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Hawai´i Vacation Rental Demand Surges in May

June 24, 2021, 7:00 PM HST
* Updated June 24, 6:14 PM
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Vacation rental demand across the Hawaiian Islands was back in a big way in May.

The total monthly supply of statewide vacation rentals was 572,900 unit nights (+71.8%) and monthly demand was 413,500 unit nights (+988.5%) over the course of the month. That resulted in an average monthly unit occupancy of 72.2 percent (+60.8 percentage points) for May, which was higher than the occupancy of Hawai´i’s hotels (61.5%).

Overall, vacation rental numbers were substantially higher than in May 2020, which was the second full month of the devastating impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. When compared to May 2019, vacation rental supply, demand and average daily rates were lower last month, but occupancy was about the same.

The unit average daily rate (ADR) for vacation rental units statewide in May was $236 (+25.4%), which was less than the ADR for hotels ($288). It is important to note that unlike hotels, units in condominium hotels, timeshare resorts and vacation rental are not necessarily available year-round or each day of the month. They also often accommodate a larger number of guests than traditional hotel rooms.

Hawai´i’s quarantine order for travelers due to the pandemic began on March 26, 2020, which immediately resulted in dramatic impacts to Hawai´i’s tourism industry. During May 2021, most passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county could bypass the state’s mandatory 10-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing Partner prior to their departure to Hawai´i through the Safe Travels program.

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Starting May 11, people fully vaccinated in Hawai´i could travel inter-county without pre-travel testing or quarantine beginning the 15th day after the completion of their vaccination. The counties of Hawai´i, Maui, Kaua´i, and Kalawao (Moloka´i) had a partial quarantine in place in May.

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In May, legal short-term rentals were allowed to operate in Maui County and on O´ahu, Hawai´i Island and Kaua´i as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.

The Hawai´i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division issued the report’s findings utilizing data compiled by Transparent Intelligence, Inc. The data in this report specifically excludes units reported in HTA’s Hawaii Hotel Performance Report and Hawaii Timeshare Quarterly Survey Report. In this report, a vacation rental is defined as the use of a rental house, condominium unit, private room in private home, or shared room/space in private home. This report also does not determine or differentiate between units that are permitted or unpermitted. The “legality” of any given vacation rental unit is determined on a county basis.

Island Highlights

In May, Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply of all four counties with 234,400 available unit nights (+116.5% vs. 2020, -16.9% vs. 2019). Unit demand was 175,800 unit nights (+1,496.6% vs. 2020, -18.1% vs. 2019), resulting in 75 percent occupancy (+64.8 percentage points vs. 2020, -1.1 percentage points vs. 2019) with ADR of $257 (+8.4% vs. 2020, -35.2% vs. 2019). In comparison, Maui County hotels reported ADR at $467 and occupancy of 67.1 percent.

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O´ahu vacation rental supply was 133,600 available unit nights (+9.4% vs. 2020, -57.6% vs. 2019) in May. Unit demand was 95,000 unit nights (+656.5% vs. 2020, -58.0% vs. 2019), resulting in 71.1 percent occupancy (+60.8 percentage points vs. 2020, -0.7 percentage points vs. 2019) and ADR of $193 (+27.3% vs. 2020, -31.5% vs. 2019). O´ahu hotels reported ADR at $196 and occupancy of 59.3 percent.

The island of Hawai´i vacation rental supply was 119,600 available unit nights (+57.0% vs. 2020, -44.2% vs. 2019) in May. Unit demand was 84,100 unit nights (+767.3% vs. 2020, -36.1% vs. 2019), resulting in 70.3 percent occupancy (+57.6 percentage points vs. 2020, +8.9 percentage points vs. 2019) with ADR of $201 (+37.8% vs. 2020, -28.6% vs. 2019). Hawai´i Island hotels reported ADR at $304 and occupancy of 62.7 percent.

Kaua´i had the fewest number of available unit nights in May at 85,300 (+216.6% vs. 2020, -25.9% vs. 2019). Unit demand was 58,500 unit nights (+1,140.5% vs. 2020, -32.0% vs. 2019), resulting in 68.6 percent occupancy (+51.1 percentage points vs. 2020, -6.1 percentage points vs. 2019) with ADR of $294 (+13.6% vs. 2020, -35.7% vs. 2019). Kauai hotels reported ADR at $272 and occupancy of 57.7 percent.

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