ResortQuest Hawaii Targets Strategic Growth

ResortQuest Hawaii is looking to grow this year by heightening consumer awareness and helping travel agents sell the brand more effectively, says Shari Chang, senior vice president sales of marketing and revenue management.  A junior suite at the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach hotel on Oahu

Along the way, she told Travel Agent in a wide-ranging conversation, the company is looking to expand its network of properties, and to hone the tools it provides travel agents.

Agents Are important

"The success of our programs and the success of our properties depends on travel agents," says Chang, who herself once was a travel agent and has advocated for retailers during the span of her career in the travel industry.

the new ResortQuest Kauai Beach at Makaiwa

"They are an extension of our own sales and marketing. We have to be out there to support the travel agents who support us." This meshes with the company's policy of ensuring retailers receive commission through the various booking channels, as well as its long-running rewards program.

Shari Chang of ResortQuest Hawaii says that the brand believes in supporting travel agents

To this end, ResortQuest has begun providing regional webinar training, with sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes. She hopes to expand this initiative; agents who are interested can contact their regional sales manager directly or e-mail [email protected].

The second half of the year will bring the launch of an upgraded web site. Design is in progress, but retailers can look forward to a password-protected travel agent section that will provide details on commissions, incentives and specials.

In the meantime, ResortQuest Hawaii is in the midst of redoing the collateral for all of its properties with an eye to making the material more consumer- and agent-friendly.

Agents with whom Chang spoke wanted to see more pictures, so this is reflected in the new materials. Pieces are added to the corporate site as they're completed, as are other tools, such as flyers agents can customize for their clients.

ResortQuest Kauai Beach at Makaiwa is the company's newest property

"I think because agents are having to market themselves a little bit differently nowadays, those who can provide really very specialized, custom service are finding it's a real positive for them," Chang says. "Any way you can simplify the agents' opportunity to pick up information and have it available for themselves and their clients helps all of us."

Consumer Awareness

Among the initiatives designed to heighten awareness among consumers is repositioning and relaunching a key property on each island. The first property to undergo this process is also ResortQuest's newest, the ResortQuestKauaiBeach at Makaiwa, where the messaging is "Adventure to the left. Enchantment to the right." On Oahu, the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach Hotel is being relaunched with a "Waikiki Right At Your Fingertips" campaign designed to be fun and compelling.

Looking Forward

Agents soon will find themselves with more ResortQuest Hawaii inventory to sell. Chang confirms that the company will add the Royal Palms at PoipuBeach to its portfolio. The first phase of this luxury condominium resort on Kauai will comprise 120 units, scheduled to open in the second half of 2008. The units will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom condos ranging in size from 925 to 2,300 square feet.

Planned for a 2010 opening is a second phase with 44 additional units. The 22-acre project will include a pool, a 40-foot serpentine water slide and children's play areas, as well as an agricultural preserve.

Agents may also be hearing about further expansion in the next few months.