David Preece, Vice President/North America Hawaii Visitors
& Convention Bureau discusses the importance of honeymoon and
romance travel to Hawaii with contributing editor Robin
TW: What is the scope of the honeymoon market
Preece: Westbound honeymoon arrivals to Hawaii
-- this represents primarily North America, although it does
include South America as well -- are about 270,000 per year. We've
seen steady growth in this market over the past five years. This
270,000 compares to the total number of visitors from the westbound
market of approximately four million for 1998.
When we consider the overall market, though, we call it the
romance market because it's really broader than just honeymoon
couples. Along with honeymooners, the romance segment includes
bridal parties for couples who have their wedding as well as their
honeymoon in the islands, as well as people celebrating other
romantic occasions like an anniversary.
TW: How then do you market to these lifestyle
and life-stage niches, including the romance market?
Preece: We identify seven or eight lifestyle or
life-stage niches that we consider as supplements to our general
marketing program. We have a variety of marketing initiatives
targeted to these segments. For honeymooners we have specific
information on our Web site, and in our destination planner we have
a special section on honeymoon travel. We also have a broad,
integrated marketing program with one of the bridal magazines,
Modern Bride, which includes advertising, advertorials, Internet
promotions and participation in bridal fairs around the
For travel agents, we have information to help them help their
honeymoon clients. This includes identifying the suppliers of
products and services. Some suppliers position their products
within HVCB programs like our advertising program.
Our research shows that 72% of all people planning a honeymoon
have consulted a travel agent. This illustrates the opportunities
agents have for being an information source and for packaging
programs for honeymooners.
TW:How would you characterize Hawaii as a
honeymoon and romance destination?
Preece: Hawaii is almost always named as a top
honeymoon destination in surveys and its popularity is growing.
Hawaii's imagery is so closely associated with being romantic. And
the fact that it is part of the U.S. is another selling advantage.
Hawaii is very safe, especially for people who, like many
honeymooners, are not experienced travelers. We have the same
traffic laws, the same currency and other factors that make for a
great comfort level, which enhances the destination's natural
TW: How do each of the Hawaiian islands stack
up in terms of their share of the honeymoon market?
Preece: The latest figures we have are for
1997. When asked the island they considered most popular, 60% of
honeymooners chose Maui, 55% chose Oahu, 30% chose Kauai and 18%
chose the Big Island.
There is also some overlap in these figures. Our research also
shows that 53% of honeymooners go to one island only, while 47%
travel to more than one island, and that the average age of people
visiting Hawaii for a honeymoon or destination wedding is 32,
compared to 43 for the average age of all other visitors to