Wholesaler All About Hawaii focuses on Islands’ diversity, ‘selling fun’
Travel Weekly’s contributing editor for Hawaii, Shane Nelson, recently spoke with All About Hawaii Pres- ident Brent Mayes, Product Man- ager Tamara Aalto and Area Sales Manager Denton Bangs about the Islands’ allure for summer vacationers and how the wholesaler’s business to
the Aloha State has fared in recent years.
TW: What makes Hawaii such a great
summertime destination for travelers?
Aalto: Hawaii is such a great summertime
destination because it’s so diverse. It’s a
great family destination, it’s great for couples, and it can be anything from a quick
getaway to your vacation of a lifetime.
Especially for families this summer, Hawaii is going to offer all of your favorite activities. We’ve got surfing, horseback riding,
deep sea fishing, diving, hiking, [all-terrain
vehicle] rides. And then going even further
beyond that, Hawaii has adventure ziplines,
parasailing, shark encounters, volcano
tours and other great lifetime experiences.
So at the end of the day, it’s all about agents
the travel agents to stay competitive with
the [online travel agencies].
We also have the yellow book. That’s
been extremely popular the last 30 years.
Agents call it their bible. The yellow travel
agent handbook [an annual publication
featuring product information and a directory of suppliers and services] is something
that’s been around for a very long time.
We also have the scrolling specials on the
website, plus we have all the branded emails
and branded advertising for the travel
agents to use as a tool so they can compare
Hawaii specials at a glance.
The Islands are rich in summertime activities for families. Pictured, riding with Princeville Ranch Stables on Kauai.
TW: Is Hawaii’s cultural diversity another
part of the destination’s appeal?
Aalto: It really is. Several of our tour part-
ners, like Maui Paddle Sports or Ride the
Rim on the Big Island, really incorporate the
culture into their tours. Their tour guides
are excellent about explaining the history of
the land that you’re on or the significance of
seafaring to the Hawaiian people.
the same ownership and management and
staff for 30 years. It’s that longevity that lets
us have strong relationships with our vendors, with the travel agents and customers,
and it allows us to have very strong, experienced employees.
TW: What sets All About Hawaii apart
from other Hawaii wholesalers?
Mayes: I think it’s our longevity. It’s being
T W: Can you talk about the tools you offer
agents looking to sell summer vacations to
Bangs: We have a large product line, probably the largest product line among all the
Hawaii wholesalers. We have dynamic rates,
instant confirmations, [and] all this allows
TW: How long has the Web-based sales
engine been a part of what you offer
Mayes: In one version or another, we’ve
had it since 2000. We take a lot of pride in
our website [because] almost everything
that you can do inside of our res system in
our office, our travel agents can do at their
desk. Of course not everything, but almost
all of our product and all of the capabilities
you can do. The purpose of our website was
business-to-business rather than business-to-consumer, and I think it shows in our
website, with the idea and focus being that
everything our res agent can do within our
office, we were placing those capabilities at
the travel agent’s desk.
TW: Do you encourage your Hawaii cus-
tomers to visit neighbor islands? Is sell-
ing multi-island visits a large part of your
business to Hawaii?
Bangs: We absolutely encourage them to
visit the neighbor islands. All of the islands
are beautiful and unique. Each has their
own history and scenery and activities and
attractions. A multi-island trip is the best
way to experience everything that Hawaii
has to offer, and we make that easy to do on
the website. … And then with the increased
service from the mainland to all of the different islands, that actually brings the cost
of a multi-island trip down.
Sometimes it’s the little,
that stay with you, forever.
Mayes: The opportunity to sell neighbor islands is only becoming easier with more of
the carriers we sell flying in and out of multiple islands. Selling an open jaw with one
neighbor island flight to make a two-island
package is a lot easier than it has been in
the past. Not only that, but with the new air
service — Hawaiian Airlines starting service
out of [New York] JFK; United out of Washington, D.C.; Alaska Airlines service off the
West Coast — there’s a whole lot more of
Hawaii to sell than there was in the past.
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TW: What advice would you give agents
looking to grow their summer business to
Bangs: I think it’s going to take the travel
agents advertising and getting the message
out to their clients. They need to be proactive and reach out. When a great airfare
deal comes out, they need to send that to
their clients. When great hotel deals come