Kihei (key-hay) is a beautiful destination on the west side of Maui. With no high-rise hotels in the area and a very relaxed feel, tourists mix with locals on the beaches and in town. The water is awesome, very calm in the mornings, and turtles are numerous and easy to find while snorkeling right in front of town. Surfing and stand-up paddle boarding are probably the two major activities for both tourists and locals. It is a great spot!
buuteeq offers employees an outstanding travel benefit, covering a bit of our vacation cost for investing some time connecting with people in the hospitality industry to learn more about their world, while we are away from the office. I met with several hotels on my trip. Here are highlights:
My first meeting was with happy buuteeq customer, the Maui Coast hotel in Kihei. The hotel has 265 beautiful rooms and suites, and an excellent, central location, with an awesome beach just across the street in front of the hotel. The hotel is part of the Paramount Hotel Group. I met with Director of Sales Joanna Wallace, and General Manager David Frazier, on the property. Joanna and David are big fans of buuteeq, and the hotel is having its best year ever. Joanna loves the look of the hotel’s site, and knows that her guests do, too. She wants to get more involved in BackOffice since it makes it so easy to edit content. She plans to add brief videos of the room types to the site. Joanna offered huge compliments to Katie Lent on buuteeq’s Customer Success team, for making her experience with buuteeq so successful!
Next I connected with GM, Winston Chinn, and sales director, Kim Tong, at the Mana Kai Maui, which has been live on buuteeq since April. This seven-story hotel is in a great, quiet location on the south end of Kihei, and has an awesome beach and great views. The building has about 100 condo units and about half are in the rental pool. Kim and Winston love the look of their new site, and were excited to learn a little more about how to better use BackOffice, buuteeq’s site content management tool. I arranged a second meeting and spent time giving them a little personal BackOffice training, and got them set up for a deeper dive on BackOffice with Account Manager Roberto Casanueva. They are are looking into taking advantage of buuteeq’s Funnel Boost program for Search Engine Marketing, and are now discussing that possibility with Matt Morgan, one of our Google AdWord Certified specialists.
The Honua Kai Resort was my next visit. They are a buuteeq prospect with two large towers and 628 rooms on a beautiful stretch of beach north of Lahaina. Charlie Butt, buuteeq’s business development manager, made the initial connection with the resort’s director of marketing and revenue, and now I am working with four people on the marketing/management team. They are seriously considering joining the buuteeq family, and the e-business manager, Kyle Meredith, visited buuteeq towers in Ballard (Seattle) on June 24th. I met with Kyle and the e-marketing manager, Thomas Goodeluinas, reviewing the benefits of using our product and discussing interesting integration ideas for some custom tools they have already built.
Hawaiian Hotels & Resorts has four properties in Hawaii. Two large resorts, a condo project next to one of the resorts, and a small inn in Lahaina. I met with Jerry Sager, the director of revenue management, and Kory Strona, the regional revenue manager. I have been working with Jerry for a few months and they are considering putting one of their properties on our software for an initial test, with the intention of adding the other three soon after. Being from the revenue side they are both very impressed with 360 Analytics. I have another demo with a few other people from the marketing and IT team coming up, and am looking forward to that.
Kihei is a great place to stay on Maui. Its central location makes an excellent jumping off point for day trips anywhere on the island, and the low-rise buildings make it easy to see for miles. Staying in Kihei makes it easy to feel like you are living the island life, rather than just visiting a resort. On our trip we participated in lots of tourist activities, and just hung out with the locals. We had a wonderful trip! One morning we went out on the ocean in an outrigger canoe with the Kihei Canoe Club. Tami and I were the only tourists on the boat, along with four local club members. It was a blast doing something with a group of locals, that they do three or more times a week. We talked with them about their club, the reef, turtles, and how they all ended up on the island. Hanging out with the locals a bit is always a great learning experience for us on vacation!
About Dean Desilet
Dean is Strategic Accounts Manager at buuteeq, the first digital marketing system for hotels. He is an expert in online guest acquisition for hotels, and was buuteeq's first North American salesperson.