Focus On Agents

Outrigger launches updated hospitality specialist program, adds booking bonus

By: Dawna Robertson

Things continue to look up for Outrigger Enterprises Group. With both product and destination expansion, the company wants to make sure that agents are on top of all its growth. To do so, Outrigger has updated its travel agent program to better assist agents with becoming experts on the company's wide range of growing inventory in Hawaii and across the Pacific and Asia regions.

The company has also planned to put a little cash in the pockets of agents with a special $50 Condo Booking Bonus for every new realized booking of five nights or more that an agent makes at any one of the company’s condominiums on Maui, Kauai or the Big Island.

Since the initial introduction of the Outrigger Specialist travel agent program in 1999, the company has grown to include a wide range of brands and independent properties, including Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Ohana Hotels & Resorts, Outrigger Condominium Collection, Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk, Keauhou Beach Resort, The Wyland Waikiki and the Ala Moana Hotel. In addition, many of Outrigger's long-established properties have been rebuilt, remodeled or refurbished.

According to Lois Shore, vice president of distribution for Outrigger Enterprises, "With the growing inventory we are enjoying in Hawaii, and with our expansion across the Pacific to wonderful destinations like Australia, Bali, Palau and Thailand in the next few years, now is the right time to give travel agents a fresh look at our family of properties with a newly redesigned and expanded program."

On March 13, the program name changed from Outrigger Specialist to Outrigger Hospitality Specialist to be more inclusive of Outrigger's properties and brands across the Pacific and Asia region.

Now available is a new educational program called "Exploring the World of Outrigger Hospitality: Recommending the Right Property for the Right Client." According to Shore, this course will help introduce Outrigger’s broad inventory to travel agents and provide them with insights on which properties are best suited for each of their clients.

"The course focuses on top client segments for travel agents families, romance, active vacationers, culture-seekers and business travelers,” said Shore. “The information agents will learn should help them become more knowledgeable and confident in matching their clients with the right Outrigger Hospitality property."

The full curriculum is being developed and written by Marc Mancini, one of the travel industry's best-known speakers, educators and consultants. Dr. Mancini and his firm's associates are the creative force behind some of the largest and most highly praised certification programs in travel, including CLIA. Currently a professor of travel at West Los Angeles College, Dr. Mancini has appeared on CNN, ABC's "Good Morning America" and Showtime. He was also named "Educator of the Year" by the International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators.

While the previous Outrigger Specialist program's educational content was available only online, the new Outrigger Hospitality Specialist training courses will be delivered in a variety of ways to best accommodate the needs of the travel agent in person by Outrigger field sales team members, online via Webinars and, later in 2008, through

Travel agents can also look forward to a major sales outreach planned over the next few months across the U.S. to prepare agents for the selling of summer vacations and planning for the 2009 selling season. It will be conducted by Outrigger field sales team members, corporate sales staff and property general managers.

"We realize that every sale counts and happy guests are happy clients, so we are investing in new educational programs, online tools and improved incentives over the next several months for our Outrigger Hospitality Specialists,” said Shore. “Outrigger Hospitality Specialists also can look forward to further program enhancements to continue into 2009."

Travel agents interested in becoming an Outrigger Hospitality Specialist or who are one currently and would like to re-certify are asked to complete and return the form found at

Upon receipt, Outrigger will provide details on registering for upcoming Webinars, which are currently scheduled for April 17, May 7 and June 4, or for assistance in scheduling a live training in the agent's area by an Outrigger field sales member.

Thanking agents for all they do, Outrigger’s $50 Condo Booking Bonus is available until Dec. 22.
"Talk about a win-win situation," said Tim Alex, director of sales and marketing for Outrigger's Condominium Collection. "Travel agents can pocket a cool $50 and their clients have the pleasure of experiencing one of Outrigger's superior Condominium Collection properties in Hawaii."

The $50 Condo Booking Bonus applies to all reservations made at Outrigger's five Maui condos Outrigger Palms at Wailea, Outrigger Aina Nalu, Outrigger Maui Eldorado, Outrigger Royal Kahana and Outrigger Napili Shores; three Kauai properties Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation,Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort & Spa and Outrigger at Lae nani; and all Big Island condominiums Outrigger Kanaloa at Kona, Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff and Outrigger Fairway Villas.

"One of the most obvious benefits of opting to stay at a condo is that most units have a fully equipped kitchen," Alex said. "Visitors can stock up on fresh produce and fish from local stands or markets and cook meals to experience Hawaii's native tastes in a more firsthand way than at a restaurant. Plus, the money saved by eating in for some meals can be put toward more sightseeing and activities or splurging on shopping or souvenirs to take home."

Alex also pointed out that kitchens make it possible to keep snacks and drinks on hand, to store leftovers and to enjoy breakfast in pajamas. Alex added that condominium units are more spacious and provide the flexibility of packing lighter since units feature laundry facilities something that has become a priority today with some airlines now charging $25 for a second suitcase and $100 for a third checked bag.

"For a family of four, this can easily add $200 or more to the cost of a roundtrip flight to Hawaii, but travelers staying at a resort condominium may not need that second or third suitcase," Alex said. "Most units have washers and dryers or on-site laundry facilities, letting guests launder clothes, towels and other personal items at their leisure. So a single suitcase per traveler may do just fine!"

To qualify for the $50 Condo Booking Bonus special, each new booking must be made at a single participating property for a minimum of five consecutive nights. The booking bonus is combinable with other special offers and valid for GDS and tour operator bookings, as well as those made through travel Web sites, E-mail and over the phone. The special does not apply to non-commissionable rate bookings or group bookings of 10 or more rooms. For more information on the Outrigger condo booking bonus, log on at