When Creative Leisure International reservations agent Mary Jo
Anderson goes to the Big Island, she enjoys easy walks and chilling
out by the water with a good book. Creative Leisure controller
JoAnn Patterson, on the other hand, is more of an adventure
traveler who prefers kayaking and hiking.
Taking a cue from its employees the wholesaler, based in
Petaluma, Calif., is coming up with new services to help travel
agents customize Big Island trips for all types of clients, from
the consummate outdoorsman to the couch potato. It does so, in
part, by promoting the talents of its Reservations Concierge, or
what Creative Leisure marketing manager Michelle Erbs called “a
travel agent’s dream come true.”
According to Erbs, Creative Leisure established the Reservations
Concierge program two years ago in response to a growing number of
requests from travel agents who needed help making special plans
for their clients.
“The concierge handles all the details that would take the agent
significantly extra time to do, and the arrangements are completed
in just one phone call,” Erbs said. “It makes the agent a hero in
the client’s eyes.”
While spa appointments, limousine transfers, dining reservations
and golf tee times are par for the course for the Reservations
Concierge staff, they handle out-of-the-ordinary requests with
equal aplomb, Erbs said.
“They can make sure there’s a surfboard waiting in the
guestroom,” she said. “People have requested, and received, fully
decorated Christmas trees in their accommodations, rose petals in
their bathtub and private dinners on the beach at sunset, complete
with live music.”
The Reservations Concierge can get particularly creative for
clients staying in one of the firm’s Villas of Distinction, a line
of high-end vacation dwellings acquired by Creative Leisure in
2003. Guests often ask to have the villas stocked with groceries
and a private chef to prepare their meals. In-house massages are
another common request.
Of the two-dozen Villas of Distinction in Hawaii, half are
located on the Big Island.
“Staying at a villa has proven to be very popular with clients
who are looking for an exclusive place to gather with friends or
family,” Erbs said.
Most recently, the line added Honua at Pauoa Beach, an elaborate
villa in a gated community at Mauna Lani Resort on the Kohala
Built last year, the three-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot residence
pampers guests with three private, outdoor shower gardens, a
gourmet kitchen and access to a nearby full-service spa and fitness
While Hawaii has always been one of Creative Leisure’s most
popular destinations, the firm is always looking for ways to make
improvements, Erbs said.
“It is really a work in progress,” she said. “We’ll always be
responsive to travel trends and to each customer’s needs.”
Creative Leisure International
951 Transport Way
Petaluma, CA 94954
The Big Island represents 30 percent of Creative Leisure’s
Hawaii business. The company is currently promoting a wide range of
air-inclusive packages to the island from San Francisco or Los
Angeles. A seven-night program with accommodations at Sheraton
Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa and use of a rental car goes for $1,332
per person based on two people traveling together. Clients looking
for a Villas of Distinction package on the Big Island can book a
seven-night stay at Honua at Pauoa Beach, including use of a
mini-van for $3,676 per person based on six people traveling
together. Both prices apply to travel during October.