Right on the Button

Marriott rolls out new incentives for agents; room-and-spa packages and spa cuisine in the works

By: Marty Wentzel

HONOLULU The latest incentive program from Marriott Resorts in Hawaii, coupled with continued improvements to its Waikiki property, is providing agents with new reasons for booking clients on an Oahu vacation.

For every five nights booked at a participating Marriott, agents get a $25 American Express gift check. The offer applies to travel from Sept. 1-Dec. 20.

“We’re having a fantastic summer and want to ensure the momentum for bookings through the fall,” said Paul Toner, Marriott International area marketing director, explaining the timing of the incentive. “We also want to support our visitor industry partners who book travel to our properties in Hawaii.”

While the incentive program applies to bookings at any of three Hawaii Marriotts including JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa on Oahu and Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club it may be most effective as a sales tool for the third participating hotel, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. Marriott purchased the 1,310-room twin-tower hotel, formerly the Hawaiian Regent, in November 2000. It completed a $60 million renovation of the property in 2002, and officials are eager to show off the results.

Marriott is still tinkering with the Waikiki Beach Marriott. This fall, for instance, it is opening a full-service spa and salon created and managed by hair stylist Paul Brown. Called Olakino Spa Salon, the 6,000-square-foot facility has 10 body treatment rooms, a 24-hour high-tech fitness center, beauty salon, locker rooms, steam and sauna rooms, water features and second-story views of Waikiki Beach. The hotel plans to develop room-and-spa packages and add spa cuisine to its menus, according to Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort general manager Stan Engeldorf.

With the opening of the spa, the property will be renamed Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, said Engeldorf. “It’s important to let everyone know that there is now a Marriott brand hotel on famed Waikiki Beach,” he said. “Since the modernization was completed in 2002, it’s like we have a new hotel, with something for everyone from all market segments. Guest satisfaction scores have improved dramatically, from 52 percent when Marriott took over the property in 2000, to 80 percent today.”

New Waikiki Beach Marriott services include Wi-Fi Internet in some guestrooms, a business center with 24-hour Internet access, two freshwater swimming pools, renovated meeting rooms, an outdoor banquet venue, the signature Kuhio Beach Grill Restaurant and Seattle’s Best Coffee. The hotel has added Hawaiian cultural activities and live music, and hotel employees have formed their own hula troupe that performs at the resort.

In the hotel’s Paoakalani Tower, renovated guestrooms now feature Hawaiian-style decor and furnishings, marble floors and granite countertops in bathrooms and private lanais with views of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach or the Koolau Mountains.

In September, Marriott is renovating the guestrooms in the hotel’s Kealohilani Tower. “Our resort has an inventory of 85 percent oceanview accommodations,” said Engeldorf. “Being able to say that we have 85 percent newly renovated oceanview rooms will be significant.”

Also this fall, Waikiki Beach Marriott will add Arancino di Mare Italian restaurant and a second Seattle’s Best Coffee, with sidewalk-cafe seating.

800-367-5370; www. marriottwaikiki.com.