Deals and Steals

Spring travel to Hawaii at a fraction of the cost

By: By Marty Wentzel

Hawaii: Spring On Sale

Hawaii Spring On Sale 03.02.09 CoverPlease visit our Guides & Brochures page to browse a full version of our Hawaii: Spring On Sale supplement.

If your clients are craving value in a springtime vacation, tell them to look no further than Hawaii. From free nights and upgrades to gratis meals and gift cards, the current offers available for travel from March through May are making the islands more irresistible than ever.

One of the many island companies with value-packed spring deals is Aston Hotels & Resorts (formerly ResortQuest Hawaii). On Oahu, for instance, clients can book the Trolley Hop Room and Ride from $139 per night, including two four-day Waikiki Trolley passes. On Hawaii’s Big Island, the Sweet Suite Golf for Two promotion includes a restaurant gift card and two 18-hole rounds, starting at $240 per night. For all its guests, Aston has doubled the value of its Aloha Book of coupons and deals to $2,000 worth of exclusive offers. And, the newly rebranded resort company is demonstrating its dedication to travel agents by stepping up its incentive programs.

Aqua Hotels and Resorts launched an Obamarama package to honor the new president. // (c) Aqua Hotels & Resorts; Wyland Waikiki
Aqua Hotels and Resorts launched an Obamarama package to honor the new president.

"We have introduced early booking specials for spring travel as well as launching our Double Cash Back bonus for travel agents [who can earn up to $100 for each booking with a minimum of five consecutive nights]," said Aston senior vice president of sales, marketing and revenue management Shari Chang.

Springtime savings abound at Aqua Hotels and Resorts as well. With its Waikiki BOGO, a buy-one, get-one-half-off sale, rates start at $79 for the first night and 50 percent off on the second. The Nifty To Be Fifty special — timed with Hawaii’s 50th anniversary of statehood — provides a rate of $50 for the first night, a free amenity for guests aged 50 or older, a 1959-inspired postcard and an optional 30-minute massage for $50. Honoring the nation’s new president, Aqua’s Obama-rama package features rates from $139 per night, a rental car and a copy of the new book, "The Dream Begins: How Hawaii Shaped Barack Obama."

"Aqua is focusing on creative promotions to combat declining market conditions in Hawaii," said Aqua sales and marketing vice president Elizabeth Churchill. "All are commissionable to travel agents and appeal to today’s price-sensitive travelers."

The Wyland Waikiki is encouraging spring bookings by adding value to its nightly rates, which start at $129. Guests get freebies like access to the hotel’s Chill Room, with its massage chairs and entertainment system; use of the business center; phone calls to the mainland U.S. and Canada; and ice pops by the pool. The hotel’s most aggressive special provides every third night free with a free upgrade and continental breakfast for two.

"The Wyland is being very proactive," said Stacy Manzo, Wyland Waikiki sales and marketing director. "We are pulling out the stops and giving consumers the most incredible values ever. These specials are available through all distribution channels in every category throughout the year, including spring break."

Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts owns and operates the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui and the Royal Kona Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island. Both are offering extraordinary spring deals called Aloha rates. At the Royal Lahaina — which recently wrapped up a $35 million remodel of its Lahaina Kai Tower — Aloha rates start at $165 through April 12, and from $149 starting April 13. The Royal Kona has extended its low nightly rate of $115 through June 7.

"In 2009, we continue to position our resorts as the best oceanfront values in the islands," said Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts regional marketing manager Megan Anderson. "The recently renovated rooms in both resorts present guests with upgraded accommodations in two of Hawaii’s most dramatic settings at incredibly low rates. Visitors simply will not find such winning combinations anywhere else."

Promising its own form of exceptional value, Ohana Hotels and Resorts has a new Third Night Free program with nightly rates as low as $93. At any of its four Waikiki properties, clients get a $15 shopping credit for each night they book the popular Shop Around Package.

"Our properties now include more free amenities than ever before," said Ohana sales and marketing director Tom Wakita.

Wholesalers are being equally aggressive in touting spring travel to Hawaii. A case in point is Blue Sky Tours, which is pitching land-only packages with value in mind. On Oahu, four nights at the Outrigger Waikiki go for $616 per couple, including shopping and dining discounts. A five-night stay at Maui’s The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua costs $2,550, including a rental car and breakfast, while five nights at the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort runs $990 with a daily, $25 dining credit. On Hawaii’s Big Island, clients can spend three nights at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa for $792, which includes breakfast and a rental car.

"We only sell to travel agents," said Charlotte Kerr, Blue Sky’s sales and marketing manager. "It has always been our philosophy to sell the best product for the best price."

With minimal effort, agents can provide their clients with reduced rates at properties from one end of the pricing spectrum to the other. At Oahu’s luxurious Kahala Hotel & Resort, for example, the Island Drive package, from $485 per night, comes with a rental car. On Maui, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s Room, Wheels and Meals deal is $245, with breakfast buffet and a rental car, too.

Respected island hotel chains are doing their part to keep customers satisfied this spring. One of Marriott Resorts Hawaii’s best deals, Hawaiian Sand Dollars, provides a free night and daily breakfast for two. The Hilton Family Hawaii’s 50 Years of Aloha package includes reduced room rates, a credit for a dining, spa or beach activity, two Hawaii State quarters and the fifth night for $50. Castle Resorts & Hotels’ Springtacular Savings cuts rates up to 55 percent off rack and includes continental breakfast.

Considering these deals as well as the many other bargains currently available, it’s clearly a buyer’s market in Hawaii this season.