More hotels announce reopening dates after pre-travel testing takes effect

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — More hotels have announced plans to reopen after the Oct. 15 pre-travel testing program takes effect, but even with more rooms online, some in the lodging industry are keeping low expectations on the number of visitors.

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The Prince Waikiki General Manager, Joshua Hargrove, said there could be two scenarios, an immediate influx of visitors, but the second scenario is more likely, a slow start for their reopening on Nov. 1.

Hargrove said, “Our goal for November is 20% capacity and our goal for December is 25% occupancy.”

Hargrove said they have been postponing their reopening date as the state sets a definite date for its rollout of the pre-travel testing program. He said the number of employees brought back from furlough will depend on their occupancy rate.

“We’ve seen more movement when it comes to people going on our website and starting to shop and to look,” Hargrove said. “But we haven’t yet seen a big uptick in actual bookings because I think the news is still pretty fresh.”  

There have not been company-wide announcements from large hotel chains, like the Marriott or the Hyatt on plans to reopen. A spokesperson for the Hilton Hawaiian Village said there are no updates on its plan to reopen, either.

Mufi Hannemann, The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President, said the large hotel companies are likely weighing costs and benefits for reopening.

“We’re not going to go back and see 70% visitor arrival, it’s going to be very very slow,” Hannemann said.  

He said even without all hotels reopening in the next month, the number of hotel rooms available now should be enough to lodge the number of expected visitors.

“About half of our inventory is operating now, that means about 5,000 rooms in Waikiki,” Hannemann said. “We expect a number of them will start opening up on Oct. 15, and then others are taking more of a wait-and-see approach.”  

Properties on neighbor islands are also gearing-up for more tourism. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel have plans to reopen in November.

The Kaanapali Beach Hotel on Maui will open in December.

Hargrove said the training of employees will be taking place on the weeks leading up to Nov. 1, he expects the state will have shared procedures on the pre-travel testing program by then.

“We’re waiting on more clarity from the state on how exactly we will get that information,” Hargrove said. “Because for us, if a guest comes into the lobby we need to know, is this a guest who needs to be quarantined, or is it a guest who’s been cleared.”  

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