Hanauma Bay, Hawaii // (c) istockphoto.com
With visitor arrivals to Hawaii dropping monthly and tourism officials predicting more of the same into 2009, wholesalers are continuing to roll out value-added promotions and packages to boost bookings to the 50th state. That means clients can find particularly good bargains on trips to the islands these days, from airfare discounts to free meals.
“There is a perception that Hawaii vacations and airfares are too expensive,” said Jack Richards, Pleasant Holidays president. “These promotions make vacations even more affordable.”
Pleasant Holidays’ penny-wise plans include several that must be booked by Dec. 31. Fast-acting clients can get 50 percent off companion airfare to Hawaii from Los Angeles and San Francisco, when their travel dates fall between Jan. 2-May 31 or Aug. 24-Dec. 15. From the same gateways, they can receive 50 percent off children’s airfare during the popular summer months. For Hawaii trips from other cities, clients who book before the end of this year are rewarded with a free economy rental car for their 2009 Hawaiian holiday. And, Pleasant has taken 25 percent off the cost of seven-day interisland cruises on NCL’s Pride of America throughout next year, as long as bookings are made by the end of 2008 (800-448-3333; www.pleasantagent.com).
Classic Vacations is encouraging end-of-year bookings for travel through Feb. 28, 2009, by offering to slash the airfare portion of the bill significantly. For example, with bookings of five or more nights at Oahu’s luxurious Kahala Hotel and Resort, clients get a $500 air credit, every fifth night free and daily buffet breakfast. The same deal awaits Classic clients who book the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui or the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay (866-554-6312; www.classicvacations.com).
All About Hawaii spokesman Wil Eichorn pointed out that in recent weeks, some airfares to Hawaii have dropped considerably up and down the West Coast. The wholesaler is doing its part to keep clients booking Hawaii by running attractive air-inclusive packages from Los Angeles. Case in point is its five-night stay at the Park Shore Waikiki — nightly from $643 per person — which comes with an orientation breakfast briefing. Equally appealing are its land-only rates, like the $88 per night Surf Rate at Aqua Aloha Surf and Spa; third night free, guaranteed upgrade and continental breakfast at the Wyland Waikiki; and 20 to 30 percent off regular rates at various Castle Hotels and Resorts properties (800-274-8687; www.allabouthawaii.com).
Gogo Worldwide Vacations’ 2009 land-only packages are targeting many types of travelers. For families, a five-night stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Oahu is priced at $617 per person, including a room upgrade and $50 daily dining credit. For honeymooners, agents can suggest the romantic Wailea Beach Marriott, where a four-night Maui getaway with daily breakfast costs $730 per person. Singles, friends and couples might like the updated and affordable Coconut Waikiki Hotel, part of the Aqua Hotels and Resorts family, where a five-night package with daily continental breakfast is currently going for $386 per person. For luxury travelers to the Big Island, the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii’s three-night deal for $751 per person provides clients with a $200 resort credit (888-567-0600; www.gogowwv.com).