The signs have been hanging on the wall for some time. The state openly wanted it, and the islands agree; Hawaii needs less tourism to achieve 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 us.
Hawaii has been blessed with return visitors, more than most destinations. In fact, in the first three months of 2022, an estimated 75% of all visitors were returning rather than new. But that will change and Hawaii will find itself in a highly competitive environment like never before. We discussed this long before the last report came out: Why Hawaii’s Regular Visitors Don’t Return – Does Everyone Care?
It is now being reported that this trend is already leading to lower bookings, which could also have secondary benefits for future visitors. The priceless plan is too high for accommodations in Hawaii, for example, seems to be on the verge of collapse. Much more reasonable rates could come back.
BOH: We expect accommodation prices in Hawaii to drop about 25% by this fall.
The state’s latest visitor satisfaction survey has just been released.
The data collected came from almost 4,000 visitors between January and April 2022. Here are the takeaways and what we can expect in the future. You can also read the report below.
1. Visitors to Hawaii remain overall satisfied with their experience. In fact, about 90% rated their Hawaii vacation as excellent and will recommend a Hawaii vacation to others. About half said their trip exceeded their expectations. But, nevertheless, they will return in fewer numbers.
2. Cost is the number one reason visitors to Hawaii won’t return, as costs have increased approximately 16% between 2021 and 2022. And we believe that’s lower than it actually is. Adding to the dilemma are rising accommodation taxes (which are up 3% from last year) and ridiculously high car rental fees. Also, as an inconvenience, parking at hotels in Hawaii cost up to $65 per night, which we had never seen before. Hawaii has seen the largest cost increase compared to other tourist destinations around the world. Then comes the perception of a lack of value, overcrowding and other factors.
3. After the pandemic stops, visitors are more eager than ever to visit new places. Combine that with the lack of an economic paradigm here in Hawaii, and a vacation to Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Mexico, or Australia sounds pretty good to many. While vacationing in Hawaii looked like a safe and sound bet a few months ago, international travel is seeing a rapid pace of rebound. In fact, as travel to Hawaii begins to decline, Europe is poised to surpass all previous visitor numbers.
4. Return intentions of West Coast visitors dropped from 4.1% to 82.2% compared to visitors surveyed last year. In this annual study, this is the lowest return intent since 2016. East coast visitors are even less likely to return, from -6.6% to 66.6%.
Do you agree with the results of the survey? We welcome your contribution.