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When Classic Vacations mapped out an itinerary for its 2012 Marketing Partners weekend in Hawaii, the company shot for the stars with a “For You, Everything” theme. From Nov. 7-10, some 80 travel agents were wined and dined at a trio of Classic’s five-star properties in Honolulu.
Attendees and their guests enjoyed luxury accommodations and a gala awards dinner at Halekulani, plus cocktail and dinner events hosted by the Kahala Hotel and Resort and Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort.
“This annual Marketing Partners weekend is based on Classic’s top 100 accounts in the U.S.,” said Classic’s co-president Greg Bernd. “All are owners or managers, and all are star performers. It’s Classic’s way of thanking them for their business.”
Among the top-achieving partners represented were Altour, Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group, Valerie Wilson and consortia partners American Express, Signature, Ensemble, Virtuoso and Vacation.com.
Bernd says working with Halekulani made for a classy Classic event.
“Halekulani is one of our very best partners,” he said. “Our philosophies are so similar because we both focus on the luxury side of business.”
Geoff Pearson, Halekulani’s director of sales, added, “It was a great opportunity for us to partner with Classic and share our recent renewal of the hotel with those who book us.”
Pre- and post-trip accommodations were also stellar, with the roster including Fairmont Kea Lani, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, both of the Four Seasons resorts on Lanai, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, Moana Surfrider, Modern Honolulu, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Waikiki Parc and Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas.
Aside from a breakfast meeting with presentations by Bernd, Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau’s Julie Zadeh and United Airlines’ Marie Blawat, the three-day fest was all play. Attendees selected from such activities as stand-up paddleboarding or surf lessons with Hans Hedemann Surf School, golf, the Kahala’s Dolphin Quest, horseback riding in Makaha Valley, a day at Kualoa Ranch, the Pearl Harbor historic sites tour, an Island Seaplane Service excursion, Wild Side Specialty Tours’ sea turtle and spinner dolphin swim and spa treatments at the Modern, Kahala or Moana Surfrider.
“The Oahu Visitors Bureau arranged great tours and activities to help our guests truly experience the island,” said Bernd. “It was all about pampering them for the entire weekend. It also gave them a firsthand look at these options so they can pre-sell to their clients.”
Sherry Snow, manager of Travel Design International in San Diego was impressed with Kauai and Oahu.
“The excursions really gave us a better feel for the island,” she said. “The hotels had high service and quality, and we got an understanding of how important that is because we have so many choices.”
“What’s so impressive about Classic is the connection to the booking agent,” said Lois Mitchell, manager of Protravel International in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “They get it, understand it and provide total interaction. You can’t say that about everyone.”