During a recent visit to New York City, various representatives from each of Marriott International’s Hawaii properties — JW Marriott Ihilani, Ko Olina (Oahu); Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (Oahu); Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club; Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (Hawaii Island); and Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (Maui) — spoke to SuccessfulMeetings.com about the latest updates and news related to their resorts, as well as Marriott’s increased focus on meetings groups. All of Marriott’s Hawaii properties, the representatives noted, are also part of the Innovention Network
, a group of 67 Marriott hotels around the world that have dedicated themselves to providing the best meeting experiences possible for groups. Here’s what they shared.
Brian Soma, director of sales and marketing for this property, the only JW Marriott in Hawaii, says that the hotel has put the final touches in its exterior renovations in the past year and will see a number of major value-added events this year. Earlier this May, the hotel participated in and hosted an event as part of the Fifth Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Food Festival at Ko Olina. In September, the property’s nearby Kapolei Golf Course will play host to the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship as part of the PGA Tour Champions Tour.
The Ko Olina area, says Soma, has received much more interest since the opening of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, in the summer of 2011. “While we’re still very much a beach resort area that’s different from Honolulu, the area is much more developed now than it was before,” Soma says.
Over in Waikiki, the 1,310-room Waikiki Beach Marriott—the largest U.S. Marriott outside of the continental U.S. — renovations to its 8,000 square-foot ballroom were recently completed, and the lobby area and rooms are also being renovated.
John Limper, area director of sales and marketing for Marriott International, says that planners have the option of using both Ohau properties — the Waikiki Beach Marriott and the JW Marriott Ihilani, Ko Olina — for their meeting groups.
The 356-room Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, which is a five-minute drive from Lihue Airport, had its most recent renovations completed in June 2010 but is planning to renovated its ballroom — Kauai’s largest — this year, says Sally Halm, director of sales for the resort.
Business at this Hawaii Island property continues to grow, says Scott Obley, director of sales and marketing for Waikoloa Beach Marriott and the Wailea Beach Marriott Spa on Maui. He says that the hotel has had a number of buyouts from meetings groups over the past year, including one for General Motors.
This Maui property, which hosted Successful Meetings’ and Meetings & Conventions’ magazines’ Destination Hawaii meeting and familiarization trip last year, will also host the event this year from Sept. 17 to 20.
Obley says that the 497 –room property recently received brand-new beds and also upgraded its wireless capabilities to accommodate the bandwidth needs of the many tech companies that have visited the resort for meetings.
He also adds that meeting planners can take advantage of the partnerships that the Wailea Beach Marriott has with the nearby Shops at Wailea, as well as the hotel’s neighboring properties, The Grand Wailea and the Andaz Maui at Wailea. “The Shops at Wailea are almost like an extension of the hotel because we share a drive way and a parking lot with them,” Obley explains. “For groups that come over, it’s easy for us to arrange walk-able dine-arounds or exclusive shopping nights.”
“We also like to get together with our neighbors at The Grand Wailea and the Andaz,” Obley adds. “We really do have these Wailea-wide programs where a group can use all of the hotels in Wailea, rather than go to a convention center. We have a mechancial contractors association that comes in every year and does rooms at all the properties, and all of the attendees have very diff experiences. There’s a variety of hotel experiences, but the group still has the meeting space to convene as one group.”