Hawaii At The Crossroads With Tourism

Hawaii’s New Visitor Paradigm: “Ready To Travel; Willing to Pay More?”

A study just out says that you are ready and willing to pay more and use the loyalty points you have acquired, to secure your 2022 Hawaii vacation spot. And that comes just as a controversial statement is released by the states’ Hawaii Tourism Authority which we’ve included in today’s article.

What we have learned about Hawaii travel from Covid.

If we’ve learned anything from the last two years, it is “carpe diem” or to seize the moment. That comes after Hawaii visitors have, as you’ve reported countless times in comments, canceled multiple trips to the islands and stand ready to return in record numbers.

Expedia’s 2022 Travel Value Index, which covers far more than Hawaii, and that is just out, says that 54% of you are now are planning to spend more on vacations than you did before Covid. Many of you are also ready to let loose of frequent flyer and other loyalty points you’ve accumulated, with 40% of you saying you’ll use those to pay some part of your upcoming 2022 vacation. Expedia says, “nearly 3 in 5… are more likely to take a two-week vacation in 2022, and more than a third would trade a salary increase for more time off to travel.” Interesting changes indeed in our values!

Flexible Hawaii airfares and discounts to the top of your list.

Most of those responding, 83%-85%, want both flexible airfare booking options and a discounted price when buying airline tickets online. Who doesn’t still want cheap flights to Hawaii?

Right in line with Hawaii’s stated new travel values.

The study showed that visitors, including those Hawaii-bound, also want to travel responsibly, with 93% of respondents saying they are flexible in adapting travel plans based on the lack of tourism workers and 98% saying they will take into account the local impact of Covid.

Half of those surveyed are now ready to pay more for a “sustainable trip” or would opt for less crowded destinations in an attempt to help reduce over-tourism’s impacts.

Hawaii Tourism Authority.

That’s perfect timing, at least in terms of what the Hawaii Tourism Authority says the state wants. This week their CEO was quoted as saying, he wants visitors who “understand Hawaii to be something unique, special and memorable, and worth investing in terms of a vacation.” It seems clear where that is heading. The term, “worth investing” seems to indicate visitors who pay more. While that may sound good in theory, the reality is that hotels have beds to fill, activity providers need enough people to buy from them, and the list goes on.

Are new Hawaii visitors more important than returning ones?

Expedia is suggesting that travel vendors offer new promotions to attract travelers rather than try to encourage hesitant travelers to return. That’s an interesting suggestion and, based on your thousands of comments about returning to Hawaii or not, might be well suited to our situation here.

Plus, we’re all tired of staffing issues, canceled flights, and waiting in lines!

43% of those surveyed said they plan to now add an extra time buffer to account for long lines, missed flights, and staffing issues. Expedia suggests that travel companies make their change and cancellation rules easy and clear.

Expedia’s take: the changing experience of travel.

Expedia for Business president Ariane Gorin said, “travel is about to experience a year unlike ever before as people plan purpose-driven trips, value vacation time more, and up their investment in unique experiences. Still, travelers are preparing themselves for possible trip changes as COVID-19 persists, and they want an array of options at their fingertips.”

We want to hear from you!

17 thoughts on “Hawaii’s New Visitor Paradigm: “Ready To Travel; Willing to Pay More?””

  1. Aloha! I’m a big believer in the adage of “you get what you pay for”, so if I can afford it, I will spend more, especially if it helps Hawaii’s economy. If I can’t, then I won’t go. When I have been to Hawaii, my hubby and I spent our money in grocery stores, local small mom and pop stores, etc. And when at restaurants, we tipped big to show our appreciation. Hawaii is worth every penny.

  2. I want to visit Big island, and waiting for a long time now.
    Whenever I try to visit then it seems requirement to get into Hawaii does change always because of COVID requirement change and it is a moving target. Is there a such web site that exactly tells what I have to pepare to visit Hawaii (before arrival to Hawaii) on such such week?

  3. Over tourism is killing Hawaii. The only benefit goes to the snorkel tour boats, bus companies, and hotels. Oh ya and the dreaded ugly cruise ships. Enough is enough

    1. Last time we visited the BI in Nov./Dec. 2021 we spent $ in grocery stores, fish markets, car rental agencies, bars, restaurants, farmer’s markets, coffee plantations, gas stations, convenience stores, gift shops and shipped home about $400 worth of Hawaiian goods. All of those places employ locals. We also paid tourist surcharges at parks and local taxes. Every local we met was unfailingly friendly and more gracious than some people in other places we have visited. All appreciated our business.

  4. Are they really thinking that it makes more sense to get a 1st time visitor, who while they may be willing to fork out 25% more, will never return again? I admit I look for the bargains, try to get the best experience for my money. But I’ve been to Hawaii over 20 times in the past 35 years. Being an older individual, travel anywhere, has been on hold for the past couple of years. And I can’t wait to come back. But will I be welcomed? Fewer people would be great, but who chooses who? Thanks

  5. Interesting plan considering:

    worst inflation (7%) in 40 years;
    investment market bubble leaking;
    airlines considering 7%/mo. increases;
    Hawaii’s restrictive visitation policies;
    labor shortages;
    island lodging cost increases.

    High cost may mean Hawaii is a lifetime “one and done” for families. In time this lack of returning tourist will will decay Hawaii’s tourism while rewarding newer less expensive destinations that everyday families more easily afford.

    Fascinating bet on us oldies.

  6. I wouldn’t mind paying more if it went directly to helping Native hawaiian people and securing their land!

  7. Rather than rely on Expedia’s Travel Value Index, why not examine the survey you fill out upon arriving in HI? I think you’ll find there’s a vast number of repeat travelers. What is it the State is trying to do? They imply HI is overrun with tourists, yet they want to raise prices to draw wealthier clientele. Do we not spend enough money? Why not just put in a casino while they’re at it.

  8. I’m trying to verbalize (in written form) what I expect or at least want from a Hawaiian vacation.
    1. Good weather
    2. Warm water, full of pretty fish and honu to take pictures of as I snorkel around.
    3. Beautiful scenery
    4. Poke’
    5. Whales, at the right time of the year.
    6. Someplace comfortable to sleep where I don’t feel I need to take out a second mortgage on my house each night.

    Oahu – lived there.
    Maui – been there, want to go back
    Big Island – see Maui
    Kauai – really want to go back

  9. Their thinking (Hawaii) sounds very basic to me. From what I have seen over the years, a large percentage of visitors have been people who have returned year after year. Those people very much know how they want to spend their time and money. However, that could also be because of were we stay and go and we don’t see much of any other kind of life style other than people who have returned. My thinking is that many of the first timers go to the big resorts.
    Aloha Guys

  10. Thanks for your newsletter, I’ve been relying on it for a few years now when planning our trips. We’re coming next month, but it’s likely our last annual visit for a few years. We travel from the mid-west and while that’s usually been fine, it just has been a major hassle the last two years. Starting next year we’ll head to the Caribbean for our winter trip. Love Hawaii, and will miss it. We’ll be back when the airlines once again have reasonable routes from the mid-west.

  11. We’re already paying more for everything. Unlikely that a trip to Hawaii would be different. I did not read anything about the change in attitudes towards tourism. If it does come back stronger than ever, what will that do to the relationship between visitors and locals? More hostility, more non-resident only charges? What will that do to long term tourism?
    People do want to travel and are traveling. Does this study make any projections or predictions
    on the longer term?
    Thanks guys!

    1. Hi Skip.

      Thanks for your many comments! It is hard to see here, on the ground, how attitudes towards tourism will evolve. More non-resident charges, definitely.


  12. This year will be our last trip. The prices have gotten ridiculous and it is just too much of a hassle to jump thru all the hoops so we will trade our two week timeshare to go somewhere else where they actually want us. Aloha Kauai, we will miss you after 40 years.

  13. Staffing here on the Big Island is still really bad. Because of the lack of employees Kona Brewery has been closed a couple of times in the last week. This is happening with the bulk of the holiday crowd gone.
    If I were a tourist I would not want to spend hard earned dollars waiting in lines at restaurants. Most restaurants here on the BI do not take reservations so you have to wait hours to get service.
    Us residents would love for more people to be working so service would be quicker.

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