During a recent trip to Oahu, Bobbi Huber rediscovered what she
calls the “real Oahu.” Huber, who serves as director of business
development for the tour wholesaler Happy Vacations, traveled to
the island just before the year-end holidays.
“While there, I encountered the wonderful sense of
neighborhood,” she said. “Every little town had a parade or
community festival that intertwined the rich diversity of cultures
and sense of family. I felt like I had encountered a slice of
small-town America, Polynesian-style.”
Huber believes that agents can do their clients a great service
by telling them about the “real Oahu,” which keeps the
tried-and-true destination fresh and interesting for repeat
Agents can remind clients that Oahu is the U.S. crossroads of the
Pacific, with international shopping, multiethnic dining and
historical treasures found on no other island, Huber said. Oahu
offers an easily explored patchwork of cultures.
“When people think of Oahu, many don’t expect to see renowned
museums,” Huber explained. “But attractions like Oahu’s Mission
Houses, Iolani Palace, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Contemporary
Mu-seum and Bishop Museum are vi-brant links not only to Hawaii’s
past, but part of the fabric of our country.
To help clients discover the lesser-known joys of Oahu, Happy
Tours trains its reservation agents to listen and ask questions in
order to pinpoint travelers’ specific interests.
“Whether clients want the excitement of staying in Waikiki or
prefer the less touristy side of life in Hawaii, there is no better
island to explore than Oahu,” Huber said. “Our concierge program
can help tailor sightseeing to suit any interest. From nature and
history to dining and fashion, it’s all on Oahu.”
Encouraging clients to explore the island on many levels, Happy
Vacations is presenting several optional activities. Among the
companies it added for 2006 is Wild Side Specialty Tours, an
eco-friendly cruise firm charting the island’s Western shores.
During intimate wildlife adventures, clients can encounter whales,
dolphins and turtles while learning about marine conservation.
Other Oahu activities available through Happy Vacations include
Atlantis Adventures, Bike Hawaii, Germaine’s Luau, Hawaii Food
Tours, Kualoa Ranch and Makani Kai Helicopters.
Meanwhile, for 2006, Happy Vacations has rolled out its
inaugural golf brochure, featuring top courses on Oahu and
“Just as each island has its unique charm, each presents a
special golf experience unrivaled in the world,” said Huber. “Golf
vacations are one of the most enduring niche markets. Our new
brochure takes the guesswork out of it for travel agents.”
Among the Oahu courses available to Happy Vacations clients are
Ko Olina, Coral Creek, Hawaii Prince, Luana Hills, Turtle Bay
Resort and Koolau Golf Club.
For Oahu accommodations, the wholesaler is listing properties at
all price levels, from such high-end hotels as the Halekulani and
Royal Hawaiian to more moderately-priced digs like the Miramar and
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. For 2006, it has added the Ohana
Waikiki Beach-comber, a 35-year-old Wai-kiki landmark which was
recently re-branded by its new owner, Outrigger Ho-tels and
Western travel agents can learn more about Happy Vacations’ Oahu
program on the agent-only section of the company’s Web site.
“In addition, our brochures and newsletters provide agents with
up-to-the-minute news about everything Oahu has to offer,” Huber
said. “Our dedicated field sales personnel present in-house
training and sales tools geared for the front-line agent, with fast
facts and tips on how to help clients make the most of their Oahu
This year, Happy Vacations has launched a travel agent incentive
program called Perk, allowing booking agents to earn points good
for travel to Oahu or any destination that Happy Vacations
promotes. Agents can also apply the points to education
“Travel agents are our resource,” said Huber. “We want to help
them expand their knowledge, and the best way to do that is to
offer them hands-on destination experience.”
Clients heading to Oahu can book a Happy Vacations package from San
Francisco for $746 per person, including roundtrip travel on United
Airlines, ground transfers and five nights at the ResortQuest
Waikiki Beach Hotel.
Another Happy Vacations package out of San Francisco, priced at
$924 per person, features accommodations for five nights at the
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach.