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When it comes to selling Hawaii, there’s always room for improvement. In that spirit, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) has introduced Imi Loa, an ongoing travel agent program that helps Hawaii gurus get even smarter through self-guided island fams and exclusive offers.
Available year-round, Imi Loa — which means “explore Hawaii” — was created for advisors who have already earned the designation of Hawaii Destination Experts (HDEs) through the bureau’s online curriculum.
Imi Loa presents a template for solo visits to the Aloha State so that HDEs can take their Hawaii awareness to a deeper level. At the same time, it provides them with discounts on outings, meals, transportation and accommodations during their stay, which they can schedule at their convenience.
Robyn Basso, senior director of travel industry partnerships for HVCB, says agents can establish and enhance credibility with clients by enriching their mastery of Hawaii.
“Consumers are more educated than ever, so it is essential that travel advisors increase value with an extensive knowledge of the destination,” Basso said. “The best way to truly understand a destination is to experience it firsthand.”
Agent Discounts on Activities, Dining and LodgingImi Loa’s value-added opportunities encourage certified HDEs to hone their expertise on many fronts during their independent travels around Hawaii.
For instance, if they’re interested in history, they can take a free look at the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, where they’ll get a sense of what life was like onboard the World War II vessel.
HDEs who want to immerse themselves in the destination’s unique cultural traditions can join complimentary classes in hula dancing and ukulele strumming. Health and wellness buffs can try gratis yoga, martial arts or meditation at Oahu’s Still and Moving Center.
Additionally, distinctive foodie experiences at reduced rates await HDEs at standouts such as Big Island Bees on Hawaii Island, The Mill House restaurant at Maui Tropical Plantation and Drums of the Pacific Luau at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.
For activity-driven HDEs, Imi Loa’s deals apply to pastimes such as paddling and hiking with Kayak Kauai, mountaineering with Rappel Maui and snorkeling with Ocean Sports Waikoloa. Polynesian Adventure Tours provides agents with a 50 percent discount on van excursions around various islands.
As advisors take advantage of Imi Loa, they will also enjoy slashed rates on lodging at accommodations such as Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui, Koa Kea Hotel and Resort at Poipu Beach on Kauai and Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort on Oahu.
Travel partners update their Imi Loa offers on a regular basis, so agents should check the website frequently for the latest discounts.
Upcoming Agent Events on the MainlandAs part of Imi Loa, advisors receive referrals via HVCB’s consumer website. Other perks include invitations to expert-only webinars, continuing education credits from The Travel Institute, a one-year subscription to “Hawaii” magazine, an HDE badge and priority invitations to Hawaii training sessions and live workshops.
Meanwhile, HVCB continues to host educational events for agents on the U.S. mainland, including upcoming gatherings in Seattle; Portland, Ore; Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles; and San Diego from March 11-15. Attendees can participate in live destination specialist certification programs as well as island-specific updates, supplier roundtables, cultural presentations and dinners.
Agents should stay tuned for announcements from HVCB that highlight additional new tools to help them sell Hawaii, including a webinar library that they can access around-the-clock.
“Travel professionals are an extremely valued part of our effort to bring visitors to the Hawaiian Islands,” Basso said. “HVCB is dedicated to supporting this important extension of our sales team.”
The DetailsHawaii Visitors and Convention Bureauwww.gohawaii.com