Happy Halloween HLTA Members!
Halekulani awarded by Americans for the Arts
Every year, Americans for the Arts, through its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) program, recognizes 10 businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enriches the workplace, education, and the community. These companies set the standard for excellence and serve as role models for others to follow. The honorees are celebrated each fall at the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America gala in New York City.
For the very first time ever, a Hawaii hotel was recognized with this esteemed accolade this year at a gala on October 11. Nominated by Hawai’i Arts Alliance, a statewide non-profit widely known for its advocacy for the arts, the historic Halekulani was awarded for its support of local and international arts and culture programs. Peter Shaindlin, Halekulani Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer attended the gala in New York to receive the award. Congratulations Peter!
The full list of awardees included:
21c Museum Hotels (Louisville, KY)
Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH)
Guitar Center Inc. (Westlake Village, CA)
Halekulani Corporation (Honolulu, HI)
Houston Methodist (Houston, TX)
Humana Inc. (Louisville, KY)
Kaiser Permanente Colorado (Denver, CO)
Lincoln Financial Group (Radnor, PA)
Magic Hat Brewing Company (South Burlington, VT)
The Betsy-South Beach (Miami Beach, FL)
For more information on the “BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts” and the 2017 awardees, click here: https://www.americansforthearts.org/sites/default/files/pdf/2017/events/bca10/program_2017_final_rev920.pdf
NaHHA 20th Anniversary
Over the weekend HLTA attended a wonderful event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) at the Royal Hawaiian’s Monarch Room. The event included thought-provoking addresses by John DeFries and John Aeto, a beautiful recognition of the organization’s founding members, and excellent entertainment by Amy Hanali’i, who gave us a preview of her new show to take place every Friday night at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua in Maui. To top it off, the Hawaiian-style menu was absolutely ‘ono. Congratulations to Executive Director Pohai Ryan and Office Manager Malia Sanders on an excellent event, and a successful 20 years of promoting Hawaiian culture, values, and traditions in our industry and ensuring that the legacy of Dr. George Kanahele and Senator Kenneth Brown lives on - Ku Kanaka!
Before he leaves officially for his new position in the Governor's Office as the Administrative Director, outgoing Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami will be conducting a briefing and tour of the Daniel K. Inouye Airport for HLTA board members to solidify our support for a long overdue initiative. For the past two sessions, we and the Airlines Committee of Hawaii and other stakeholders have advocated for the passage of this measure to create such a corporation. We hope that what would emerge is a laser- like focus on all our state airports so that badly needed renovation, repairs and improvements can be completed on a more timely basis by the state. Let's hope the third times a charm in the upcoming 2018 session!
Sponsor Showcase - 10/20/17
Lunch & Learn - 10/20/17
"Out on the Farm" Evening Reception - 10/20/17
General Membership Meeting Business Session and Tourism Sustainability Panel - 10/21/17
HLTA 70th Anniversary Celebration ("Vintage Aloha" Reception) - 10/21/17
HLTA just got back from our 190th General Membership Meeting and WOW- what an unbelievable weekend. A huge mahalo to General Manager Danna Holck, Director of Conference Services Tiare Tipote, and the rest of the Turtle Bay Resort team for doing an incredible job serving our members and ensuring that the entire weekend was an extraordinary affair. There were many highlights of the three-day conference, including educational panels on strengthening the voice of hospitality and on sustaining Hawaii’s tourism industry, themed evening receptions, and an information packed meeting on the state of our association as well as a game plan for our association going into 2018.
We started the weekend on Thursday afternoon as we welcomed guests to the North Shore with a brief tour of Turtle Bay and a light reception at the beautiful Kuilima Point lawn. Friday morning kicked off our sponsor showcase with over 30 sponsors and a reverse trade show for hotel executives to get a first look at the showcase.
Our Friday Lunch & Learn educational panel featured government officials from all counties and all branches: Senator Kai Kahele from the Big Island, Representative James Tokioka from Kauai, Councilmember Ernie Martin of Oahu, and Council Chair Mike White of Maui. The four panelists, all strong supporters of tourism, discussed ways the hospitality industry can strengthen their voice in government. Their suggestions included supporting candidates who support the hospitality industry, keeping track of measures they are concerned with on the State Capitol website, and even considering the prospect of running for office to make sure our industry is represented in all halls of government. The conversation was especially timely leading up to the next legislative session and the 2018 elections. Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho also shared his mana'o highlighting his positive experiences in working with HLTA in his County.
As if the four legislators weren’t heavy hitters enough, we had an educational panel on Saturday with Former Governor George Ariyoshi, Former Governor John Waihe‘e, Outrigger Resorts Area General Manager Kelly Hoen, and Bickson Hospitality Group President & CEO and international hotelier Ray Bickson. Each of the speakers shed light on Hawaii’s tourism future by discussing the sustainability of Hawaii’s tourism industry. Bickson skillfully led the conversation through topics such as possibilities for economic diversity, keeping the Hawaiian culture alive, regulating transient vacation rentals, and the question of how much tourism is too much tourism. The panelists gave thought provoking responses, and challenged the audience to get involved in coming up with the solutions for Hawaii’s tourism future rather than relying on government to find the answers. Gov. Waihe'e decried "the passive/aggressive view" that too many lawmakers have towards hospitality and that tourism must be integrated into every discussion that is held about Hawaii's future. Kelly Hoen, a veteran of over two decades of luxury hotel experience, shared her up-close views of being part of the industry's push to get lawmakers to be responsive and sensitive to tourism concerns during the special legislative session in August. Gov. Ariyoshi summed up the challenge for the tourism industry saying, “If you can’t figure out the solutions to your problems, how do you expect the legislature to solve the problems in 60 days.”
Both the legislative panel and the tourism sustainability panel re-enforced key points that I shared during my "State of the Industry" report: we need to work harder, smarter and more creatively in advocating on behalf of Hawaii's # 1 industry. With 2018 being an election year, I’m proposing to all members of HLTA that we strengthen our endorsement process and provide more meaningful and substantive opportunities and activities for the candidates that we identify as strong supporters to solicit and garner our support. Tourism also should partner more with other economic development organizations who share our positions, and create a broad coalition of pro-jobs advocates to stand up for candidates that support our mutual objectives.
The conference was certainly an educational one, but we also let loose and had fun. On Saturday afternoon many of the attendees enjoyed the beautiful Kahuku weather on the golf course or at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Those who went to PCC got to experience a custom tour of the grounds with lunch at Pounders Restaurant in PCC’s new Hukilau Marketplace. On Friday and Saturday evenings, members brought out their festive side by dressing up for Friday’s Out on the Farm reception, which highlighted local agriculture with bites from North Shore food trucks and vendors, and Saturday’s Vintage Aloha celebration of HLTA’s 70th Anniversary. Saturday night was extra special as we took members back to the era in which we were founded, the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and featured an amazing performance by Raiatea Helm and her 7-member band. The timing was perfect for Raiatea to perform, as this event primed her for her retro tour circa 1940s and beyond at Blue Note Waikiki a week later.
Mahalo again to all our members, sponsors, and guests for making the 190th General Membership Meeting a huge success. Many of you shared with me that this was an awesome experience and some of you even let me know that this was “the best GMM I've ever attended.” Our distinguished panelists also shared how impressed they were with HLTA as an organization and had no idea of all "the great things we do for Hawai'i.” We are already looking forward to next year’s meeting.
Harvest Festival & Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation:
From Turtle Bay, I headed to Kauai where I took in the Waimea Harvest Festival, in which HLTA once again co-sponsored this wonderful community grass-roots event. Thousands of folks and their ohana attended and 2500 pumpkins were given away to all the keiki that attended. Then on Tuesday, I addressed the membership of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation during their convention at the Kauai Marriott. Like HLTA, HFBF is a state- wide organization and is celebrating its 70th anniversary. In my remarks, I pointed out all the initiatives we have put into place thanks to our Agricultural Committee and stressed the importance of our two industries working together to maximize the benefits of Agri-Tourism. We'll be meeting with Brian Miyamoto, executive director of the Farm Bureau Federation and his staff shortly to follow-up on our mutually beneficial endeavors.
GMM - Saturday Night Performer:
I hope you are as enthusiastic as we are for GMM this weekend at Turtle Bay Resort. Get ready to go back to the big band era, because we are thrilled to announce that we have secured Raiatea Helm to perform a medley of jazz, swing, and Hawaiian classics during Saturday evening’s reception. The timing is perfect as Raiatea is gearing up for her retro tour circa 1940s and beyond at Blue Note Waikiki, just a week after our 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s-themed celebration of our association’s 70th anniversary. This is a very special preview of what’s to come for the six-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, and I’m confident that you will all be awe-inspired by her performance.
Tourism Security Talk Story Session:
Last Friday HLTA partnered with the Hawaii Hotel & Visitor Security Association (HHVISA) and the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) for a talk story session with Dr. Peter Tarlow, a world-renowned speaker and expert on tourism security. Dr. Tarlow specializes in the areas of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and tourism and economic development, and has experience addressing agencies such as the US Center for Disease Control, The International Olympics Committee, The International Organization for Security and Intelligence, and The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization.
I’ve worked closely with Dr. Tarlow since the 1990’s, when I led the charge for the first ever Visitor Crime Solutions Conference as a response to the rash of negative incidents against Japanese tourists at that time. Government officials from Japan went public with their concerns. We could not afford to stand pat and risk being seen as being insensitive to visitor's safety in Hawaii. The conference was a partnership between government and the private sector, and helped to shed light and resolve some of the issues we were having in Waikiki and it went a long way towards assuaging our Japanese visitors that their safety was a high priority for us. We called for a number of improvements and initiatives that required HPD, county government and the visitor industry to collaborate for the good of the industry.
I believe it is high time we had another conference on tourism security in Hawaii, and am already making plans with HHVISA, VASH, Dr. Tarlow, and Waikiki district Councilmember Trevor Ozawa to make this a reality next year. As we all know the world we live in today is very different than it was in the 1990’s, and we must always be proactive when it comes to safety and security.
During his session with HLTA’s board of directors and members of HHVISA, Dr. Tarlow shared thought-provoking perspectives on the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, the hurricanes in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas, and the ever-present threat from North Korea. Dr. Tarlow understands that strong security equals strong tourism, so it is of utmost importance that we continue to stay vigilant on this front. I always tout that Hawaii is one of the safest places in the world, which it is, but we all know that it only takes one major natural disaster or act of terrorism for our visitor statistics to plummet and for tourism in Hawaii to take a negative turn. This is why I believe now is the perfect time to gear up for another Visitor Crime Solutions Conference. Dr. Tarlow was on the same page as I was on this conference, and reiterated that Hawaii not only needs to be prepared for future risks and unforeseen challenges, but should also be a leader for tourism security across all of the Pacific Islands.
Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards
Within the next few days, HLTA will be opening the nomination period for the 28th annual Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards, taking place on January 11, 2018 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa’s Coral Ballroom.
As many of you know, HLTA honors the individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their exceptional service, professionalism, and aloha spirit each year at this award ceremony. These are the employees who have continued to make Hawaii a premier destination. Over the past 27 years, there have been three finalists selected in each category among all the submitted nominations, with one overall winner. Of course, I always emphasize that each nominee and finalist is a winner in their own respect as they are specifically chosen among their managers as the best representative of their property.
This year, we are revising the format to ensure that representatives among all hotels are recognized fairly for their outstanding contribution to our industry. Instead of having one overall winner in each category, we will have the three finalists represent the best of the best among small, medium, and large hotels, respectfully. The only hotel categories that remain the same as in years past include Manager of the Year and Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year. As usual, the top recipients of these categories will be submitted to the national Stars of the Industry event.
In addition to the hotel category awards, we will continue to present the individual and company awards including Allied Member of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy award, and so on. This event, which we often dub “The Oscars of Hospitality,” is one of our flagship events of the year and certainly not one to miss. Stay tuned for more details on the nominations as well as table and ticket sales. If you have any questions about the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards, feel free to contact Jared of my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following are the lodging employee categories:
GMM Evening Reception Themes:
Our membership has a history of getting very festive for the GMM evening receptions, so I know everyone is itching to learn more about the themes and suggested attire for this year’s events. On Friday, October 20, we encourage you to pack your jeans, palaka shirts, boots and overalls, and join us “Out on the Farm.” Graze from local food trucks while playing barnyard games and mingling under the stars. On Saturday night, we’re taking you back to the 40’s , 50’s and 60's to celebrate HLTA’s 70th anniversary in the era in which our association was founded. Step off the SS Lurline ocean liner in your vintage aloha wear reminiscent of decades past and join the party as we enjoy each other's company. General Manager Danna Holck and her dedicated staff at Turtle Bay are prepared to make this GMM a memorable experience!
If you haven’t registered for the GMM yet, be sure to sign up here by tomorrow, October 4.
Pacific Beach Hotel’s new name:
The Pacific Beach Hotel, under the leadership of Managing Director Rob Robinson, has officially reopened as the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach! Congratulations to the Alohilani team, as well as the architects and designers from WATG, Pacific Asia Design Group, and Rockwell Group on a fabulous transformation. In addition to a fresh look, you can also relish in food and libations at the new Lychee Restaurant and O Bar, and will soon be able to enjoy not one- but two Morimoto restaurants within the resort. To view the updates, visit www.alohilaniresort.com.
Congratulations to all the HLTA members who were selected as finalists and winners for the Pacific Business News 2017 Pineapple Awards last week! We're all in this together and you make us proud...
Career Achievement Honoree
Jerry Gibson, Area Vice President, Hilton Worldwide
Leaders in Hospitality Management
Kelly Sanders, Area General Manager, Marriott Hotels and Resorts Waikiki – Winner
Angela Nolan, Area Managing Director, Hawaii, Vistana Signature Experiences – Finalist
Lynette Eastman, General Manager, The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club – Finalist
Craig Anderson, Vice President, Mauna Kea Resort – Finalist
Large Hotel of the Year
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort - Winner
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort - Finalist
Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas – Finalist
Boutique Hotel of the Year
The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club - Winner
Hanalei Colony Resort - Finalist
Waimea Plantation Cottages – Finalist
Festival or Event of the Year
Hawaii Food and Wine Festival - Finalist
Hawaii for Hawaii – Finalist
Stay in the know
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