NEW YORK -- Travel Weekly asked three travel agents who specialize
in Hawaii vacations to give readers the inside scoop on booking
clients into condos.
Angie Borrelli, with RT Peak Travel Group in San Jose, Calif.,
and Deepak Patel, owner of Carlson Wagonlit/Contrail Travel in
Chicago, shared their experiences and advice.
"Condominiums tend to provide more of a home feeling. And we
find that condos tend to be extremely convenient to everything our
clients want to do," said Patel.
"Also, for budgetary reasons, a condo can be more viable. You
can save some money -- heat up some lunches, have breakfasts on
hand and avoid expensive minibar charges."
According to Patel, the honeymoon and conference markets and
senior citizen clientele all tend to take longer trips -- and they
prefer to visit two or three islands. "For these situations," she
said, "condos work better."
Patel noted that seniors are good candidates for condo stays
because they often are budget conscious and sometimes have special
dietary needs "and want to cook their own food."
And, she added, "Everyone appreciates being able to make their
own coffee in the morning."
RT Peak Travel's Borrelli said she finds families the best fit
for condo bookings.
"Not just because of the cooking, but because of the comforts
and knowing that they're all together in one place -- and the price
for a condo is a lot more attractive, especially for a family of
five or six."
Adding that condos generally offer a low-key atmosphere,
Borrelli noted that many also offer traditional hotel amenities,
such as daily maid service.
"If someone is staying one week on one island, and a week on
another, I'd recommend that they stay at least one of these places
in a condo," she said.
Condo and time-share developments cultivate the attentions of
travel agents with a variety of incentives.
For example, Aston Hotels & Resorts rewards retailers with
its Super Travel Agent Rewards (STAR) program.
Travel agents who book clients into any Aston Hotels &
Resorts properties in Hawaii are eligible to earn STAR incentive
points. A value of one to three points is awarded for each
Points may be redeemed for accommodations, roundtrip
inter-island air on Aloha Airlines and gift certificates for Eddie
Bauer, Borders Books and other retailers.
Marc Resorts offers fam trips and travel agent rates.
Through June 30 and from Aug. 21 through Dec. 20, select Marc
Resorts Hawaii properties offer less-than-50%-off fam-trip rates to
travel agents at properties on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and
Molokai. Nightly rates range from $40 to $79.