Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightNews that Aston Hotels & Resorts had taken over management at the 72-room Hotel Renew in Waikiki raised a few eyebrows earlier this month, surprising some in the Hawaii tourism industry because the luxury boutique is such a departure from other properties in the company’s portfolio.

“This was exciting because it’s a very different property,” said Shari Chang, Aston’s senior vice president of sales, marketing and revenue management. “It’s just a very different market, but one that we think we can do very well in.”

Well-known for a diverse collection of condo properties across the Hawaiian Islands, along with a range of larger full-service hotels in the state, Aston manages the ShaneNelsonWaikiki Beach Hotel, owned in part by Atrium Hospitality, the entity that purchased the Renew earlier this month for $23.5 million, according to a Pacific Business News report.

Already popular among visitors, Chang said the Hotel Renew, which has now been rebranded as the Hotel Renew by Aston, is currently ranked No. 7 out of 82 Oahu hotels listed on TripAdvisor.

“We think we can take it to an even higher level because we’re going to be adding a special amenity program,” she said. “We’ll be doing some things that they’ve never had available to them before like access to pools, access to a fitness center, and we have an arrangement with a spa nearby. So we’re going to have a lot of things that just weren’t available in its previous life.”

While neither the pool, spa or fitness center are contained within the Renew itself, Chang insisted each is just “a few steps away,” and she said Aston has some plans in the works for the property, which is just one block from the beach in Waikiki, that will be introduced later this summer.

“I can’t say anything just yet,” she said. “But the things we are going to be doing are very cool. It involves the senses, it involves technology. …They’re just really fun things that I don’t see anybody else here doing.”

Widening the hotel’s market share is another of Aston’s goals that seems to already be gathering steam.

“We have had inquiries already now from families because they read about the pool access,” Chang said. “They’ve said they considered the hotel before but were concerned that it might not be appropriate with kids, but now they have that option.”

Chang also said Aston’s well-established relationship with agents means the new acquisition is also a big positive for travel sellers.

“First off, now agents will earn incentives and free stays with our Stars online program when they book the Hotel Renew by Aston,” she said, referring to the company’s agent reward program.

“And sometimes when you have independent properties, an agent is putting their reputation on the line should anything go wrong,” she continued. “But agents know Aston and our sales staff and who they should contact if they need assistance with anything.”

This year marks Aston’s 65th anniversary, and Chang said the company will be launching an agent-related promotion in conjunction with that milestone later this summer.

“We love our travel agents,” she said. “And we want them to help celebrate with us, and we’re working on some fun ways to do that, so stay tuned.”
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