HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau (HVCB)
anticipates a strong recovery in 2003 and projects continued demand
for a product that is "more relevant than ever," according to David
Preece, vice president for North America.
"Based on our research, economic projections and feedback from
our wholesalers, we see a strong picture emerging for the coming
year," Preece said.
"We're getting smarter and more aggressive about how we promote
Hawaii, and the experience our destination offers is more relevant
now than it was before 9/11," he said.
Preece cited safety as an "important underlying factor" in the
decision to buy a Hawaii vacation in the aftermath of Sept. 11, but
added, "We have never used the words 'safe' or 'safety' in our
marketing because travel agents and consumers already know that
Preece said the HVCB will continue to mine the eastern U.S. as a
"developing market" in the coming year, despite the serious impact
seen on travel from the East Coast in the last year.
The HVCB has not decreased spending in the western U.S., its top
visitor market, but incremental increases in the bureau's budget
will be dedicated to boosting arrivals from major eastern areas in
2003, he said.
"Roughly $13 million will go into marketing the eastern U.S.,"
In the coming year, the HVCB will work with major airlines to
develop additional nonstop service from the East Coast.
"We're trying to work with airlines to raise the quality and
quantity of service, specifically with respect to nonstop markets,
and as the market continues to strengthen, I know major carriers
are looking at Eastern expansion," Preece said.
Demand for and yield to Hawaii are strong relative to other
routes, he said, and because airlines are looking for profitable
markets in which
to redeploy now-furloughed equipment, Hawaii is a likely
candidate for more service in the near future.
The HVCB has had general discussions with most of the major
carriers, he said, including American, Continental, Delta and
United, as well as the Hawaiian carriers.
Preece emphasized that the state of Hawaii does not subsidize
air service to the islands, unlike many other destinations.
For consumers, the HVCB will offer a "full complement" of
brand-focused consumer marketing programs in the coming year, "with
a strong call to action," he said.
The 2003 media buy will include advertising in TV and consumer
magazines and a heavier investment in online marketing through
major travel portals with an emphasis on niche marketing.
The bureau will spend about $500,000 in online programs in 2003,
about a 50% increase from 2002, Preece said.
Sites targeted for advertising include TheKnot.com (for
weddings), several National Geographic sites, PGAtour.com (for
golfers) and familyfun.com, he said.
The HVCB's Web site, at www.gohawaii.com, receives 250,000 to 300,000
unique visitors per month, Preece said, and the bureau continues to
pass along sales leads to HVCB-certified retailers, matching them
to consumers by ZIP code on a rotating basis.
"Feedback from our agent-referral program is very positive," he
said, adding that research showed that 58% of all consumers who
requested materials from the site visited Hawaii within 12 months
of their inquiry.
The HVCB will expand its Ke Kula O Hawaii (School of Hawaii)
agent education program in 2003, Preece said, by launching an
advanced certification course for graduates of its entry-level
Retailers can become certified in one or more of the six
islands. Preece called the advanced courses "a good, logical
extension of what we're doing now" in the original two-part
"This is serious education, not a fam trip, although the
programs do include a fam trip element," he said.
The course of study will include visits to key areas, resorts,
attractions and activities and off-the-beaten-path
In 2002, the HVCB launched a self-study version of the
specialist course to extend the reach of the program, and in the
coming year the bureau will continue to provide training for
affinity groups as well as major wholesalers like Classic Custom
Vacations and Vacation.com.
As for the upcoming ASTA World Travel Congress, Preece said the
HVCB's efforts to attract front-line agents to the November meeting
include incentive programs and discount vouchers off future
Perks await agents at ASTA congress
SAN FRANCISCO -- ASTA and the Hawaii Visitors & Convention
Bureau (HVCB) are working to attract front-line agents to the
Society's World Travel Congress in Honolulu in November by offering
extra earnings and creating value-added coupons.
Brigid McDonnell, the HVCB's director, North America, for travel
trade marketing, said the effort to attract front-liners is simple:
"The more agents know ... the easier it is for them to sell
Agents who participate in Hawaii-specific seminars, such as the
HVCB's Ke Kula O Hawaii (School of Hawaii) agent education program,
while attending the congress will receive a $25 bonus commission
coupon per session, up to a total of $250 in bonus commissions,
from participating wholesalers and tour operators.
The coupons will be valid on bookings to Hawaii with a minimum
four-night stay and must be booked by June 30 for travel by Dec.
Retailers also can obtain value-added discount coupons from
attractions and activities throughout the state.
The discounts will be provided by up to 30 companies, McDonnell
said, and can be used for clients' future travel.
For more information, visit www.astanet.com. -- K.O.