HONOLULU (NewsNation Now) — As tourism and travel heats back up, the cost of vacations is soaring, and hotels are hiking their prices ahead of an anticipated book in travel.
Book your staycations and vacations now; that’s the advice from experts, as pricier hotel rates and less availability are starting to appear. As the demand for rooms increases, so will the prices.
“Let’s say three-star hotel in Waikiki, you can still get it for under $150, but not for long,” said Vikram Singh, a hospitality analyst. “As far as what’s coming, I mean it’s going to be over $200 to stay in a three-star hotel which is inevitable once we start hitting the demand threshold.”
Hotel room rates nationally jumped 9% in April after an 8% rise in March, and airfares soared 10% in April, according to the latest available figures from the Commerce Department.
In Hawaii, Safe Stay protocols are still putting limited capacities on hotels, causing rooms to fill up faster. Those guidelines include social distancing on the property and 24-hour vacancies in between guests.
“Typically, when you check into a hotel room, it’s minutes between the time that someone has left the room and, the room has been cleaned,” said Kekoa McClellan with the American Hotel and Lodging Association. “They’re checking in there. So for properties that are deploying that standard, it definitely impacts your ability to change a room over and then to book those rooms.”
The hotel industry is working with the Hawaii State Department of Health to see when those rules can be dropped.
Some properties are already seeing their capacities fill up.
“Like the Hilton Waikoloa Village and the Hilton Hawaiian village, they’re doing extremely well on the weekends about 80 percent, next week maybe even as high as 90 percent occupancy,” McClellan said.
But the crowds aren’t just heading to Hawaii. The Orlando, Florida area is also booming with travelers as the major theme parks have loosened some of the COVID-19 restrictions in place since they reopened last summer.
“We are going into off-season, and it has not slowed down,” said Cathy Balestriere, general manager of Crane’s Beach House, a boutique hotel in Delray Beach, Florida.
Vacation destinations like Las Vegas, Hawaii and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were among the top destinations for holiday revelers, according to AAA. Paula Twidale, a spokeswoman for the auto club and insurer, said the pickup in travel began in April as more Americans got vaccinated and the weather improved.
Pan Pacific travel is slated to return to the islands at the end of the year. That’s when there will be another boom in prices as hotels take advantage of another rise in demand.
“Most of the hoteliers across the state will tell you that until the international piece of business returns, our travel industry will not make a full recovery until that happens,” said Eric Takahata with the Hawaii Tourism Japan. “We really need Japan to come back quickly.”
Again, experts say book those rooms now while deals are still available.
“Weekday travel and you know keeping your length of stay over four days at least will get you a really good deal with majority of the star hotels from you know from three to full service, luxury resorts,” said Singh.
Experts say hotel prices will continue to fluctuate until a full recovery is made.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KHON contributed to this report.