HVCB asks industry to join campaign

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HONOLULU -- With a $150 million deficit projected for the next two-year state budget and officials calling on department heads to start thinking about cuts, its not surprising that travel industry executives in Hawaii are being asked to leverage their advertising costs with co-op dollars.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) is pushing co-op promotions, asking the industry to buy, literally, into its fall Come Experience Aloha campaign.

Co-op advertising is not new to the HVCB. The HVCB has always looked for cooperative marketing efforts because we know that working together we can all be more effective, said Jay Talwar, vice president of marketing.

The common marketing partnership arrangement was used broadly by the HVCB until 1998, when the Legislature allocated some $60 million to tourism marketing. The practice of encouraging wholesalers and consortia, hoteliers, airlines and cruise lines to combine sales and marketing efforts gained new energy after the events of 9/11 precipitated a decline in marketing dollars.

The states economy has turned around but is not expanding fast enough to make up the impending deficit in the 2006-2007 budget, according to Georgina Kawamura, state director of budget and finance. That makes co-op advertising an attractive tool for the HVCB.

Following is an example of how the co-op program works: The HVCB creates materials and opportunities that include ads for placement in travel agent publications; online marketing on Orbitz, Expedia and the Knot, coordinated with HVCB advertising; product placements at trade show exhibits; and ads in monthly consumer and travel agent electronic newsletters.

The e-newsletters are Islands of Aloha Express, with 250,000 readers, and E-xpressly for Travel Professionals, which is sent to 55,000 travel agents.

Among the other options are wholesaler co-op newspaper ads, broadcast TV and an informational e-mail. For information on rates, call the HVCB at (808) 924-0271.

To contact Destinations Editor Margaret Myre, send e-mail to [email protected].

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