Hawaii hotels see higher rates and more visitor arrivals in 2012

Hotels in Hawaii are on my radar now with my trip coming in two weeks. I recall seeing many hotel bargains in Hawaii in their lean tourism years of 2008-09.

Hawaii is coming back strong now as a hot list tourist destination. Visitor arrivals are climbing fast with Asian tourism to Hawaii growing fastest. USA and Canada arrivals are also climbing which means hotel occupancy is up and room rates are increasing. Hawaii average room rates at $202.90 at the end of September 2012 are now second only to New York City’s $236.58.

Hawaii Hotel Flash Report Third Quarter 2012 is a 9-page pdf report showing the hotel data for the Hawaiian islands state. There are some interesting visitor statistics listed in this report created by Smith Travel Research data and Hospitality Advisors.

Hawaii Room Revenue reached $2.45 billion in first nine months of 2012. This is 14.8% more than 2011. Add in food and beverage, retail, parking and hotel fees and Hawaii hotel revenue increases to $3.62 billion. Hawaii hotels are pulling in 48% more on top of room rates through other hotel services.

Types of visitors to State of Hawaii

  • Visitor arrivals in Hawaii are up 9.2% in 2012 over same time 2011.
  • Honeymooners increased 12.2%
  • Independent travelers increased 9.8%
  • Non-convention business travelers increased 5.1%
  • Japan arrivals increased 15.9%
  • Other Asia countries arrivals increased 45.4%


  • Hotel room occupancy 85.6%
  • Hotel average daily rate = $181.50
  • arrivals from U.S. West increased 5.3%
  • arrivals from Japan increased 16.2%


  • Hotel room occupancy 73.3%
  • Hotel average daily rate = $259.07
  • Wailea area occupancy 77.4%
  • Wailea area average daily rate = $388.54
  • arrivals from U.S. West increased 4.8%
  • arrivals from Japan increased 7.9%
  • arrivals from Canada increased 4.0%


  • Hotel room occupancy 70.5%
  • Hotel average daily rate = $212.23
  • arrivals from U.S. West increased 6.1%
  • arrivals from U.S. East increased 6.1%
  • arrivals from Japan increased 17.7%
  • arrivals from Canada increased 7.7%


  • Hotel room occupancy 62.2%
  • Hotel average daily rate = $190.18

Hawaii Statewide Hotel Market Segments

Luxury Hotels

  • Hotel room occupancy 71.4%
  • Hotel average daily rate = $421.73

Upper Upscale Hotels

      • Hotel room occupancy 83.4%
      • Hotel average daily rate = $224.52


Upscale Hotels

    • Hotel room occupancy 72.8%
    • Hotel average daily rate = $166.43


Upper Midscale Hotels

    • Hotel room occupancy 80.1%
    • Hotel average daily rate = $119.24


Midscale Hotels

    • Hotel room occupancy 76.7%
    • Hotel average daily rate = $109.55


Economy Hotels

  • Hotel room occupancy 79.5%
  • Hotel average daily rate = $95.27

Loyalty Traveler commentary on the numbers: Luxury hotels with an average daily rate of $421.73 are truly a market segment separated from the masses and well above the rate of upper upscale hotels at $224.52.

St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Waldorf-Astoria and JW Marriott resorts are raking in the big bucks in Hawaii. There is no breakdown of specific hotels but suffice to say there should be a notable difference in hotel market segments between those charging $400+ nightly and those in the $200 range.

Every hotel market segment from Upper Upscale to Midscale hotels looks like a supply and demand basis of $100 to $200+ per night.

My advice for someone thinking Hawaii vacation is to look at hotel rates before airfare. Find the low hotel room rate period and you will likely save more money for your trip compared to paying a $100 to $150 more per airline ticket. There are some good deals to be found at specific times of the year, even in the luxury hotel segment.

Starwood Preferred Guest Cash & Points is the feature I sought out when looking at Hawaii as a means to save significantly on hotel rates. Oahu and Maui had the most limited SPG Cash & Points availability. Kauai was wide open and Hawaii had frequent dates.

Starwood Hotels in Hawaii

  • 3 of 11 hotels are category 6 awards (20,000 or 25,000 points per night; 80,000 to 100,000 points for 5 nights; or Cash & Points $150 + 8,000 points per night)
  • 7 of 11 are category 5 awards (12,000 or 16,000 points per night; 48,000 to 64,000 points for 5 nights; or Cash & Points $90 + 4,800 points per night)
  • 1 of 11 is category 4 (10,000 points per night; 40,000 points for 5 nights; or Cash & Points $60 + 4,000 points per night)

4,800 points + $90 per night is a far better deal than 12,000 points per night in Kauai for the Westin Princeville or Sheraton Kauai Resort at $300+ per night.

Hawaii Starwood Hotel Rates for February 12-15, 2013


Currently you can buy 5,000 points for $140. SPG Cash & Points allows you to book category 5 Starwood Hotels for $230 per night when many of these hotels are in the $350+ range after tax.

ALERT: Buy Starpoints at 20% discount through November 30, 2012.

Five most expensive hotel markets 2012 in USA (Smith Travel Research)

  • New York $236.58; occupancy 82.4%
  • Hawaii $202.90; occupancy 77.8%
  • San Francisco $170.84; occupancy 81.5%
  • Miami $162.71; occupancy 76.5%
  • Boston $157.95; ?
  • Los Angeles is #4 city in hotel occupancy at 76.9%.

These cities around the USA are expensive for hotels.

SPG Cash & Points, Priority Club Points & Cash, HHonors Points & Money are all ways to cut the expense of hotel stays in Hawaii and elsewhere for an even better deal than standard reward nights when hotel rates are too high for your budget. Marriott and SPG also offer 5th night free. Hilton HHonors elite members or American Express card members save on HHonors award stays of four nights or more.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »



  1. We just got back earlier this week from a trip to the Big Island. Are you headed there? I have my latest do/avoid list available! 🙂

  2. I considered Hawaii since I have not been to that island, but decided to go with Kauai for the St. Regis free two nights as an SPG Amex Star and the availability of two other Starwood Hotels with Cash & Points availability.

    It will be an interesting contrast filled with flashbacks to 1977 when I lived on the beach as a teenager and hiked the Na Pali coast to camp in Kalalau Valley.

  3. I’m shocked that Boston’s average hotel rate is under $160. I can never find anything decent under $250 in the downtown area. Most often, I see rates of $300+.

  4. headed to Big Island Nov. 26th. Any tips we have never been to Hawaii…bluecat do you care to share..thanks!

  5. Anne, here are a few random Big Island tips for you…
    1) best guidebook by far is BigIsland Revealed
    2) on hilo side, hit kapolo tidepools, and eat at puka puka kitchen … now open at dinnertime too
    3) on kona side, kohalo coast resorts are windy this time of year…maybe all year too. definitely, rent kayaks and do the captain cook bay trip
    4) volcanos are really great. consider paying a guide to see lava flow too. we used david ewing.

    have fun!

  6. @bluecat – thanks for the Hawaii tips. I had not heard of that guidebook series to Hawaii before now. Looks like a good resource.

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