After speaking with several agents who regularly sell Hawaii vacations, proven marketing methods, tweaked to include summer travel ideas and specials, were the most common approach for generating peak season bookings to the Aloha State.
For Kathy Beckman, a senior travel consultant with Segale Travel in Stockton, Calif., emailing wholesaler specials and packages to both former clients and potential new customers, often located through leads provided by the agency's consortium, Signature, has produced solid results.
"We generally get quite a few responses," she said. "And if an idea doesn't exactly suit a client, at least it got the phone ringing, so we can discuss other options that might be more appealing."
Images are usually an important component of any Hawaii marketing emails Beckman sends out.
"It might be a picture of a hotel or a picture of a beach," she said. "It depends on what we've received in reference to the promotion, [but] we always get better results with pictures."
Paula Quon, the owner of Supreme Travel in San Francisco, emails flight deals to her clients regularly, knowing that many of her customers begin thinking about summer trips to Hawaii months in advance.
"My clients often know when they want to go," she said. "So whenever I see an air sale, I'm just gently reminding them."
Weekly electronic newsletters, outlining a range of information about several destinations, are a favorite marketing approach for Terrah Rominger, a Hawaii specialist at Legacy Travel near Dallas. She's also included images of her own visits to Hawaii in past editions, which have yielded positive results.
"Sometimes it's just 'Terrah was recently in Hawaii. Here's a picture and here are some specials,'" she said. "But we're all about branding ourselves here at Legacy Travel."
Rominger has completed the Hawaiian Islands master specialist training offered to agents by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and said exposure generated from that program has also been terrific.
"One of the best ways for travel agents to market themselves is to become a master Hawaii specialist," she said. "The HVCB has an amazing program, and it's very easy, very simple, and then, bam, you are on their website. And that shows up in search engines when somebody's looking for a Hawaii specialist or Hawaii travel agents, and that's a wonderful way to get a ton of leads."