The signs have been on the wall for some time. The state has openly wanted it, and the islands concur; Hawaii needs less tourism to attain balance and sustainability. And the universe is responding to that request, which in the end, may not be exactly what Hawaii wanted after all. Time will tell.
Hawaii has been blessed with return visitors, more so than most destinations. In fact, during the first three months of 2022, it’s estimated that 75% of all visitors were returning rather than new. But that will change, and Hawaii will find itself in a highly competitive environment, unlike any time before. We discussed it well before the latest report came out: Why Hawaii’s Repeat Visitors Aren’t Returning – Does Anyone Care?
It is being reported now that this trend is already leading to fewer bookings, which in turn could also have side benefits for future visitors. The no-price-is-too-high plan for Hawaii accommodations, for example, looks like it is on the precipice of collapse. Much more reasonable rates may be returning.
BOH: We expect Hawaii accommodation prices to drop approximately 25% between now and this fall.
The state’s latest Visitor Satisfaction Survey was just released.
Data collected was from nearly 4,000 visitors between January and April 2022. Here are the takeaways and what we can expect going forward. You can also read the report below.
1. Hawaii visitors remain satisfied overall with their experience. In fact, about 90% both rated their Hawaii vacations as excellent and will recommend a Hawaii vacation to others. About half said that their trip exceeded their expectations. But, nonetheless, they’ll be returning in fewer numbers.
2. Cost is the number one reason Hawaii visitors won’t be coming back, as costs rose about 16% between 2021 and 2022. And we think that’s lower than reality. Adding to the dilemma are increased accommodations taxes (which are up 3% compared with last year), and ridiculously high car rental charges, too. Also, by way of annoyance, parking at Hawaii hotels has gone to as much as $65 per night, which we’ve never seen previously. Hawaii has had the most significant increase in cost compared with other worldwide visitor destinations. That’s followed by the perception of a lack of value, overcrowding, and other factors.
3. Post pandemic shutdown, visitors are more desirous than ever to visit new places. Combine that with the lack of an economic paradigm here in Hawaii, and a Europe, Asia, Caribbean, Mexico, or Australia vacation looks pretty good to many. While Hawaii vacations looked like a safe and sane bet a few months ago, international travel is on a rapid rebound pace. In fact, while Hawaii travel begins to wane, Europe is about to exceed all prior visitor numbers.
4. West Coast visitor return intentions dropped by 4.1% to 82.2% compared with visitors surveyed last year. In this annual study, this was the lowest return intention since 2016. East coast visitors are even less likely to return, -6.6% to 66.6%.
Do you concur with the survey results? We look forward to your input.2022_q1_dbedt_vsat-report-final