KAHULUI, Maui When the Activities and Attractions Association of
Hawaii (A3H) launched its online booking engine in January, the Web
site generated $79,000 in offshore advance reservations after one
month. Five months later, in June, the site www.hawaiifun.org
accounted for over $500,000 in Hawaii activities reservations.
The increase in monthly online bookings has A3H executive
director Toni Marie Davis more than a little excited. Davis
expressed confidence that interest in the Web site will continue to
grow, and that online reservations will be a major contributor to
the future of Hawaii’s attractions industry.
“The site is completely safe and secure for visitors planning
their vacation, and for attractions offering their services,” said
Davis, explaining its quick rise in popularity. “For visitors, it
takes the mystery and hassle out of what to do once they arrive and
provides the convenience of one-stop shopping. For attractions,
it’s a sales and marketing resource that requires no additional
staffing and only a minimal monthly fee to have customer funds
placed directly into their accounts.”
While A3H’s new Web site has been a hit with potential
travelers, it has been designed as a resource for travel agents as
well, said Davis. Through A3H’s travel agent referral program,
agents get 15 percent commission on every member booking they make
for their clients. Agents pay $50 per year to participate.
A3H is the result of a merger between the Activity Owners
Association of Hawaii, founded in 1987, and the Hawaii Attractions
Association, founded in 1993. They merged their respective
marketing and lobbying strengths in October 2002.
Another A3H innovation is its Gold Card, providing clients with
discounts of 10 percent to 25 percent on activities and at
restaurants statewide. Gold Card holders receive a personal
identification number, A3H guidebooks, a list of A3H member
activities and attractions and their discounts, and a roster of
participating restaurants and their discounts.
“Gold Card discounts are made possible by facilitating a direct
line of communication between the customer and vendor,” said Davis.
“Visitors who use the card can save a lot of money during their
vacation.” For instance, the regular price for a bicycle tour down
Haleakala volcano on Maui is $120, she said. The Gold Card price is
“The Gold Card is especially beneficial for families traveling
on a budget,” Davis said. “It helps make Hawaii more affordable and
attractive as a destination.” Valid for one year from the date of
purchase, the Gold Card costs $30 and covers up to four people.
Based in Kahului, Maui, A3H currently lists more than 190
regular and associate members, from large corporate businesses to
mom-and-pop operations around the state. To support its Web site
efforts, A3H distributes 60,000 copies of its activities and
attractions guidebooks twice a year to high-traffic,
tourist-oriented locations around the islands.
Based on figures from A3H members for the first half of this
year, Davis estimated that activities and attractions will generate
$1.5 billion in gross revenues statewide in 2003. But beyond the
economic benefits to the state, the variety of Hawaii’s attractions
keeps the destination fresh, she said, especially for repeat
visitors looking for new things to do.
“Attractions provide families and friends with fond memories and
shared experiences that stay with them forever,” she said.
800-398-9698; www.hawaiifun. org. "