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Since its inception 30 years ago, All About Hawaii may have changed with the times, but one thing has remained constant: its dedication to travel agents. Launched in 1980, the Tigard, Ore. wholesaler has evolved into a nationwide company with a growing list of initiatives designed to keep agents at the top of their game.
The Outrigger Reef on the Beach // © 2010 The Outrigger Reef on the Beach
The company, which sells vacation packages to the 50th state from major cities across the U.S. and Canada, recently grew its sales force with the addition of Cathy Bay in San Francisco and Stan Enden in New York, complementing its existing sales team based in Seattle, Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. The expansion reflects the company’s overall goal of providing “more service, all the time,” according to All About president Brent Mayes.
“We maintain a superior sales and reservations staff with equally superior product knowledge,” said Mayes, who has been with the company for nearly 30 years. “We don’t reach out to consumers. We are 100 percent dedicated to travel agents.”
Even when customers choose to book online, the wholesaler refers them to a travel agency to pick up their documents, allowing agents to earn commission on direct Internet bookings.
All About Hawaii is demonstrating its support of agents in a myriad of ways. In January 2010, it completed an extranet program allowing the wholesaler to connect to several hotel reservation systems in order to provide the best rates whether rooms are tight or in abundance. Also at the start of 2010, it implemented a new customer help line for after-hour and weekend calls. During those times, clients with concerns can contact the company’s regular toll-free number and rest assured that they will get service.
To make agents look good, All About Hawaii has been working to improve its e-documents, compiling traveler information that can be printed and forwarded with exclusive travel agency branding.
Then, there’s All About Hawaii’s agent handbook, which Mayes dubbed the “travel agent Bible — unique in the industry.” With maps, hotel prices, activity options, golf rates and other information, the annual publication is automatically mailed to the company’s database on the very day it comes back from the printer. Alternatively, agents can request it online or through All About Hawaii’s reservations staff.
Meanwhile, in order to protect travel agents and allow them to sell with confidence, All About Hawaii has created the Agency Preferred program, which recommends Hawaii hotels that are committed to providing price parity without undercutting. Among the properties participating in the program are Aqua’s Park Shore Waikiki; Miramar at Waikiki; Pacific Beach Hotel; Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach; Outrigger Reef on the Beach; Beach Villas at Ko Olina; Mana Kai Maui; Lahaina Shores Beach Resort; Hale Mahina Beach Resort; Sugar Beach Resort; Royal Lahaina Resort; Kaanapali Alii; Honua Kai Resort & Spa; and Royal Kona Resort.
And although the current economy continues to challenge the travel industry, All About Hawaii is planning to remain competitive by investing in efficient user-friendly online booking technology, said Mayes.
At the same time, the wholesaler is crafting value-added packages that provide clients with exclusive airfare, car rental and activity deals. Sample land-only pricing features six nights on Oahu with transfers, a welcome reception, breakfast and luau admission for two, priced from $353 per person, based on double occupancy. Seven nights on Maui with a rental car and a luau for two is priced from $574 per person. Six nights on Hawaii’s Big Island with a rental car and a luau for two is priced from $493 per person. And seven nights on Kauai with a rental car and luau for four people is priced from $338 per person. Agents should call to inquire about air component prices.
Each week, the wholesaler also runs a 48-hour sale with deep discounts on select properties. Posted every Tuesday and Wednesday, the sale is listed on the wholesaler’s website with a special button to view the offers. One day in advance, All About Hawaii e-mails information about the sale to its database, so agents have the opportunity to forward the news to their clients. The specials are also viewable on All About Hawaii’s Web scroll.
As an extra booking incentive, All About Hawaii is offering agents opportunities to earn up to 20 percent commission. At select hotels, it is providing client amenities in the agent’s name. Additionally, it now works with Alamo and National rental cars, featuring kiosk check-in and no fees for additional drivers.
“Every day, our competitive pricing and commission structure are supportive of the travel agent,” said Mayes. “The bottom line is to make the agent look like a hero.”