Hawaii County Visitor Arrivals and Business Planning

The vacation rental industry in Kona, Hawaii has two rates: “high” season and “low” season. The variation in room rates can be as much as 50%; that is a condo that goes for $200/night in February can go for only $100/night in May. The price of condos is elastic. Hotel, air fares and car rentals are mostly elastic, fluctuating according to demand and season.

For most other goods and services in Kona, you will find that pricing is mostly inelastic; that is, it does not fluctuate seasonally. Restaurants, grocery stores, tourist shops and activity providers charge pretty much the same year-round.

As such many businesses in Kona go through many profound boom and bust (very busy and profitable vs slow and marginal, if any, profits) cycles every year.

Here is the arrivals data for Hawaii County. July and December are the peaks with 140,000 visitors and September are and April are about 30% less with about 100,000 visitor arrivals. Note that the December arrivals tend to stay for extended periods—the snowbirds—and the July arrivals tend to be families that stay for a week or so. Thus, the December to April time is considered high season.

hawaii county visitor arrivals

What does this mean for business owners?

For starters, the time to do repairs, remodeling and take vacations is clearly May and September.

Here are some implications for businesses in Kona:

  1. Your website and online marketing should be in place and very focused months before the peak seasons. Starting in July or December will always put you behind the periods of peak demand.
  2. Online advertising should run in November and June, the times when most people are planning their vacations and making reservations.
  3. Advertising in July or February might be a complete waste of money, especially if your restaurant or tour is already at capacity.
  4. With a lag time of a few months for planning, design and production, March/April and September/October are the times to get your summer and winter marketing material ready.
  5. July and February are the times to optimize revenue. These are going to be the most profitable months, so be sure have all staff, systems and inventory in place.
  6. March/April and late August and September are great times to shed excess inventory through sales.
  7. Be sure to budget for the down times. April through June and September through November (except for Ironman in October) can be brutally slow.
  8. Run special Kama’aina promotions in the down months.

If you would like some help with your business’ marketing plans and materials, give us a call!

Kona Impact | 74-5599 Luhia Street | 329-06077