On the Road

Marriott Resorts Hawaii urges clients to get "on the bus"

By: By Marty Wentzel

The Details

Marriott Resorts Hawaii
As part of its current Spirit of Aloha bus tour up the West Coast, Marriott Resorts Hawaii is promoting its 2009 Hawaiian Sand Dollars initiative. Providing free nights and daily breakfast for two, the promotion is available at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

A rendering of Marriott’s Spirit of Aloha bus // (c) Marriott
A rendering of Marriott’s Spirit of Aloha bus

Marriott Resorts Hawaii is taking to the streets with a simple message: There’s no place like Hawaii.

Representatives of the chain’s island properties are currently driving up the U.S. West Coast in a colorful tour bus announcing itself as Marriott’s Spirit of Aloha tour. In partnership with Hawaiian Airlines and the Polynesian Cultural Center, the tour is visiting broadcast stations, Costco warehouses, travel agencies and wholesalers in seven key U.S. cities.

Marriott International vice president Ed Hubennette, who’s riding the roads with Marriott Hawaii hotel managers, sales representatives and public relations partners, said the group decided to travel by bus in order to create awareness from start to finish.

"The bus tour isn’t strictly a sales pitch for Marriott and our partners," Hubennette said. "We’re doing this to sell the uniqueness of Hawaii. We’re sending the message that Hawaii is distinctive, from its beauty and nature to its culture and activities."

The tour started in San Diego on Jan. 12. This week, the Marriott emissaries are spending time in Los Angeles and Orange County. During the week of Jan. 26, they’re making their way to San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento, and the week of Feb. 2 takes them to Portland and Seattle.

"We’re hitting our key visitor markets," Hubennette said.

In each major metropolitan area, the group is staging Marriott Resorts Hawaii Day at a strategic Costco location, complete with live Polynesian Cultural Center musicians and dancers.

From week to week, the group is dedicating Monday, Wednesday and Friday to visiting media outlets, retailers
and wholesale agencies. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Marriott Resorts Hawaii is reaching out to consumers with its Costco promotions.

"Three months ago, we were heavily concerned that travelers considered Hawaii too expensive," Hubennette said. "Since then, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has done a great job working with wholesalers to dispel that image. Now, we’re seeing great values in the marketplace, especially from the West Coast.

"We can sit around and talk about how the economic downturn is affecting Hawaii tourism, or we can go out and do something about it," he said. "With this tour, we have a chance to hit the road and tell people about how great Hawaii is."