Family Travel to Oahu 101

Sponsored content: Understand today’s family market, unique attributes of the Island of Oahu and how to position Oahu to your family clientele
Easy to reach, explore, and enjoy, O'ahu is a breathtaking tropical oasis for families looking to connect and bond while enjoying a wide variety of...
Easy to reach, explore, and enjoy, O'ahu is a breathtaking tropical oasis for families looking to connect and bond while enjoying a wide variety of experiences. // (c) 2014 O'ahu Visitors Bureau

Build your business by tapping into the fast growing family travel market and learn what makes Oahu the ideal destination for diverse family travel segments.

Oahu: The Ideal Destination for a Diverse Range of Families
The family leisure travel market is one of the tourism industry’s fastest growing areas. And Oahu—easy to reach, explore, and enjoy—is the ideal tropical oasis for families looking to connect and bond while enjoying a wide variety of experiences. Discovering how to position Oahu for the different family travel segments is the key to building your bookings. 

The Diverse Family Niches
Customers today seek highly customized travel experiences and families are no exception. Every family travel group is unique in their composition and their interests and passions. That’s why it’s key to understand your particular family clients and what will make a vacation special for them. Do not assume that every family is the same and that an itinerary for one family is agreeable for another family. Ask questions to understand the generational difference in the group and to determine the interest of each member. Ask which family members are influencing the travel decision.

Watch ABC’s The Modern Family, or the recently released Adam Sandler movie, Blended, and it quickly sets the stage in understanding that today’s families are any combination of family members traveling together with each family member much more empowered to dictate how the vacation should be planned. This could be two partners traveling with babies and toddlers; school age kids, tweens, and teens; or college age kids. Multi-generational trips such as family reunions might include grandparents, adult children and their partners, along with the grandchildren. 

Why Oahu is So Perfect for Ohana (Families)
A number of compelling reasons make Oahu such an ideal destinations for so many different types of families. 

Variety – With so much to see and do plus excellent year round weather, there’s never any reason for the kids – or adults - to complain of boredom. You’ve got the best of town, country and beach experiences. There are ample opportunities for family bonding as well as moments for parents and grandparents who need a grown up break. Families might spend the morning at Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium or hiking up Mount Lē‘ahi (better known as Diamond Head) and then play at the beach all afternoon. On another day, families can play Hawaiian games and attend an authentic luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore. If Mom or grandma needs a moment alone or bonding time with the teen daughter, there are luxury spas in all the major resorts and great retail therapy. And if the men want to play a round of golf, exceptional courses abound. Plus, your Oahu vacation is never the same depending on the time of year your family clients come. With so many festivals and seasonal events, each trip to Oahu can be a different and satisfying experience. Thus, learning all Oahu has to offer is important and will enable you to create creative customized itineraries that fit each family client and to provide the expertise the family market expects from their travel agent.

Exotic Yet Familiar - Today’s families are intrepid travelers with parents who want to explore the world with their children, experience authentic cultures, and make lifetime memories. Oahu is a one of a kind tropical oasis offering a rare combination of the fascinating host Hawaiian culture as well as a melting pot of cultures from the Pacific, Asia, America, and Europe that all continues to shape Hawaii; a history that includes a respected kingdom and historical events that launched America onto the global stage; a sophisticated city and laid back beach environments showing off nature at her best; plus activities, attractions, and accommodations to suit every family. 

While Hawaii is one of the most secluded land masses in the word, the comfort of knowing that the family travel is still in the United States —where travel does not require a passport, the language is English, the currency is the US dollar and the systems are American—provides a little less stress for the family. For you, it means ease of planning and the ability to sell a unique travel experience to your clients. Utilize these as selling points for families looking to share the world with their family but who want to feel the comforts of home. Oahu can be as exotic or as familiar as the family requires.

Whether a family of four or a multi-generational group with babies, children, parents, and grandparents, families find Oahu easy to reach, explore, and enjoy. Once they arrive, families experience the warm welcoming aloha spirit on Oahu, where the Hawaiian concept of ‘ohana—family—is revered and respected. 

Accessibility - With numerous flights from the U.S. mainland, Oahu is a hassle free vacation choice, a real advantage when traveling with children or the elderly. 

Travelers can base themselves at wonderful accommodations in Waikiki or Honolulu to experience the numerous attractions in the city or anywhere else on the island. Visitors can also opt for a beach resort on the North Shore or the Leeward Coast, for a totally different experience. For those families who prefer not to move from island-to-island but want a little bit of everything, Oahu is uniquely position to satisfy. Stay in Waikiki for a few nights coupled with several nights on the North Shore or the Leeward Coast

Getting around Oahu is a snap. Waikiki and Honolulu are ideal for walking, taxis are plentiful, rental cars are easy to book, and many attractions and outfitters offer free round trip transportation. TheBus, the city transportation system, has reasonable fares, extensive routes, and special visitor passes. The Waikiki Trolley and the bright red, double decker AlohaBus are budget friendly options. 

Value - With loads of choices in accommodations, dining, and activities, Oahu provides excellent value for families of all sizes and budgets. There are numerous air and hotel packages, promotions for free nights and free kids’ stays, and attractions and outfitters with family friendly pricing. Oahu also has loads of free events and festivals for families. 

Some Diverse Family Friendly Oahu Activities 

  • At the Beach Surf at Waikiki and snorkel at Hanauma Bay.
  • History Lesson Discover WW II history at Pearl Harbor and Hawaiian history at Bishop Museum. 
  • Royal Family Learn about Hawai’i’s royal family at ’Iolani Palace and Queen Emma’s Summer Palace.
  • Hike the Island Climb Diamond Head and discover the beauty of sacred Waimea Valley.
  • Swim with the Dolphins Head to Sea Life Park or out to sea with Wild Side Specialty Tours.
  • Hawaiian Hula and Music Catch the free sunset Kuhio Beach Torch Lighting and Hula Show in Waikiki and take a free ‘ukulele lesson at Royal Hawaiian Center.
  • Chinatown Explore the noodle factories, markets, shops, lei stands, and restaurants.

Tips for Family Client Travel Planning

  • Know your customer. Determine the flexibility of the family members for travel, understand their interest and build close relationship with the travel planner as they will be your “sales” person to the other family members.
  • Be proactive in helping families plan: Consult the online school calendars in your area so you can suggest potentially money saving vacation times to travel
  • Suggest off peak times: Fall, late winter and spring are potentially great seasons to save money and enjoy Oahu with fewer crowds.
  • Inspire creativity:  Suggest that parents and children (of all ages) collaborate in creating a family blog or Facebook page of their Oahu trip using smart phone photo and video capabilities.  Recommend that kids should be encouraged to engage with family members to post favorite or “like” Oahu experiences and learning moments.  Ask permission from families to allow you to share these links on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed or in client email blasts as testimonials to help your self-marketing as a family travel expert.


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