Travel experts provide tips on finding good deals

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Visitors to Hawaii are paying more for their hotel room bill, but the number of filled rooms is flat. It’s a trend that has both tourism officials and the travel industry concerned.

These days it’s hard enough to find a good hotel rate. Some visitors are having a hard time just finding a hotel to their liking.

“It was tough, it was tough. And you wouldn’t think so. You’d think they would have plenty available. There wasn’t,” said Andrea Tarman-Duffy, a visitor from California.

Hotel room rates statewide were up more than 10 percent compared to last year at nearly $240 a night, while the occupancy dropped nearly one percent at just over 80 percent. Those in the travel industry say we can price ourselves out of the market.

“There’s gonna be a tipping point where people say ‘You know what? I can’t afford to come to Hawaii, it’s just too expensive.’ We’re already seeing it,” said Bruce Fisher with Hawaii Aloha Travel.

A complete breakdown shows Oahu had the largest increase in room rates at nearly 12 percent, but still remains one of the cheaper options along with the Big Island at slightly over $200 a night.

Maui’s average room rate is the most expensive at more than $300 a night. Fisher says he’s already noticed travelers tightening their budget by spending less on activities and meals. But people can still get good deals by bundling them all together when booking.

“If we bundle everything together like air, room, car, we get a better deal, there’s more money in the package, so we discount more,” Fisher said.

As always, it’s best to shop around. Check the travel sites and compare the best deals to what a local travel agent can offer.

Fisher says try to book two to three months in advance and go during the off season like May or October. And avoid the weekend when traveling.

Online travel websites can also give email alerts to let travelers know about special deals at destinations they’re looking for.

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