Wayne Overman, who has been selling trips to Hawaii for more than 30 years, started Aloha Hawaiian Vacations as a way to spend more time in his favorite destination.
Shane Nelson, who is Travel Weekly's contributing editor for Hawaii, recently spoke with Overman about where his North Carolina-based company books the most honeymooning couples, standout wedding locations in the state and the all-inclusive wholesaler's commissionable wedding packages.Q:What makes Hawaii such a good fit for folks planning either a destination wedding or a honeymoon?
A: Hawaii is one of the world's most sought-after destinations for vacations, so of course it would also be popular for honeymooning and weddings. I think the aloha spirit is also very important. Weddings are romantic events, and what better place to have a wedding than the place where the aloha spirit prevails, and that really ties into romance, in my opinion.
Q: What are some of the most popular wedding locations in Hawaii for your clients?
A: Most of our clients get married at Magic Island, near Ala Moana on Oahu, or at Queen's Beach in Waikiki, where you'll find fewer crowds. But Oahu has countless great wedding venues. Another is the Kahala Hotel. It's right by the beach, with a lovely location only somewhat outside of Waikiki. But Magic Island is very popular with our clients because of its accessibility. It's easy to get to, and on the left side of Magic Island, facing the ocean, you have Diamond Head and Waikiki in the background for your photography, which is just beautiful. On Maui we use Kapalua Bay a great deal for weddings, because, again, there just aren't as many people there, and it's a beautiful location. Our clients just love the stunning beauty and find it very romantic.
Q: Can you explain your wedding package a little and how that works?
A: It's all-inclusive and basically has the main features that everyone wants in a wedding. There are licensing instructions and processing assistance. We have a number of different wedding locations along with morning, afternoon and sunset options. We handle transportation to and from [Hawaii], full-service wedding coordinators, flowers and kukui nut leis for the participants. We also include the minister, music, photography, Champagne and sparkling cider. And we also include breakfast along the beach on the morning of the ceremony, which is something most other companies do not include in their packages. We like to include that no matter what island you're on, just to start the day off with that romantic tone. And then we like to top off their wedding day with a really nice dinner, and on Oahu we use the revolving restaurant [Top of Waikiki], which is just a really romantic spot. Most companies do not have those breakfast and dinner options, and travel agents would get a commission for booking our wedding package.
The Sheraton Waikiki, with its beachfront views, is one of Aloha Hawaiian Vacations’ most popular honeymoon destinations.
Q: What are some of the most popular resorts or hotels on the Islands for honeymoons?
A: For our company, the Outrigger Waikiki, the Sheraton Waikiki and the Westin Moana Surfrider on Oahu are all very popular for honeymooners. And another more budget-friendly property in Waikiki is the Ohana East.
The Outrigger Waikiki and the Sheraton Waikiki are probably our most popular. They're on the beach, they're centrally located. They're extremely nice hotels and offer really good value for the dollar in terms of beachfront properties. Overall, Waikiki is our most popular destination for honeymooners, and Maui runs second. We use the Royal Lahaina Resort there, [and] it has a great location. It's near everything in Lahaina, including some nightlife and shopping. But you feel like you're on the dark side of the moon when you're actually at the Royal Lahaina Resort, because you're on the other side of Black Rock in your own little world, separated from so many of the other resorts there on Kaanapali Beach. It just has a very private feeling.
Q: Do you sell a lot of activities to honeymoon couples?
A: We do sell many activities to honeymooners. Again, our company specializes in all-inclusive packages, and when somebody buys from us, they're really buying everything. And honeymooners really do what the mainstream vacationers do: mainstream things like Island tours; Hanauma Bay snorkeling; water activities like whale-watching; hiking trails; and ziplining has become very popular. Of course, the most popular of all the options is Pearl Harbor. Honeymooners and just about everybody wants to go to Pearl Harbor.
Q: Is there one island that's most popular for honeymooners?
A: A lot of times when people see all of the fun things you can do on Oahu, they select that island. There are certainly great things to do on all of the other islands, but there's just not as much, so most of our honeymooners choose Oahu, because they not only want to honeymoon but also see one of the world's most popular destinations at the same time, and they're often looking for exciting things to do.