Q&A: Outrigger's Bitsy Kelley Talks Reorganization

bitsy kelleyOutrigger Enterprises Group launched earlier this year its new beachfront resort brand – Outrigger Resorts. Set in locations on some of the world’s most incredible beaches, each Outrigger Resorts property will focus on culturally authentic client experiences and signature amenities. Amenities include beachfront bars, impressive spas and Voyager 47 club lounges. 

On Monday, Travel Agent sat down with Bitsy Kelley, vice president of corporate communications for Outrigger Enterprises Group, and got the skinny on the reorganization and more. 

Check out an excerpt from that interview below:

Q. How vital has the role of the travel agent been in building the Outrigger brand?

A. This company started with my grandparents. We were just a little Oahu-based company. It was a big deal when we went to the neighboring islands and when we went out to the Pacific that was a big step. And I have to say we could not have done this without travel agents because when you are in Hawaii, you are out on an island and travel agents and wholesalers are our partners, they are our eyes and ears and our arms out here to help reach theses clients and help spread the message of these island destinations.

Q. So why now the need to reorganize the Outrigger brand?

A. The company has grown significantly, so it is a great time for reclassification so there is better understanding in the market not just by the agents, but by the customer. We want to help the agent clearly sell to the customer and make sure the customer knows what they are getting because there is nothing worse than a customer arriving at the hotel and being like, 'This is not what I was told.' 

Q. Can you please tell us about the different brands?

A. We want to make sure they have all the tools they need to give their customer the best experience possible, so we basically reclassified all of our properties into three buckets: the Premiere Beachfront Resorts from Hawaii through the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean; we took the former condominium collection and rebranded it as Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger; then the third part is the 'managed by' properties. We have a lot of brands that don't say Outrigger, but we actually manage them and some we actually own and manage. We have Holiday Inn, Best Western, Embassy Suites, Wyndham, Hilton, pretty much everything across the board. We are a privately owned company. We are a family business. I am the third generation family member. We are also in the business of real estate and it happens to be managing hotels on top of that. 

Q. So will anything change within the properties? Will they remain at the same price points?

A. What you will see is an enhancement, particularly in the Outrigger Resorts side. As we are rolling that out throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia, we are bringing in world-class spas, beachfront bars and a new club level, Voyager 47, the year (1947) my grandparents built the first hotel. We need to still weave them into the Waikiki properties, but they are definitely rolling out at all the news properties in the Pacific. 

Q. What is Outrigger doing to ensure clients are exposed to the culture of the destinations Outrigger is located at?

A. We are bringing more of the culture to all of our properties. We are highlighting in all of the advertising campaigns, our branding. And part of what we bring is touching all the senses, bringing in all top quality music to bars and lobbies and pools, hiring top local chefs and enjoying the senses of taste and smell with the food, whether it be in Hawaii or Mauritius​ or Fiji. Everything we do, no matter what sense it is, is all natural. We don't fake any of that. We give people authentic experiences.

Visit www.outrigger.com.