“People will say there are a lot of other brands with beautiful hotels on the beach. Outrigger is the beach,” says Bitsy Kelley, v.p. of corporate communications and granddaughter of the Outrigger founders. “It’s the only exclusive brand on the beach—it’s in our genes, starting back with my grandparents. We’re able to take it [Outrigger] across the Pacific because we understand island destinations and respect the culture…making sure we select iconic destinations that people want to go to.”
Outrigger is setting out to become the premier brand on the beach and with that plan comes a little rebranding. First, they’ve added the word “resorts” to their name in order to “help clarify to our visitors, guests, and agents what they’ll be experiencing,” notes Kelley. Adding that, “the Outrigger Resorts brand is focusing on iconic beachfront destinations around the world.”
The brand currently runs 47 resorts in seven countries including the U.S. (in the Hawaiian Islands), Australia, Fiji, Guam, and Thailand, as well as Mauritius, where the company opened the Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa last April. And in the Maldives, the Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort is set to open this July. The brand also has plans for future openings in China, Vietnam, and across Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean; their goal is to open two to four additional Outrigger Resorts annually over the next decade.
However, Outrigger’s expansion isn’t changing the way they do business—they’re still remaining true to their roots. “We want everyone to know that we’re still a family-owned business—we just celebrated 67 years of being Outrigger,” points out Kelley. “[We] also [have] a legacy to our guests and future guests to be able to go on this voyage into the future together for incredible experiences and [to] very iconic destinations,” she adds.
The revamping will give the properties a more cohesive feel, while still remaining true to the local culture, as well as each property’s distinct offerings. All properties will have a full-service spa, a beach bar, and the new Voyager 47 club lounge—which Kelley describes as the “next level premier club stay.” The Voyager 47 club lounge will offer guests a private pool, an elevated level of service, breakfast, and cocktail offerings. The first properties that will debut the Voyager 47 club lounges, in fall 2015, are the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. Other properties expected to refurbish their existing club lounges to the Voyager 47 name are Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort; the Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa; and the Outrigger Guam Resort.
“It is extremely exciting to see a Hawaii company expand beyond the shores of our island and go global,” says Nancy Daniels, director of public relations for Outrigger Resorts. “…Bringing more people, and more culture and experiences that we can now share with the guests who come to our Outrigger properties.”
This expansion is coming at a perfect time, as according to Kelley, island destinations across the Pacific are gaining popularity. She points out that the traveler visiting these destinations is the next generation—the millennials. “They’re a little bit of a different traveler; they’re more independent and really enjoy traveling for a cause—the voluntourism.” Adding that even those who are traveling independently are traveling in a group as they’re always connected through social media. “They’re Tweeting, they’re SnapChatting—they’re with their friends and family wherever they go through technology. They’re independent, but they’re still together.”
She also notes that a large percentage of Americans have never been to Hawaii, and that’s when a travel partner comes in “to help them put together the trip and explain the destination, like the basics—you can’t drive from Oahu to Maui.” Daniels adds that although anyone can book their own reservations online, what they notice is “that everyone is so darn busy. You may go online and do research and explore, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of putting things together and comparing one to the other, so many people today don’t have the luxury of time to do that. And that’s where our travel agent partners come in; they’re the experts that can help busy people navigate the process of planning a special visit.”
For more on Outrigger’s rebranding, don’t miss Outrigger Rebrands & Expands.