Over 60% of Hawai’i holidaymakers use their local travel agent to book their getaway compared to 27% for other long haul destinations, latest Roy Morgan research shows.
That equates to six out of 10 Australians who use a travel agent for Hawai’i holiday bookings, more than twice the rate for Aussies booking other long-haul trips.
Speaking at HTO’s annual Aloha Down Under roadshow, which kicked off in Sydney yesterday, Hawai’i Tourism Oceania (HTO) Australian Country Manager Kerri Anderson said the importance of the traditional travel agent had not diminished despite the increasing range of booking options.
“Couples and families are the largest groups travelling to Hawai’i and as we all know, the pressures of work and family life often means we are extremely time poor so having someone else take care of all the holiday arrangements is an attractive option,” Anderson said.
“So it’s no surprise that being able to walk into or call a travel agency and say ‘I want to go to Hawai’i’ and know that everything is taken care of certainly cuts down on pre-holiday stress.”
A record 28 Hawai’i tourism operators will meet with over 500 travel agents nationally over the course of the roadshows this week held in Australia and New Zealand.
Australians’ awareness of Hawai’i is at an all-time high according to the research, up 6 per cent in the last six years and on the back of a record 2015. A key market was also repeat visitors, a whopping 45% in Hawai’I’s case who opt to go back for more within five years.
Australia continuing to remain the island destination’s third largest international market.
“Shopping, relaxing and dining continue to be the most popular holiday past times, however Aussies are also more likely to take part in a range of outdoors activities – from watersports, to adventure and nature – when visiting Hawai’i more than other long-haul destinations,” Anderson said.
For the first quarter of 2016 visitor numbers remained steady compared to January-March 2015, while expenditure, days and length of stay all increased.
“Australians stayed an average 9.6 days in Hawai’i and spent US$2691 per person per trip, 9.4% up year-on-year, an indication that the softer AUD hasn’t dampened Aussies’ love affair with the Aloha State,” Anderson said.
“This provides great opportunities for us to promote the range of experiences across the Hawaiian Islands, such as food, nature, culture and events and continue to position Hawai’i as far more than a ‘fly, flop and shop’ holiday destination.”