Ke ‘Ano Wa’a, the “Outrigger Way,” was a branding strategy designed to advance Outrigger’s corporate culture and business guidelines back in 1993 when Hawaiian scholar and historian, Dr. George Kanahele, created the branding strategy. Twenty years later, the value-based branding initiative to connect three core elements of the hospitality industry—the employees, the guests, and the destination—is still going strong, but undergoing a bit of a revamping.
The revamping includes a refresh of its logo, which will still feature the Outrigger canoe, but will incorporate a new design and color palette incorporating blue, tan and brown tones paying homage to the pristine natural environments where Outrigger properties are located. The new marketing campaign, “Find Out. Find Outrigger,” invites guests to discover intimate experiences highlighting the unique local culture of the destination.
“To me, Ke ‘Ano Wa‘a means family. It means community and kindness. It is a process that was designed to deepen our understanding and appreciation of the local host culture. It is a distinct hospitality style that is now recognized across the globe and something all Outrigger staff personally carries with them at work and in life,” says Sean Dee, executive v.p. and CMO for Outrigger Enterprises Group.
As part of the rebranding, Outrigger Enterprises Group has launched a dedicated beachfront resort brand—Outrigger Resorts, which includes existing properties in Hawaii, Australia, Fiji, Guam, Thailand, Mauritius, as well as a newly purchased property in the Maldives. Now the Ke ‘Ano Wa’a approach has been introduced in seven countries, with China and Vietnam joining the list soon.
Prior to the launch of the Outrigger Resorts brand, everything operated under the broad Outrigger umbrella, for both the full-service beachfront resorts and the Hawaii condominiums. Now, with the establishment of the Outrigger Resorts brand, the Hawaii condominium properties have become their own brand, Hawaiian Vacation Condos by Outrigger. The separation will help the public differentiate the distinct products and offerings available. “We are able to provide travelers and our travel agent partners clarity of the different travel products, properties and amenities offered at each Outrigger location. Outrigger also operates under different brands such as the Holiday Inn, OHANA Hotels and Resorts, Embassy Suites, Best Western, Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Hilton Grand Vacations,” points out Dee.
“The new Outrigger Resorts brand positions our company for future growth with a continued focus on where we want to invest and where we can create some distinction within the portfolio, specifically our beach resort portfolio,” says Dee. “We have announced four new Outrigger resorts all within that beachfront resort positioning over the last 12-16 months. We anticipate announcing one to two new properties per year moving forward, so we’re going to continue to invest in the beachfront brand. We will continue to extend the exceptional hospitality and authentic cultural experiences, incorporating local traditions and customs into the guest experience at each of our current and future properties worldwide.”
Owning the Beach
“We wanted to represent a new direction for the company. We want to own the beach; we want to be known as the best beach resort brand in the world, and we have a long heritage of incredibly high ratings with consumers and travel agents based on our hospitality models, so we’ve been winning on the service side for years and now we really want to invest on the product side and the overall delivery,” says Dee.
Existing Outrigger Resorts will be getting a bit of a facelift over the next few years with added amenities and updates such as beachfront bars; new spas; and the addition of Voyager 47, a club lounge planned for every Outrigger Resorts property. “These changes will require varying degrees of renovations throughout our properties to ensure that there is consistency within the Outrigger Resorts brand,” says Dee. The earliest additions will be done to both the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, which should have the Voyager 47 clubs running by the fall of 2015.
The new spas will follow the models of two existing spas—the Bebe Spa at the Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji, and Navasana Spa at the newly opened Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa. Though a few other resorts currently offer spas with indulgent treatments to refresh and rejuvenate, now Outrigger is set to create a standard that unites all of the Outrigger Resorts. Guestroom renovations are also being redeveloped at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. “We’re in the early planning stages, but if all goes as planned we hope to break ground on the project sometime in 2017, which will include the addition of 200 oceanfacing rooms offering stunning views. Also, we recently announced the purchase of the Konotta Island Resort in the Maldives, which is currently under redevelopment with an expected opening as the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort in July 2015. We’re also in the midst of launching a series of brand standards for Outrigger Resorts and leveraging many of our service strengths. We will be putting the same type of scrutiny on the new product offering to make them consistent with our current and new brand standards. We look forward to some amazing changes as we continue to grow and develop as Outrigger Resorts,” says Dee.
Outrigger has a new Travel Professionals Guide for 2015, which is a resource for travel professionals. Also, the brand’s travel agent site went through a complete rebuilding last year with the launch of the Outrigger Expert Agent program. Agents who become an Outrigger Expert Agent get access to online education courses highlighting Outrigger Resorts properties, up-to-date property maps and information, exclusive specials, complimentary client welcome amenities, and invitations to exclusive events and FAM trips. “Over the years we have built great relationships with our partners in travel and we appreciate their hard work and feedback. We hope that by distinguishing our brand as Outrigger Resorts and Hawaiian Vacation Condos By Outrigger, we will help make their job easier,” added Dee. For more information, visit outriggeragent.com; outriggerenterprisesgroup.com or outrigger.com
For more coverage on the Outrigger brand, check out Outrigger Resorts.