Tourism officials unveil new marketing strategy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tourism officials unveil new marketing strategy

John Monahan John Monahan
Jay Talwar Jay Talwar

By Leland Kim - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau puts forth an aggressive new strategy, designed to bring visitors back to our state, and their target is North America, which accounts for 75 to 80 percent of all visitor spending.  They're hoping to make 2009 a good year for Hawaii tourism.

Their secret weapon is your home computer or a phone with Internet access.  If you go to their Web site, there's a link to some amazing savings at the top of the page.  When you click on it, there are dozens of coupons and other special deals that make Hawaii a bargain destination.

Hawaii's sun-kissed beaches welcome people from all over the world, but a tough global economy means fewer visitors flying into our state.

"The economic condition we're facing is like paddling into a strong tide," said Jay Talwar, senior vice president of marketing for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.  "And we know if we don't do anything, we're not going to get where we need to get."

2006 and 2007 were two of the best years ever for Hawaii tourism, and this year has been the worst. So tourism officials have a new strategy to put more people on these beaches.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has a three-prong attack to fight tourism slowdown: the first is focus, the second is coordinate, and third is promote.

"So we need to focus on those who are more likely to travel in '09," said Talwar. "So our message, our marketing promotions, everything goes to that refined target audience for Hawaii."

That means targeting those who have the resources to travel next year, and marketing Hawaii's unique appeal.

"Our perceived value has always been very strong because in Hawaii, there's so much to do," said John Monahan, president and CEO of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. "The diversity is incredible and unlike other warm weather destinations, you're not locked on the resort campus. You can get off the resorts here and experience the local lifestyle."

Ads highlighting Hawaii's value appear across the country, and travel stories on Hawaii have been featured in major newspapers.

"It got picked up in over 130 papers around the country, so it is news," said Talwar.

Bringing visitors back during a tough economy isn't an easy task, but it's become a collaborative effort.

"Our funding sources, the HTA (Hawaii Tourism Authority), the government, they're all pulling together," said Talwar. "And said we need to work together fight this current war we're fighting."

A war to keep Hawaii's number one industry alive.

Tourism officials are expecting a slower holiday season than last year, but with aggressive marketing and great deals, they hope things turn around next year.  For more on those deals, click here or the link on this page.

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