Shapiro // © 2017 TravelAge West
In this issue’s cover story, “Outrigger Charts Its Course at 70” (page 14), we profile one of the most successful hospitality companies in the travel industry. Honolulu-based Outrigger Hotels and Resorts has been welcoming guests for more than 70 years. To put that in perspective, Hawaii has only been a state for 58 years. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the history of Outrigger is linked to the islands’ rise as a beloved tourism destination.
As you can read in the cover story, there are many reasons for Outrigger’s success. But one of the key reasons is the company’s acceptance of its Hawaiian roots.
One can’t think of Outrigger without thinking of classic Waikiki beach culture. Rather than battle this connection, Outrigger realized early on that its origins are part of its power.
“Outrigger is intricately woven into the fabric of Hawaii’s tourism market,” said Scott Dalecio, president and CEO of the company.
Travel agents can learn a lot from Outrigger’s approach. Having a specialty and developing a unique identity is a good way to stand out from the crowd. Some agents might try to be experts in all things right out of the gate. But having a clear focus — or linking yourself to a specific destination or type of travel — can simplify what your agency stands for. And, like Outrigger, you can continue to grow your business and be innovative while staying true to that initial concept.
A golden rule about building this kind of business identity is that you can’t fake it. Outrigger is linked to Hawaii because it truly lives, acts and believes in the principles of Hawaiian hospitality. The beliefs came first, and success was a result of the power of those beliefs. There are no shortcuts.
Travel is a passion for many people, just as it is for many agents. When you can combine that passion with your love for a particular destination or a type of travel that you truly care about, your work can be even more rewarding. So, start with what you care about most, then develop a business identity from that. Perhaps one day you, too, will be one of the great success stories in travel.