Condo Collection

Outrigger rebrands condos to jump on travel trend

By: Marty Wentzel

HONOLULU Outrigger Hotels & Resorts officials believe that the re-branding of their condominium properties will help agents tap the growing trend of family travel and repeat visitors to the islands.

In May, the Honolulu-based chain announced the creation of Outrigger’s Condominium Collection, distinguishing its 10 Hawaii condominium resorts from the 40 hotels operated by Outrigger and its sister chain Ohana Hotels & Resorts.

Outrigger’s Condominium Collection consists primarily of low-rise beachfront properties with studios; and one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Each accommodation comes with hotel services like daily housekeeping and complimentary in-room coffee, but it also provides a full-size kitchen with appliances, a washer/dryer and other extras.

By establishing the new brand, Outrigger can keep agents better informed about the product, properties and locations of its condominiums, said Rob Solomon, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts. “The brand helps agents distinguish the standard amenities and in-room features their clients can expect,” he said, “and helps them determine if a condominium unit will suit their client.”

According to Solomon, many first-time travelers are not familiar with niche or neighborhood destinations like Napili on Maui and Kanaloa on Big Island, where Outrigger has condominiums. “Agents can do their clients a favor by helping them connect with these spots,” he said.

At the end of last year, Outrigger’s central reservation center reported a 9.6 percent increase in condominium bookings over the previous year. Repeat visitors, which constitute 35 percent of Outrigger’s annual business, are ideally suited for condominium accommodations because they know the destination and are more independent once they arrive, Solomon said. Other trends favoring condominium travel in Hawaii include the extended family vacation, where grandparents, parents and children travel together; and family reunions, Solomon said.

Over the past two years, Outrigger has partnered with its condominium owners on $12 million worth of renovations. Upgrades varied depending on the property, from enhancements in public areas and landscaping to upgraded in-room appointments and new telephone systems.

Outrigger currently has four condominiums on Maui, three on the Big Island, two on Kauai and one on Oahu. New projects are scheduled for 2004 and 2005, said Solomon. “We definitely see this area as a growth segment,” he said. For instance, a Big Island condominium under construction, the 96-unit Kolea, will join the collection once units are completed in 2005. In conjunction with West Coast wholesale partners, Outrigger is cross-promoting its Condominium Collection through radio and print advertising. “We are also doing a great deal of direct mail and e-mail distributions,” said Solomon. Travel agents who book an Outrigger condominium for their clients get a $50 bonus, along with the usual 10 percent commission. The bonus applies to stays of at least five nights, for travel through Dec. 21. Clients booking an Outrigger condominium can rent a minivan for $55 per day. 800-688-7444;