VIDEO: Real Talk with Maui Hotel & Lodging Association’s Executive Director, Rod Antone
Maui Hotel & Lodging Association’s executive director, Rod Antone sits down with Pacific Media Group COO and MauiNow director, Jack Dugan to answer questions about the current state of Maui’s hotel and lodging industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA) represents Maui County’s visitor industry on policymaking and industry-related issues and as a liaison to the general public.
The MHLA is comprised of property and allied members. Property members include hotels, timeshares and condos. Allied members include restaurants, cleaning companies and construction businesses who work with its property members.
“We pay about 47% of the property taxes and property taxes are how the county funds everything. It is the only tax the county has. We are almost half the county’s budget,” Antone said.
Antone sees smaller hotels opening earlier than larger hotels as interisland travel restrictions are lifted. The reopening of these smaller hotels will largely depend on their ability to balance revenues and operating costs with the expected decline in reservations.
“The smaller hotels are opening up because they can. If 20 people stay at their hotel, it means they can do that and at least they will make money to pay for their operating costs. 20 people staying at a large hotel, I don’t even know if that is enough to pay to turn on the lights,” Antone said.
“Right now, for occupancy, they are predicting maybe 20% occupancy. To give you an idea, some of our hotels pre-COVID were at 95% occupancy.”
According to studies by the state, he expects hotels opening as early as July and as late as October.
Antone sees the current pause in the tourism industry as an opportunity to change and rebuild the industry the way residents want it.
To learn more about Antone’s views on short-term rentals, Airbnb’s, and the major financial issues that might prevent hotels from ever reopening, watch the video above.