Q&A from April 24th Coffee Break featuring Oahu Visitors Bureau

by mailpound 4/28/2009 6:27:00 AM
Last week’s coffee break featured Holiday Oahu Visitors Bureau.  Stacey Alford gave an informative presentation on Pearl Harbor and an overview of the historical sites throughout the national landmark. We received some really great questions and provided them below with Stacey’s answers.  If you have any additional questions please leave a comment below or e-mail Stacey directly at stacey@visit-oahu.com.  Please be sure to check out the recorded version of the webinar by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.



Q. 
 
I have a group of 50 who would like to do a one day tour of the Big Island of Honolulu.  Who should I contact for this information?
A. 
Please go to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau website, www.gohawaii.com.  You will be able to find all of the suppliers that provide that service for you.  For example a few are Polynesian Adventure Tours and Robert’s Hawaii.  If you would like direct contacts for any of those suppliers please e-mail me at Stacey@visit-oahu.com and I would be more than happy to provide them for you.

Q.     Does the Navy still have free trips to the Arizona Memorial?
A. 
Yes they do.  The Arizona Memorial is the historic site at Pearl Harbor.  It is free and open to the public but remember you need to get a ticket to go over to the Memorial and the tickets cannot be reserved in advance.  The tickets are given out daily and are provided until we run out.  So please get there early to ensure that you will get a ticket.
You can pre-book a Pearl Harbor Tour, which is basically the transportation to the Arizona Memorial, but once you get there you will have to wait in line like everyone else to receive a ticket.  So again it is free but it is something that you cannot reserve or be guaranteed.

Q.     Can you provide the website for the schedule of incoming cruises?
A. 
Yes the web address is http://www.alohaboatdays.com/00schedule.html.  This is an important insider tip.  On the days that we do have a cruise ship in town most of the passengers want to go to Pearl Harbor.  That means you can be waiting in line for 4 hours just to get a ticket and another few hours before you can go over to the Memorial.  Just to clarify our insider tip- it is best not to schedule your clients on a day a cruise ship is in town.

Q.     Is the shuttle handicap accessible for those not able to transfer from a wheelchair or scooter?
A. 
Yes the shuttles are handicap accessible.  Thank you for bringing this up.  I am actually working on a webinar with ADA Travel because I know we receive a lot of requests for information like this.  I actually had a travel agent on a FAM trip with us and we were even able to get her on the ship Battleship Missouri.  Someone there volunteered to take her in an elevator and brought her onto the deck.  The same holds true for the Arizona Memorial-a Navy personnel will be able to assist anyone that needs it.  If this is a topic you are interested in please e-mail me at Stacey@visit-oahu.com and I will make sure you are invited to my webinar on the island of Oahu and wheelchair accessible travel.

Q.     I have a child who is 7 years old.  Would it be appropriate for him to visit?
A. 
Yes it would and I can say that from personal experience.  My son is now 8 but I took him for the first time when he was just 5 years old.  It was in July and we had to wait in lines for long hours and I was worried about bringing a young child.  I found, at least for my son that day, it was very educational for him and touched him in a way that it is now one of his favorite things to do.  When we have family or friends visiting he always wants to go back to Pearl Harbor.  As a parent we have to know the personality of the child and profile the patience of the child if they are going to be in line for that many hours.  It is also a good idea to bring lots of snacks.  The concession stands at the Arizona Memorial are very, very limited and hungry children seem to get agitated and impatient.  Just a little insider tip from a fellow mom J but yes I would definitely bring them along.

Q.     Is there anyway to get a copy or DVD of the 23 minute film at the Arizona Memorial?
A.  I am sorry but I do not know the answer for this, but if you e-mail me I will happily contact the manager at Pearl Harbor and get you the answer to that.

QIs this webinar available to view again?
A.  Yes we have recorded it and posted it on MailPound.com.  Please
click here to view.   

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Twitter with MailPound

by mailpound 4/24/2009 4:20:00 AM

MailPound is excited to announce that we have joined the Twitter community.  Since we are new to this we would appreciate any tips, suggestions or stories you may have.  Please submit them by leaving a comment below.  You can follow us on Twitter by going to
http://twitter.com/mailpound.  Thank you for your help and we look forward to receiving your tips!

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Q&A from April 3 Coffee Break featuring Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay

by mailpound 4/8/2009 7:44:00 AM
Last week’s coffee break featured Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay sponsored by Travel Impressions.  Jackie Raccuglia gave a great presentation on the recent refurbishments of the resort and why it will be a vacation your client’s will never forget. We received some really great questions and provided them below with Jackie’s answers.  If you have any additional questions please leave a comment below.  Please be sure to check out the recorded version of the webinar by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Q. 
What activities are there for teenagers ages 13-17?
A. 
We have a game room for the teenagers equipped with Play Station, Xbox 360 and Sega.  We also have a play area that allows teens to do puzzles or read books.  This is all part of our Kids Free Club and is provided free of charge.

Q.     Are there exclusive wedding packages?
A. 
Yes we provide a wide variety of wedding packages.  We have recently revised our wedding packages and launched honeymoon packages, which we are very excited about.  We also have additional packages that include engagement celebrations, bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties.  We have a great selection of these packages.  For more details please visit our website www.montegobayjam.sunspreeresorts.com. 

Q.     Are excursions included in the package and is transportation offered to any off site activities?
A. 
Excursions are not included in our all-inclusive packages but can be arranged at our tour desk.  Usually the venues you visit will provide their own transportation.  The resort is not responsible for any transportation.

Q.     Do you have to pay to reserve a lounge chair on the island?
A. 
No there is no charge to reserve a lounge chair.

Q.     Are there 2 double beds in a standard room?
A. 
Yes we have 2 double beds or a King bed available in our standard category rooms.

Q.     How many rooms are in your resort?
A. 
We have a total of 524 rooms.  Out of that total – 280 are standardized accommodations (which are our favorites), 144 are in our superior category and 73 are ocean front rooms in our deluxe category.

Q.     Is your resort handicap friendly?
A. 
Yes our resort is handicap friendly.  We usually have about 7 special rooms that are included for disabled people and are located across the property.  We also provide roll in showers for wheel chair confined guests, as well as access to the beaches and pools.

Q.     Can you please provide the agent website and the information that goes along with it?
A. 
Certainly.  Our agent website is www.caribbeanhi.com/agent.  The website provides you information on our specials and reward programs. From time to time we also have exclusive promotions in terms of rewards and will send them to you once you register on our website.  In the meantime, we are providing a $25 gift certificate for every 3rd booking at either the Holiday Inn Montego Bay or Holiday Inn Aruba.  Again to receive special offers please register at our website www.caribbeanhi.com/agent.

Q.     Do you have a one day pass available for cruise guests?
A. 
Yes we do have available one day passes for cruise guests.  For an adult pass the cost is $90 and for a children’s pass it is $60.  You can purchase these in the lobby area of our resort.

Q.     What are the ages for the Kid’s Club?
A.  The Kid’s Club is available for ages 2-12 years old and our teenagers are 13-17.  Babies under 2 years of age are required to be kept in the nursery with our certified staff.  Babysitting is also available at an additional fee.

Q.     When is your high peak season and do you offer specials for the off peak season?
A.  Our high peak season runs from December 15th- April 15th and our low peak season is from April 15th-December 15th.  We actually have a great promotion going on at the hotel right now.  We are offering 50% off across the board to all travel personnel now through December.  It is available to you as well so if you would like to receive more information please contact us at 305-296-9080 and we would be more than happy to forward you the information.

Q.     Does the resort provide transportation from the airport?
A. 
Our hotel does not offer transportation to and from the airport.

Q.     Are car rentals available at the hotel?
A. 
Yes, we have Hertz rental car service available at the hotel.

Q.     Is there any good snorkeling near by?
A. 
Yes we have a wide range of water sports including scuba certified diving.  This can be arranged at the tour desk at the resort and is also available offsite.

Q.     Are you equipped to meet special dietary needs of your guests?
A. 
Yes we are, but guests must contact guest services ahead of time and let them know their special needs.

Q.     What wholesalers do you work with?
A. 
We work with most of the traditional wholesalers such as Travel Impressions, Liberty Travel, Funjet, Smart Travel Corporation and Air Jamaica Vacations to name a few.  We work with mostly all of the major wholesalers.

Q.     What water craft is included in the all-inclusive pricing?
A. 
All non-motorized water sports are included in the all-inclusive pricing.  That usually includes paddle boats, snorkeling, kayak, and windsurfing.

Q.     How far is the shopping area from the resort?
A. 
We are located about 8 miles (10-12 minute drive) from the downtown shopping area, restaurants and nightlife, including Margaritaville.  We also have shopping available at the resort.

Q.     Are there any buildings for adults only?
A. 
Currently we do not have any buildings for adults only.  However we are considering it in the near future.

Q.     When was your hotel most recently refurbished?
A. 
Our last refurbishment was April of 2008.

Q.     Is there golfing near by?
A.  Yes we do have golfing near by including the popular course Half Moon.  This can be arranged at our tour desk.

Q.     Where is the adult pool located?
A. 
Our adult pool is located on the Westside of the hotel and is closest to buildings 5, 6 and 7.

Q.     What is your contact information?
A. 
You can reach me out our sales office in Miami.  Please see the information below. 

USA Sales and Marketing
IHG Caribbean Sales

6505 Blue Lagoon Drive, Ste 450
Miami, FL 33123
Phone: 305.269.9937
Email: sunspreesales@ihg.com


Q
Is this webinar available to view again?
A.  Yes we have recorded it and posted it on MailPound.com.  Please click here to view.   

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Q&A from March 27th Coffee Break featuring Kauai Visitors Bureau

by mailpound 4/1/2009 2:41:00 AM

Last Friday’s Coffee Break featured Kauai Visitors Bureau.  Maile Horner, Director of Marketing, gave a great presentation on the island of Kauai and what makes it such a unique destination.  We received many great questions, which I provided below with Maile’s answers.  If you have any additional questions please leave a comment below or e-mail Maile at mhorner@hvcb.org.   To view the recorded version of this webinar, please click the link at the bottom of this page.


 

Q. 
What are the hotel prices from May to August?
A. 
The prices of the hotels are going to depend on the properties.  We have some hotel properties offering rates as low as $100 a night and the prices go up from there.  Most of our properties are offering specials, such as incentives, and that is where you are going find the best deals.  I have never seen lower prices than those being offered now.  If you are looking at a specific property please feel free to e-mail me at mhorner@hvcb.org and I would be more than happy to help you with the information you need.

Q.     What are your agent websites?
A. 
Our travel trade website is http://travelagents.kauaidiscovery.com or you can also go to www.KauaiDiscovery.com.

Q.     I have heard there is a new inter-island airline available.  Would you be able to provide the name of it?
A. 
Certainly.  The name of the airline you are referring to is Mokulele Airlines.  It is actually a very nice airline.  They have 70 passenger jets that run 4 times daily in and out of Kauai.  I must say they are also a very comfortable ride.  I definitely recommend checking them out.

Q.     For first time visitors, what would you recommend for tours of all the islands- ground with air or cruise?
A.  I could honestly argue either point.  If your client wishes to do island hopping I think the cruise ship is great for that.  The only problem with that is that it only gives them a quick sample of the island.  If they choose a cruise I would encourage your clients to do an excursion either with the cruise or on their own.  Make sure they go out and see something rather than just hangout around the ship.  On a side note, any clients you are sending to Kauai PLEASE book their rental car ahead of time and as soon as possible.  With the economic down turn many of the rental companies do not have as much inventory as they have had in the past.  So it is very important to make these reservations ahead of time to ensure your client will have a rental car.

Q.     Can you discuss briefly the wedding requirements for Kauai?
A. 
Our wedding requirements are pretty simple.  We require you get a wedding license through our state building.  They recommend making an appointment and giving them at least 2 weeks notice.  You can simply make an appointment by calling them.  The cost of the wedding license is $65.  There is no blood work required.  Once you have the marriage license you just need to get married by an ordained minister or judge within 30 days.

Q.     Are there scooters or motorized bikes available to rent?  What is the best way to get around the island?
A. 
Yes we have bikes and scooters available to rent.  The bicycles would be really great on the path I spoke about earlier.  I am a little hesitant on the scooters and mopeds for getting around on the island.  I personally recommend a rental car; our roads are not exactly moped and scooter friendly.  Rental cars are definitely the way to go to get around the island.

Q.     When is Kauai’s rainy season?  Is February a good month to visit?
A. 
We have great weather all year round.  Our “rainy” season is typically the winter months of December, January and February.  Although, this February we had phenomenal weather.  We are actually half of where we should be with rainfall.  Everyone should keep in mind with a tropical island most of our rainfalls with the trade winds are usually centrally located in the island.  The hotels and condos are actually on the coastal lines.  You have to expect a little bit of rain but it is very rare it will rain the entire time unless there is a storm system over the island.  Other than that you will find sunshine among the island J

Q.     Where do you pick up the bike path and how long is it?
A.  The bike path picks up at Mid Gate and is about 7 miles.  They are actually in the process of extending it.  It is absolutely wonderful and I recommend going if you visit Kauai.

Q.     Is Merrimans open or is there an opening date?
A. 
Unfortunately we do not have an opening date at this time.

Q.     Is the website http://travelagents.kauaidiscovery.com the best place to find the latest and best island specials?
A. 
Island specials would actually be found from the partners themselves.  We do not have a spot right now, at least for travel partners, with this information but is something we are working on.  We are working on compiling a list of our members to see what kind of incentives they offer our travel professionals now, such as booking incentives and commission.  That is something definitely in the works.  As far as getting just general specials I would expect the partners to tell you more about that.  It is a great time to contact them because just about everybody has a special going on right now.

Q.     Does the MahaloMonth.com site have offers for agents on the island of Kauai for April/May?
A. 
Yes they do.  This is our give back (thank you month) to all of our travel professionals for their wonderful support.  It is also a great way for you to get up to date on all of the islands.  For more information please go to the website www.agents.gohawaii.com and click on the banner that says “Discover the Sights…” Click on that and you will then see a press release that will talk about Mahalo Month and will direct you to the website mahalomonth.com.

Q.     What part of Kauai has the best beaches?
A.  Great question! I am going to refer you to the website www.kauaiexplorer.com.  The website gives you daily beach updates and provides you with all the information you need to know.  We have 43 beaches on the island of Kauai and each one is different and good for different things.  Some are great for snorkeling, some are great for swimming and others are great for surfing.  So please check out www.kauaiexplorer.com.  They provide you photos and tell you which ones provide lifeguards.  They also talk about our current and tides, which is very important when you are talking about an island.  Specifically the north-shore of any of the other islands are going to get a really big surf during the winter time.  So if you have clients who want to do a lot of swimming you are going to want to send them to the south-shore in the winter. It also goes the other way around.  In the summer time the south-shore seems to get the bigger surf, so you will want to send your clients to the north-shore for snorkeling in the summer time.  You can of course always view the daily updates on the website to know what beaches to go to.  We also provide a Kauai beach guide, which provides a map of all the beaches and includes information on the tides.

Q.     Where can I view this seminar again?
A. 
We recorded it and posted it on MailPound.com.  To view please click here.    

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