Successful Meetings - March 2009 - (Page 58)

OAHU > WAIKIKI RENAISSANCE RENAISSANCE OAHU REINVESTS AND REINVENTS TO TACKLE A MORE COMPETITIVE MARKET By Heidi Waldrop Bay WAIKIKI two other important assets of that particular Hawaiian island: accessibility and cost. Oahu is popular, he says, because it is easier and less expensive to get to than any other Hawaiian island. W hen nearly 2,800 Best Western International independent hotel owners, exhibitors, and staff arrived in Waikiki for the company’s annual North American Convention and accompanying Global Executive Conference last October, delighted attendees discovered the famous Hawaiian destination had been given a facelift. “There was a pretty dramatic change in Waikiki in the eight years since we were last there. In 2000, it was more touristy and worn out. Now it looks cleaner and fresher,” says Todd Thrall, director of meetings and events for the Phoenixbased hotel chain. “You can see that lots of hotels have spent money to renovate and update, along with infrastructure work on the main thoroughfare, and even entire areas have been demolished and rebuilt.” Literally billions of dollars have been spent in the past five years on what Michael Murrey, vice president of sales and marketing for the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau, calls “the revolution of Waikiki.” Murrey reports that this Waikiki renaissance complements A banquet on the great lawn of Hilton Hawaiian Village The island also boasts half the state’s hotel inventory. “If I am a planner, I can find competitive pricing, and for those who really want the neighbor island experiences, there are three other resorts [areas] on Oahu,” he says. The island has 31,000 guest rooms, including condominiums, the majority of which are located in the Waikiki area within a mile of the Hawaii Convention Center. That facility, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is known as a high-tech capable convention center with touches like simultaneous, multilingual translation capabilities in all major meeting rooms. Waikiki can accommodate a board meeting of a dozen or a citywide of up to 32,000, as in the case of the consistently returning American Dental Association. The two largest Waikiki convention properties are the 2,904-room Hilton Hawaiian Village, which has nearly 100,000 sf of meeting space, and the 1,659-room Sheraton Waikiki, with 40,000 sf of meeting space. Outside Waikiki, there are three areas that cater to the meeting and incentive market, serving up the more laid-back resort atmosphere of the neighboring islands and abundant outdoor function space for the quintessential Hawaiian party. On the west side of the island is the 387-room JW Marriott Ihilani Resort Hotel, with just over 16,000 sf of indoor meeting space. The 443-room Turtle 58 I SM I March 2009 I

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2009

Successful Meetings - March 2009
Editor's Letter
News Update
Management Matters
Meetings Law
Mouth for Sale
And the Award Goes to...
Taking Green Initiatives to the Top
Events of Presidential Proportion
It's a Small World After All
Places + Spaces
Big Island Supplement-Insert
NYC Metro
The Bahamas

Successful Meetings - March 2009