SAN FRANCISCO -- With a new North American marketing team in place,
the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau expanded its efforts to
support the industry in selling Hawaii.
It is training wholesaler reservations staff using shorter
versions of its seminars for Ke Kula 'O Hawaii (the School of
Hawaii), its travel agent specialist program.
According to Brigid McDonnell, HVCB's director of travel trade
marketing, North America, when wholesaler training in place, the
team will seek partnership and training possibilities with agency
HVCB began training wholesaler staff in August, beginning at
Mark Travel Corp. in Milwaukee, with almost 100 employees
Since then it has taken its program to companies such as
Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays, Apple Vacations and All About
McDonnell said the program can be adapted to whatever time a
wholesaler or consortium can devote to the employee training.
Although each Mark Travel employee attended a two-hour session;
eight two-hour sessions held over two days, some wholesalers allot
as little as 20 minutes for presentations (in comparison, the
travel agent seminars are three hours).
In July, HVCB appointed two regional directors of travel trade
marketing, new positions, one for the western states, the other for
In addition to participating in trade events, their major
responsibility is wholesaler and consortia training.
McDonnell said the team's responsibility is to train as many
people as possible to help them better sell Hawaii and create
She added, "We're closing the loop between the consumer, the
agent, the wholesaler and Hawaii. We have this fabulous curriculum.
Why not use it?"
Ke Kula 'O Hawaii was launched in April with 1,500 agents
attending seminars in 20 midwestern and eastern cities. Another
1,500 are expected to qualify at seminars in 16 western cities,
beginning in late October.
Participants, who must pass a test, are certified as Hawaii
specialists, with benefits ranging from consumer leads to prizes
for volume bookings and priority status for fam trips.
McDonnell, based in HVCB's San Francisco office, was appointed
to the new position of director of travel trade marketing, North
America, in April.
The regional directors of travel trade marketing are Jennifer
Cabasag, for the eastern states, and Christina Aldanese, for
Cabasag, based in New Jersey, was previously a district sales
manager for Classic Hawaii; Seattle-based Aldanese was formerly in
sales with the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Barbara Newton, who has headed bureau sales in Canada for four
years, is regional director, travel trade marketing, Canada, based
McDonnell can be reached at (415) 248-3800; Aldanese, (425)
788-6819; Cabasag, (201) 968-9392, and Newton, (604) 669-6691.