Following Hawaii Governor David Ige’s Aug. 23 press conference, where he advised against traveling to the Islands, hotels and other tourism-related businesses are seeing a major drop in the Aloha State bookings.
“We’re seeing cancellations, loss of revenues. It’s not just confined to hotels. We’re hearing it from other tourism-related businesses: attractions, restaurants, retail,” said Mufi Hannemann, CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.
To exacerbate the situation, right after Ige’s plea, Honolulu County mayor suspended all large and organized gatherings such as shows, conferences, conventions and meetings at least until Sept. 22.
Hoteliers were startled at how quickly the increase in hotel bookings fizzled out.
During the summer months, hotel room rates were at pre-pandemic levels, but the announcement spurred establishments to substantially lower room rates.
“Since the governor’s request for nonessential travel to halt, the industry has seen cancellations increase and occupancy cut nearly in half in some instances” said Hannemann in a statement.
“Some hotels have been forced to offer discounts in order to keep operating,” Hannemann added.
According to Vikram Singh, a Hawaii-based marketing and revenue analyst, there are currently lots of US $100 deals on the island.
Some lose and some win.
The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association has launched “Hotels for Healthcare Heroes.” A program that provides free hotel stays for local worn-out doctors, nurses, first responders, and other essential workers at dozens of luxury Hawaiian hotels.
More than 50 properties across the state have signed up so far. The program will run every weekend starting Sept. 17 until the end of October.
Although worried about the plummet in their revenue figures, Hawaiian hotels seem to be committed to help fight the pandemic along with the local government.
For instance, Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach and Highgate, with its collection of seven hotels, announced they will start requiring proof of full vaccination for all employees and guests from Oct. 15.
The first hotels applying the restrictions are the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, Park Shore Waikiki, Ambassador Waikiki Hotel, Pearl Waikiki Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach and Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki.