The brand-new Waikiki Edition hotel is new to Gogo’s 2011 Hawaii accommodation portfolio. // © 2011 Nikolas Koning
Gogo Worldwide VacationS is making a play for Hawaii travelers this year, and doing so with stepped-up promotions and more tools to help travel agents make the sale.
Gogo selected Hawaii as its featured destination for February 2011. Next month, the New Jersey-based wholesaler is
employing a combination of marketing tactics while its hotel partners promise exclusive offers such as rate reductions
and added values. On its travel agent website, Gogo is also introducing Hawaii-specific Webinars for agent training.
Gogo marketing director Kelly Segnello said that the company's Hawaii business should increase for 2011 by virtue of the company's commitment to the destination.
"We have a year-long strategy in place to promote Hawaii, tying into a new branding initiative from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau,î said Segnello. ìThis consists of capturing more market share, launching a more frequent promotional strategy for the islands and increasing the availability of our hotel products."
In the past 18 months, clients have been wary of the cost of traveling to Hawaii due to the global financial crisis, but Segnello is seeing a shift in that trend.
"The compelling driver remains price-point packages," said Segnello. "We are intent on promoting multi-island stays of seven nights and longer, tailored to the experience that travelers are looking for. Added values are key. The more clients see how much they can get for their money, the more likely they are to book Hawaii."
Island activities are selling better than before, said Segnello, particularly the circle island/volcano excursion on the Big Island, the Backcountry Adventure Zipline on Kauai, the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and the USS Arizona Memorial/Pearl Harbor tour on Oahu.
To help agents sell, Gogo recently rolled out several new initiatives, including GoBook, which allows agents to customize agency-branded trip journals. Agents personalize each travel itinerary with their logo, client messages, tour and dining recommendations and more.
"Not only do agent recommendations provide a more personalized travel document, but they represent the perfect platform to market add-on sales to clients," said president Michele Kish. "It's another way for them to enhance the client's trip and boost income with incremental sales."
Agents can also have their commissions deposited electronically into their bank account, and Gogo pledges to beat any verified quote by $10 per paying adult and $5 per paying child. It is also emphasizing its No Worries Policy: No fees for revisions or late bookings and a guaranteed upgrade or refund if a clientís confirmed accommodations cannot be honored. Gogo is improving its trip protection so that if a client must cancel, the policy covers 100 percent of published airfare, and clients can cancel until the time of departure. Finally, Gogo is also paying agents a 20 percent commission on all of its protection policies purchased by March 31.
Gogo recently introduced around-the-clock sales and support for agents. Based in Gogo's headquarters, the 24/7 team of live consultants doubles as the emergency support line for customers while traveling.
Gogo will also continue its free Worldwide Showcases. The events, held in cities around the mainland, feature educational sales seminars, opportunities to network with the sales team and hotel representatives and the chance to learn about Gogo's marketing tools which can help agents grow their businesses.
Most importantly, said Segnello, "We remain committed to our travel agent partners, and they remain our only distribution channel."