Governor Ige’s demand to end non-essential travel impacts Hawaii hotel bookings and prices

HONOLULU (KHON2) – The rebound in tourism over the summer months has come to a screeching halt. People in the hospitality industry said travel typically slows down in the fall, but the increase in COVID cases and the governor’s message to tourists not to come amplified the slack season.

Hotel room prices have plunged. Surfjack Hotel General Manager Lynette Eastman said the effects of Governor David Ige’s message on Monday, August 23 regarding the temporary halt to non-essential travel continue to be felt.

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“August, September, October is very flat,” Eastman said. “If you had anything there before he made the announcement, bless you. If you haven’t, it’s like digging yourself out of the hole.

Eastman was surprised at how quickly the surge in hotel bookings faltered. Hotel room prices were at pre-pandemic levels during the summer months, but hotels have seen more cancellations since the announcement.

Vikram Singh is a Hawaii-based marketing and revenue analyst who works with various hotel properties around the state. He said cancellations and the lack of advance bookings prompted hotels to drop room rates dramatically.

“One of the first weeks we lost more money on cancellations than was added to the overall market,” Singh said. “So quite alarming. It’s kind of a COVID-19 shutdown, kind of time travel. “

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann said in a statement:

“Since the governor called for non-essential travel to stop, the industry has seen cancellations increase and occupancy rates cut by almost half in some cases. Some hotels have been forced to offer discounts in order to continue operating, and all of this takes place during our normal low season. “

Coronavirus cases were on the rise and hospital capacity was reaching crisis levels by the time of Governor Ige’s press conference. Cases are now down, but current hotel room prices are expected to stay at that level for the remainder of the year.

“There are a lot of $ 100 deals out there if you don’t look too closely,” Singh said.

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The hospitality industry is hoping that momentum will pick up again as the holiday season approaches.

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