Big Year for

Online booking site for island activities sees huge growth

By: Marty Wentzel

HONOLULU, a Web site created as a one-stop shop for travel agents booking activities in Hawaii, is seeing dramatic increases in its membership this year; and in response, its owners plan to add more activities and online tools throughout 2003.

On the password-protected, agent-only site, members search and book activities, tours, attractions and entertainment options, with commissions ranging from 10 to 25 percent, according to the provider. There’s no charge to become a member of the program.

Since February, the Web site’s agent membership has increased from 250 members to 1,000, with weekly bookings up 800 percent during that same time. “Recently, especially with the war, it’s become more important for agents to capture new opportunities to earn commission and increase service to clients,” said Johan Lundgren, owner. began in fall 2001. Lundgren came up with the idea of an online activity consolidator, as he worked various jobs in the Hawaii travel industry. “As airline commissions disappeared, I saw an opportunity for travel agents to earn more commissions selling activities,” Lundgren said. “I investigated the market further and realized that if travel agents were to find and contact all the individual activity providers, it would take so much time it wouldn’t be worth it. But if they could submit their information just once, and if they could find and book a variety of activities in one place, it would be highly profitable to the agent.”

Within each activity category, lists several providers, each with its own rates and commission. This allows agents to meet their clients’ budgetary needs while searching for the highest possible commissions, which are paid within 30 days of the activity date. currently lists over 120 different activities, and Lundgren hopes to grow that number to 200 within the next six months. “If travel agents still don’t find what they’re looking for, they can e-mail us and we’ll help them find it,” said Lundgren. The site includes activities on all six of Hawaii’s major islands.

In response to the growing demand, Lundgren said he is always thinking of ways to improve the site, so that it helps agents as much as possible. “We’re developing a version where travel agents can print out a customized brochure strictly for the activities they think their clients are interested in,” said Lundgren. “We’re creating an itinerary where the dates for the activities are flexible, within a certain time frame. And, we’re creating an affiliate program, so agents can sell activities through their own Web sites.”

As he refines and improves the site, however, Lundgren will remain true to his original plan of working only with travel agents, he said. is currently running a booking incentive for its members. Throughout 2003, when agents book the same client on two Oahu activities through the site, the agents receive a $20 gift certificate to Ala Moana Shopping Center, an open-air mall on the west end of Waikiki. “We were looking for something that would give agents additional incentive for pre-booking their clients’ activities,” said Lundgren. “We are currently discussing other possible value-added promotions with different Hawaii companies.”