HONOLULU -- Challenges facing Oahu's tourism were outlined at
the 12th annual membership meeting of the Waikiki/Oahu Visitors
David Carey, WOVA's 1997 president, said stays are shorter, the
first-time mainland market continues to decline and competing
destinations outspend Hawaii.
Waikiki's hotel occupancy has declined in each of the last 10
months through January, he noted.
"We have a great product that people have forgotten about with
all the promotional competition," he said, referring to the group's
"We know the problem isn't price," he said, adding that there
are empty airline seats to Hawaii at a $198 roundtrip price from
the West Coast.
On the positive side, Carey spoke of Waikiki zoning changes and
the $200 million Hawaii Convention Center.
The zoning changes will make it easier for hotels to upgrade and
He called on the industry to work together to prepare for and
market the convention center, which opens in Waikiki in July next
This, he said, will require innovative approaches to
transportation and coordination to provide a "seamless"
"WOVA has done "amazing things with limited funds," said Carey,
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts' chief executive officer.
"We must continue efforts to leverage the budget and increase
membership so we can increase marketing activities."
But he also gave an example of what he believes shows the
"significant impact" of limited funding.
He compared Oahu -- which has half the state's hotel rooms --
with Maui's larger tourism budget.
WOVA and the Maui Visitors Bureau both are chapters of the
Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau; each gets $1.3 million in
annual state funding.
Although WOVA gets no funding from the City and County of
Honolulu, MVB gets additional funding from Maui County -- $2.7
million this fiscal year, for a total of $4 million.
In the past four years, MVB, with a $14.2 million total budget,
outspent WOVA, with $4.6 million, he said.
Since 1990, Carey said, revenue per available hotel room on Maui
increased 25%; on Oahu, it rose only 18%.
What is worse, he said, Maui started with a higher base in 1990
-- an average daily room rate of $114 a day, compared with Oahu's
According to Janet Clark, WOVA executive director, the group
last year leveraged its funding with supplier members to produce a
$3.3 million campaign.
Besides WOVA's $1.1 million in marketing funding from the state,
another $2.2 million came from supplier partners.
"This enabled us to implement aggressive marketing campaigns
reaching more than 370 million consumers and agents," she said.
WOVA's marketing programs for 1997 include:
* A co-op campaign with American Express and more than 30 member
It features a six-page insert with destination and supplier
information in the April issues of Departures, Travel &
Leisure; Food & Wine; Travel Holiday; Sunset, and Reader's
The program will be supported by newspaper advertising in Los
Angeles, Orange County, and San Jose, Calif.
* A 60-second television commercial that will be tested in Los
Angeles in late April and will air in major cities this fall.
* Direct mailings to agents and other promotions with
* Television shows aimed at promoting Oahu as the "sports center
of the Pacific," broadcast through ESPN and other channels.
WOVA will produce nine shows on sports events, including
Outrigger Hotels Mountain Tour, Tour O Hawaii, Outrigger Hotels
Hawaiian OceanFest and Outrigger's Waikiki King's Race.
* Increased marketing efforts in Japan, including a promotion
A trade and consumer advertising program in Canada.
Besides Carey, others elected to the 1997 WOVA executive
committee were Ron Adams, Aston Hotels & Resorts; Joy Frommer,
DFS-Hawaii, which has the state's duty-free concession; Peter
Schall, Hilton Hawaiian Village; Peter Tang, Hyatt Regency Waikiki;
past president Keith Vieira, ITT Sheraton, and Clark.