that’s one group to go after. You get them
hooked on the destination, and then they
have something like a 70% repeat visitor
rate. You take that repeat rate and stratify it
by point of origin, and you build up a base
of clients from the East Coast, Midwest
and other secondary areas other than the
West Coast. Then you sell the repeat visits.
Establish and build on the first demo-
graphic. Then, once you get them there,
build up a base of repeat visitors.
Q:What other areas of tourism would you advise Hawaii agents to focus
A:I’d sell adventure activities. There are so many things you can do and such
variety. You can go to the Mauna Kea observatory, and there’s also snow up there.
You can go see the lava. There’s horseback
riding, skeet shooting, hiking, waterfalls,
diving … so much you can do.
The other area I think is good for tar-
geting is foodies. There are so many fan-
tastic foods, restaurants, festivals and
other things you can promote. It’s about
getting people to the Islands first, and
then they can start learning more about
it. They arrive and they see they can go
to Nobu, Alan Wong’s … it runs the com-
plete gamut. It’s a little hard to sell travel-
ers on that aspect, but once they are there
for the first or second time, they start to
understand the full offering. I think some
visitors do get stuck at the resorts, and
because they don’t plan they miss out on
eating a lot of different, interesting things.
There is so much good food and many
new, amazing restaurants to try.
Q:What trends did you see picking up steam in 2017, and what do you see
in your crystal ball for 2018?
A:I think the travel alert for Mexico and the closing of some Caribbean
destinations due to hurricane damage is
leading to an increase in Hawaii demand
at this point. From our perspective, three
to four islands in the Caribbean were lost
completely in terms of booking travel.
Others are coming back on line, but Puerto Rico is still recovering and it’s a hub for
the Caribbean. We’ve seen a discernible
shift from Mexico and the Caribbean to
Overall, the market is strong, knock on
wood. Barring externalities like terrorism
or a stock market crash, consumer sentiment is strong and looking good for 2018.
Historically what you’ve seen is cyclical
shifts, and Hawaii is super strong at this
If our government gets in a big tiff with
whoever in Europe, invariably you’ll see
travel drop off. So you never know what
events may affect travel. Hawaii is doing
very well. A lot of people in the U.S. don’t
have passports, and Hawaii offers a safe,
exotic, domestic location.
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Continued from Page 23
Top, the Halekulani on Oahu is in the heart of Waikiki,
but can still feel secluded — ideal for couples. Bottom,
Disney’s Aulani on Oahu is a good bet for families, especially for those with children under age 12.