever on record. These statistics close out 2012 as the most successful year that the State of Hawaii has ever witnessed.
The month of December, 2012 offered a nearly 15% growth in expenditures and an over 6% growth in arrivals compared to the same time frame last year. All four major Hawaiian Islands showed growth in both categories for the year as well. Developing markets such as Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Latin America also showed an increase of over 21% in arrivals for the year.
Honeymooner arrivals increased by almost 10% for the year as did cruise ship arrivals, offering an increase of more than 16% for the year as a whole. Scheduled air seats grew by 8.5% for the year and all four major islands had more scheduled flights. Hilo for example, had nearly 60% more scheduled seats than the year previous.
The Big Island had the largest growth in visitors compared to the other major island for the third month in a row. In addition, it offered more than a 20% growth in visitor expenditures for the month compared to December, 2011. Oahu had the next highest arrival total followed by Kaua’i and Maui.
Guest arrivals staying in condos rose by nearly 6% for the month of December and over 5% for the year. Domestic travelers were supporting the vacation rental market more so than international visitors. International visitors staying in condos for the month showed a slight decline but did finish strong with an over 8% increase for the year. The US West market supported the industry a bit more in accommodation selection than those from the US Eastern market. This is not surprising given the US West market offers more overall visitors. The US East market offered an 8.2% rise for the month and nearly 3% gain for the year. Its West coast counterpart showed over a 9% gain for the month with a nearly 6% gain for the year.
Moving into 2013, the tourism industry has shown continued growth from the previous year into the month of January, 2013. The islands have been extremely busy and continue to show signs of prosperity. Hopefully this growth will continue through the New Year and beyond, offering a bright future for the State of Hawaii, visitors and island residents alike.
During the month of November, 2012 arrivals increased 14.5%, visitor expenditures went up nearly 23% and meeting, convention and incentive visitors grew by nearly 2% as compared to the previous year. These statistics put 2012 on the map as the busiest, most successful year for the State of Hawaii ever. Year to date, expenditures throughout the islands grew by just over 19% compared to the same time frame last year. In addition, 2006 considered the peak year for the State of Hawaii until now, had nearly 5% fewer guests visiting the state every day.
All four of the major islands reported growth with total expenditures and arrivals by air. In the lead, arrivals to the Big Island increased by 17.5% and visitor expenditures grew by 31.2%. Maui came in second with an arrival increase of over 14%. Expenditures increased by over 21%. Oahu offered nearly 14% additional arrivals with an almost 23% increase in overall visitor spending. Kauai had a 13% increase in visitors with an almost 12% increase in guest spending. All data was compared to November, 2011.
This overall growth can be attributed to various contributing markets around the world. West coast visitors increased by nearly 14% while East coast arrivals increased by just over 6%. The Japanese market offered support with an increase of nearly 22%. Canadian arrivals increased by 9% overall and other developing markets such as Asia, Oceania, Europe and Latin America had a nearly 10% increase in arrivals
The month of November, 2012 offered a dramatic increase for the condominium accommodation selection for arriving guests. This percentage grew by over 8% compared to November of last year. Though hotels increased by over 14%, these numbers continue to show the growing popularity of choosing a condo versus other options. There was also an increase with guests choosing to stay in a condo only during their vacation. Rather than splitting their time between multiple accommodation options, over 10% more arriving visitors chose condo vacations versus adding a hotel stay as well.
It appears that the recent years of struggle are in the past and the future looks bright for the tourism industry and the economy state wide. These November monthly totals and year-to-date figures continue to show a positive outlook for the State of Hawaii as we move closer to 2013.
With 2012 beginning to wind down, the State of Hawaii continues to show growth. This trend managed to carry through historically slow times such as this past October. Though October is considered to be a less desirable time of year to visit, arrivals and visitor expenditures did increase from that of last year. Other areas of improvement also included visitors staying in condos and guests getting married here in Hawaii.
Arrivals for the state increased overall by nearly 9%. Each of the four major islands showed an increase in arrivals for the month. The Island of Hawaii led the way with an increase of over 14%. Oahu was next with an almost 8% gain and Maui’s arrivals grew nearly 5.5% compared to October, 2011. Kauai’s arrivals, which had shown considerable gains throughout the year, increased by just 3% during the same time frame. More visitors, nearly 11%, came to visit friends and family during the month as well. This category has grown by almost 5% for the year. As discussed last month, guests making their own travel arrangements have continued to increase. This October was no different, offering an almost 13% gain. It seems that more arriving guests are becoming more comfortable making their vacation plans.
Japanese arrivals grew by over 15% while the Canadian market decreased by just over 4%. Cruise ship arrivals increased by almost 30%. Guests traveling to the state to get married increased this past October by almost 10% and 2.5% for the year thus far. Honeymoon visitors increased by only 1%, but hold strong at nearly 11% for the year.
Expenditures, or overall guest spending, increased statewide by almost 13%. Kauai led the charge for the month, with an increase in guest spending by 18.5%. Though it had a smaller arrival gain, those traveling to the garden isle spent more this last October then they have historically compared to 2011. Maui had the second highest expenditures, offering a 13% increase. Oahu had an 11.7% gain while the Big Island of Hawaii showed just over 10% growth compared to October, 2011.
In regards to accommodation selection, guests staying in condos improved by nearly 10% for the month. The US West market had the greatest influence followed by the Canadian market and then the US East. All of which showed increases of 11%, 3% and 1.5% respectively. Hotel arrivals increased by nearly 7% compared to this time, last year.
There appears to be a shift in both where guests are going and how and where they are spending their money. The slowest or smallest island arrival growth yielded the greatest spending increase, while the largest arrival growth yielded the least amount of spending increases. There are a number of potential reasons for this inverse relationship. Fewer arrivals could cause price increases. This could be an attempt by local businesses to keep up with less demand; realizing arriving guests will spend money to make their vacations more memorable. Perhaps arriving guests are splurging on additional activities they haven’t tried in the past when returning to the islands. Guests also appear to be expanding their island of choice as is the case of the Big Island. Arriving guests may be trying a new environment, spending more to get here and finding ways to save money once they arrive on items such as vacation rentals, fewer costly activities, discounted car rentals and more. With vacation rentals on the rise, guests have the ability to rent a larger space at a greater value with less need to dine out, thus dropping their overall expenditures during their island visit.
As 2012 comes to an end, we will continue to watch this trend to see how 2012 concludes. Either way, the year has been successful for the state as a whole, impacting all areas of the economy hit hard by recent economic conditions. Hopefully this trend will carry into the New Year and beyond.