Kauai: Information Just for Agents

I recommend Kauai to many of our clients who have already been to Oahu and Maui and who tell us they want to see something else in Hawaii," says Shelli Yerion, travel consultant for Petaluma (Calif.) Travel.

Yerion says that while Kauai appeals to a variety of clients, to be successful in selling the destination, you have to sell it differently to each type of client.

"I tell honeymooners about the beautiful waterfront hotels where you can sit out on the patio and have complete privacy, and I tell families about the beautiful nature that the kids will enjoy."

Older clients appreciate the relaxing pace of Kauai, says Yerion, and the fact that "you're not going to see a lot of thong bikinis on the beaches there."

Another point in its favor is that Kauai offers a good selection of smaller, Hawaiian-style hotels and inns for clients who prefer something other than the typical large resort property.

"Although there are now large hotels there, when I speak to clients about accommodations, I always remember the description of Kauai's hotels and other buildings from the days when I worked at Creative Leisure -- 'nothing taller than a coconut-palm tree.' "

In selling Kauai, says Yerion, you must first and foremost educate yourself by traveling there as often as you can, and by reading all the articles in the travel publications and travel books.

"It's also very important to study maps so you know locations of places when you talk to clients," she says.

"You should also network with people who have been there recently and who can give you tips on beaches, hotels and restaurants, and don't be afraid to refer to someone else in your office if you're not sure of information. We have specialists in our agency for cruises, the Caribbean, Hawaii, etc., so you shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of their expertise."

In addition, Yerion recommends that agents research all the good deals on hotels and activities that are widely available on Kauai.

She says that United's start-up of service from the West Coast to Kauai in June should give agents' sales to the island a big boost.

"The fact that I and the other agents have been to Kauai many times is a big factor in our success in selling the destination," says Rita Jasso, travel consultant for Davisville Travel in Davis, Calif.

Jasso strongly advises agents who are serious about selling the destination to take advantage of all the excellent agent education opportunities available to travel professionals.

"Most of our leisure agents have taken the HVCB's Focus on Hawaii educational seminars, and I am currently taking a class through Travel Age West," she says.

"I also signed up for the Travel Weekly Poipu Beach seminars in print and already got the first two lessons which I found to be really informative. Right after that I received a useful Kauai information kit."

To sell Kauai, you have to make clear to the client what makes it special, Jasso says. "I tell them about the lush greenery, the outdoor activities and the beautiful beaches, especially in the Poipu Beach area."

Kauai is a great place for clients who are looking for a destination that is laid-back and has more of the atmosphere of Old Hawaii than Oahu and Maui, she says. It's also a terrific place to recommend to golfers.

Since Kauai offers a good selection of vacation condos, it's also a place to recommend to clients who might prefer this type of accommodation.

Although Jasso sells Kauai to variety of travelers, she doesn't recommend it to young people who are looking for lots of "action."

It's perfect for couples and other travelers who appreciate the privacy and uncrowded surroundings that are widely available on Kauai.

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