As the thermometer drops throughout the continental U.S., many daydreamers turn to thoughts of the swaying palm trees and sunny beaches of the Hawaiian islands, and the destination, in turn, gets ready for them and all other visitors looking to indulge in a bit of island life in coming months.
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, for starters, has unveiled a fresh new look for agents. “For 2011, we’re excited to share enhancements we’re making to our travel trade website at agents.gohawaii.com,” explains Julie Zadeh, the organization’s travel trade managing director. The new website, which launched last month, “…offers our destination training programs, sales and marketing tools and collateral order forms.” It essentially works as a one-stop shop of sorts for all island information. Agents are able to order all of their promotional material in one place, find out about events and other destination information for the different islands and use updated sales and marketing tools. Hawaii Destination Specialists also get a personalized guidebook for their clients, complete with their itineraries, relevant maps and special value offers.
A long-time winner with Recommend readers, the Hawaii VCB recognizes the support of agents when it comes to maintaining the destination in a top spot among their clients.
“The annual Readers’ Choice Awards represent a great opportunity to recognize one of the outstanding destination experiences Hawaii represents,” says Zadeh. “Hawaii is honored to be recognized by the readers of as the Sexiest Romance/Honeymoon Destination in the USA/Canada for the 11th year in a row. Knowing that so many agents think of Hawaii as a great romance destination is gratifying.”
In anticipation of a rosy 2011, products and properties are working on bigger and better offers. Maui’s new Honua Kai Resort & Spa is offering 35 percent off published rates (which start at $341 per night) plus a fifth night free. This Spring Special is good Feb. 7-April 24.
Travel Impressions—another Readers’ Choice Awards winner—is also staying faithful to the destination by adding new hotels to its 2011 portfolio, now available via print and interactive online brochures. Among the new additions in Hawaii are The Waikiki Edition in Honolulu, Maui’s Kaanapali Alii and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Also in Honolulu, Aulani is set to open next fall and promises to have that Disney magic sprinkled throughout, with everything from traditional Hawaiian storytelling around fire pits and character meet-and-greets, to adventure trails and a snorkel lagoon.
Another new choice for clients: American Safari Cruises’ new yacht adventures of seven or 10 nights, which combine plenty of active pursuits with lots of time for relaxing on board. The inter-island excursions aboard the 36-guest Safari Explorer, which comes with 2-person kayaks, sail boats and a 2-to-1 guest-crew ratio, depart from Lahaina, Maui and stop in Lana’i, Moloka’i, Molokini and Hawaii. The 10-day option adds more time in Hawaii proper. Among the incredible options for entertainment—whale watching, looking for green sea turtles and night snorkeling. The inaugural cruise departs on Oct. 26, 2011, with weekly departures through mid-May of 2012. Rates start at $4,995 for a 7-night cruise.