Made to Order

Creative Leisure helps agents accommodate clients’ whims

By: Marty Wentzel

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 Coast.

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 center.

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.