Suggest food-loving clients visit Oahu in the fall, a shoulder period for the islands. // © 2016 Orlando Benedicto, Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
Feature image (above): Culinary events such as the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival take place during fall. // © 2016 Orlando Benedicto, Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
Oahu has emerged as a vibrant culinary destination thanks to its diversity of dining experiences. Around the island, talented chefs are blending multiethnic styles and flavors with a commitment to local ingredients, resulting in savory foodie adventures.
Here, Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, senior director of sales and marketing for the Oahu Visitors Bureau (OVB), shares tips on how travel agents can make the most of this delicious trend on her island.
Become an Oahu expert. As with any aspect of selling travel, agents must be confident in the destination and its products to close the sale with success. Agents should take advantage of OVB webinars, e-newsletters, fam trips and other tools that can keep them up-to-date on Oahu.
Emphasize fall culinary travel. Fall is typically a shoulder period in the islands, so clients can usually find better offers, rates and availability during that time. Also, fall is ripe with food-related events. Agents can create suggested itineraries surrounding the state’s foremost culinary bash, the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival (Oct. 14-30).
Identify your culinary clients. Agents will want to pinpoint their food-centric customers and put them into a separate database. By doing so, they can target and update those clients on Oahu’s culinary news throughout the year, based on each traveler’s specific dining interests.
Learn about Oahu’s food culture. It’s important to stay on top of all facets of Oahu’s culinary scene, not just resort offerings or well-publicized options. The island serves up a dynamic range of food experiences, from shave ice stands and shrimp trucks to high-end restaurants and world-class festivals.
Use social networking. Agents should actively engage with their clients through social networking and emails aimed at people who are passionate about eating and travel. Since food is one of the most trending types of posts, clients will be more receptive to them. Hashtags can also help agents reach a wider audience.