Personal Travel Managers Experience the Best of Oahu
For many of the personal travel managers (PTMs) who attended TravelManagers’ recent annual national conference in Honolulu, the chance to extend their stay and join one of the pre- or post-conference famils was too great to pass up. For thirteen participants, this entailed four-day, three nights experience of the highlights of the island of Oahu, from outrigger canoe surfing at Waikiki Beach to a tour of some of Hollywood’s most famous movie locations at Kualoa Private Nature Reserve.
For PTM Kate Bevan, who is representative for Croydon, VIC, the group’s time on Oahu’s famous North Shore was one of the main highlights of the famil, and something she now feels confident in recommending to her clients.
“The beaches of the North Shore are lovely from the ground, but to see them from the air was even more amazing,” Bevan says of her first-ever helicopter ride. “I also really enjoyed our lunch at Turtle Bay Resort – it’s such a scenic spot that I could happily have spent much longer there, stand up paddle-boarding or just swimming in the lovely lagoon.”
Bevan’s fellow PTM, Kerry Cleasby, last visited Hawaii twenty years ago, and appreciated the opportunity to revisit Oahu and refresh her memories and knowledge of the destination.
“I had forgotten how naturally beautiful Waikiki is, with pristine beaches and water, a striking mountain backdrop and so much to do,” she reports.
Cleasby, who is representative for South Brisbane, QLD, says her visit also gave her a fresh perspective on selling Hawaii as a family destination – knowledge that she is looking forward to passing on to her clients.
“When you’re travelling with kids, it’s the details that make a difference – such as which hotels and room types are suitable for having two or three kids in the room, what family-friendly activities are on offer, and where to find the best family-friendly restaurants.”
The famil, which was exclusive to TravelManagers, was hosted by Hawaii Tourism Oceania (HTO), who created an itinerary that showcased the best of Oahu on the ground and from the air, but also ensured that participants departed Hawaii with plenty of local knowledge to pass on to their clients, including which resort had the most amazing pool, how to manage tipping and where to find a great happy hour.
“I’ll definitely be coming back to Oahu,” declares Erin Beckford, who is representative for Anna Bay, NSW. “The experiences and food were amazing, and I now know where to stay and what to do – although I may need a bigger budget next time around!”
On day three of the famil, the group paid a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center where, as well as a site tour and dinner, they were treated to the HA The Breath of Life show. This dazzling demonstration of Polynesian dance and music brings together more than 100 local performers, special effects, animation and surround sound to provide visitors with an unforgettable taste of Hawaiian culture and story-telling.
“The show was amazing,” enthuses Bevan. “It was well put-together and informative, and the demonstration with the fire-knives had me holding my breath!”
Of course, no visit to Oahu would be complete without some serious shopping and eating. Their visit conveniently coincided with Hawaii’s 24th annual Made in Hawaii festival: a wonderful opportunity to pick up all manner of Hawaiian-made products.
“I also loved wandering around the International Marketplace,” says Bevan. “The Street Party pass was an excellent way to be able to sample amazing food from the hawker stations in the Street Food Hall.
With a fresh perspective on Oahu as a destination, the PTMs all report that they would happily return, with families in tow next time.
“We were treated like VIPs everywhere we went,” says Cleasby. “We experienced some amazing restaurants and hotels and, having had a fresh look at what Hawaii has to offer, I think this would be a great family holiday.”
In the meantime, at least one of the PTMs has returned home with a small souvenir that will serve as a daily reminder of her time in Oahu.
“I’ve always wanted a swaying hula girl like the ones you see on car dashboards,” grins Bevan. “Now I’ve got one on my desk.”