Funding the key for Hawaii growth

Funding the key for Hawaii growth
By admin

Anyone wondering why Hawaiian Airlines has piled on capacity from Australia in recent weeks – and will do so again in May when larger A330 aircraft are deployed on the route – should take a quick glance at the latest arrival figures.

Statistics released yesterday by Hawaii Tourism Oceania illustrate just how popular the destination has become in recent times, with growth of more than 32% in 2011 over the previous year.
Not only that, but daily spend per visitor has increased 13% to $232.75.
It's no wonder that Hawaiian Airlines chief executive Mark Dunkerley, whose airline inevitably works closely with the tourism body, praised it for its “shrewd” approach to marketing.
But there is a degree of concern over the longer term ramifications if funding is not increased.
“People do a pretty good job with the resources they have, but funds are always tight unfortunately,” Dunkerley said. “I think by almost any measure other destinations are outspending Hawaii which is something we and many other businesses in Hawaii would like to see change.”
The island state is in a fortunate position in that it resonates with consumers, but other destinations could muscle in and take its share.
“Over the long term that is always the concern. Tourist destinations compete just like airlines compete,” Dunkerley said. “
For Hawaiian, the popularity of the destination, while obviously important, does not guarantee success which is why Dunkerley is so keen to develop the competitiveness of the carrier in its own right.
He downplayed the threat of the competition – one competitor, Air Australia, has fallen by the wayside since our conversation – preferring to focus on his own operation.
“We compete in every market we operate in but our approach is to focus on our own competitiveness, to develop our brand and quality of our services in such a way that customers ask for us by name,” Dunkerley said. “If you do these things then you can see off the competition. We carry a greater market share than our seat share.”
One of its key selling points is Hawaiian’s full service offering, he said, claiming that many holidaymakers do not want to go for the cheapest option and not receive a meal, pillow or blanket.
Meanwhile, Hawaiian’s distribution in Australia has long been reliant on the trade and with the penchant for booking through agents still high for long haul travel, that is unlikely to change radically any time soon.
“We are driven by consumer preference and in Australia the consumer preference is to work through the travel trade and we respect that,” he said. “We intend to continue to be part of that distribution network.”

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