Last year, 63.9 percent of the Big Island’s hotel business came
from repeat guests, according to the state Department of Business,
Economic Development and Tourism, and not surprisingly hotels are
pampering those guests with outreach programs to keep them coming
Case in point is Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, where repeat visitors
composed 70 percent of overall occupancies in 2002.
Keith Groves, Mauna Kea Resort yield management director,
credits the numbers to the reliability of the resort’s experience.
For instance, 21 staff members have been with the hotel since it
opened in 1965.
“These are not the best times globally to reach out and explore
new horizons,” said Groves. “Coming back to Mauna Kea year after
year, you know where everything is, and the staff greets you with a
warm smile and hug.”
To encourage their return, the resort gives repeat guests a
departure present that can range from Tiffany glassware to logo
Before 2001 repeat guests accounted for roughly 50 percent of
Kona Village Resort’s business. This year, it’s averaging 67
percent, spiking to 81 percent some weeks.
“Past guests are telling us that in today’s world, the peace,
quiet and security of the village is more important than ever,”
said the Kona Village sales and marketing director, Laurence
Mountcastle. “With the economy, they prefer to spend their money on
a vacation they know they will be happy with.”
Three times a year, the resort mails 24,000 newsletters to past
guests. It e-mails 7,000 past guests each month.
“A majority of our past guests have been here 12 to 15 times,”
said Mountcastle. “They get to know the staff, and the staff sees
families grow up. It’s a great relationship that only small
properties with high repeat-guest percentages can enjoy.”
All repeat guests get a flower arrangement, beach tote bags, and
welcome cookies and macadamia nuts.
An intimate property size has helped the 243-room Four Seasons
Resort Hualalai grow its annual return guest rate to 40
“We attribute this to our unique layout and design, and to our
personalized service delivered with a focus on Hawaiian culture and
values,” said Danny Breatchel, the marketing director at Four
Seasons Resort Hualalai. “Many of our employees make special
efforts to share unique aspects of their island home, which are
considered invaluable by our guests.”
Returning clients get a note from the general manager and an
“We maintain a detailed guest information database highlighting
their special preferences or experiences at the resort,” said
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows also keeps detailed guest
profiles to tailor repeat visits, according to Mauna Lani Resort
vice president Kurt Matsumoto.
“We pre-block their room in their favorite part of the hotel,
upgrading by one category when possible,” said Matsumoto. “We
communicate with them periodically via mail, e-mail, seasonal
greetings and personal phone calls.”
A Waikoloa Beach Marriott spokeswoman, Noelani Whittington, said
many guests return because they have established long-term
relationships with other repeat guests.
“They often book their return visit one year or more in advance,
prior to hotel checkout,” she said.
The hotel takes pains to pamper them, providing the requested
room and an amenity from the general manager.