As Southwest Airlines ramps up its highly anticipated Hawaii service, fares from the mainland and between the islands are expected to become more competitive and encourage more tourism. The question is whether Hawaii’s infrastructure, which is already impacted by high room rates and occupancies, can handle it.
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The launch of Southwest Airlines service to Hawaii, which started earlier this month with Oakland-Honolulu flights and is expanding over the weeks ahead, has generated excitement among travelers and travel advisors alike. The so-called “Southwest Effect” is expected to bring more competitive airfares, which can be exorbitant between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii during high-demand periods. Also highly anticipated is Southwest’s upcoming service on inter-island routes, currently the sole domain of Hawaiian Airlines, which often offers fares equal to those from the mainland.
However, there could be a downside. While it may get cheaper to fly to Hawaii, the cost of staying there is going in the opposite direction. What impact will rising demand have on a hotel scene that already boasts some of the nation’s highest occupancies and average daily rates? Could Hawaii, which is enjoying increased business from Asia as well as North America, become the next hotbed of overtourism?
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— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor
The Southwest Effect Is Already Impacting Hawaii Tourism: Southwest Airlines’ entry into the Hawaii market is likely to bring more competitive airfares from the U.S. mainland and to inter-island routes. The good news may be tempered, however, by rising hotel rates and limited availability in Hawaii’s most popular destinations.
How a ‘Poppy Apocalypse’ Could Turn Into Tourism Gold for a Small California City: Lake Elsinore, California, wanted tourists — but not the kind that gridlocked its streets and trampled its mountainsides. The city is trying to learn from intense short-term overtourism to prepare for a more manageable future.
United Becomes First Airline to Add Gender Identifications for Non-Binary Flyers: United is the first U.S. airline to let its passengers pick a gender option other than male or female when booking tickets. Delta and other carriers said last month that they plan to make similar moves shortly. We’re with they/them.
Can Best Western Really Do Luxury Well? BWH Hotel Group? That’s Best Western’s new corporate identity, the first change in decades and one that is designed to build its new image as a chain that can offer everything from mid-market to luxury.
Millennium Hotels Relaunches a Simplified Loyalty Program: Millennium’s new revenue-based loyalty program is slightly reminiscent of Mandarin Oriental’s Fans of M.O., which launched last year — light on complexity but still valuable for fans of the brand.
Ennismore CEO Sharan Pasricha on Reimagining Hospitality: The success of Ennismore’s Hoxton hotels brand is founded on the fact that you don’t have to completely reinvent something to make it exciting or lasting. You just need to know what elements bring you — and your guests — joy (while also making a profit).
Airlines and Airports
American Airlines and China Southern Launch Frequent Flyer Partnership: American’s loyalty members may no longer have to worry about the mixed messages coming from China Southern and its plans to join the Oneworld alliance. With a new partnership, frequent flyers on both carriers will now be able to reap benefits — with or without China Southern playing a role in Oneworld.
U.S. Customs Wants to Use Blockchain for Travel Security Measures: Blockchain solutions may one day enable various U.S. government agencies, including Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, as well as security agencies globally, to better share passenger data. But it could also raise privacy concerns among travelers.
Meetings and Events
Destinations Still Rely on Relationships to Attract Events: Some convention and visitor bureaus have turned to technology gimmicks and other new methods to highlight their destinations’ finest attributes, but personal relationships and experience remain vital. Relationships really do matter.
Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.
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Photo credit: Hawaii Gov. David Ige greets the Southwest Airlines inaugural flight to Hawaii March 17, 2019 after it lands in Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. Stephen M. Keller / Southwest Airlines