Last updated: 10:30 PM ET, Sat June 27 2015

Repeat Yourself

Repeat travel to the Hawaiian Islands is a huge opportunity

Agent@Home | Destination & Tourism | Ryan Rudnansky

Repeat Yourself

PHOTO: A new tour goes to the top of 13,796-foot Maunakea on Hawaii Island where astronimcal observatories peer deep into the universe. (All photos courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority)

It’s generally not too difficult to sell the Hawaiian Islands to first-time visitors. But selling to first-time visitors is a small part of developing a strong reputation as a Hawaii expert. You need to distinguish yourself among repeat clientele to see your Hawaii sales really start taking off.

The repeat-travel market to the Hawaiian Islands is a huge chunk of business — and a huge opportunity — for agents. Of the 8 million or so visitors to the Hawaiian Islands in 2013, repeat visitors accounted for 5,228,080 of them — or over 65 percent — according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Unlike first-time visitors, repeat clientele aren’t primarily searching for the typical Hawaii experiences. Rather it takes a travel agent who knows the under-the-radar, authentic and unique experiences throughout the Hawaiian Islands to guide repeat Hawaiian Islands clients to the authentic and singular experiences that they are seeking.

Repeat visitors are constantly looking for activities, attractions and tours that offer more experiential depth. They want to go back to their friends and family and share unique experiences that they had, experiences that show how worthwhile it is to discover the Hawaiian Islands for a second, third, fourth, fifth time.

Here are four new Hawaii experiences that you can tell repeat Hawaii clients about.

Hawaii Forest & Trail Expands
Hawaii Forest & Trail on Hawaii Island has expanded its 21-year-old tour operation by partnering with Big Island Trading Company to offer some new tours.

New Hawaii Island tour offerings include “Hilo Tropical Wonders,” a small-group tour of plantation history and farm-fresh treats; “Maunakea Voyage,” a daytime journey to Maunakea; and “Discover Volcano Country,” an exploration through Kau and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The “Hilo Tropical Wonders” tour is a 2.5-hour waterfall tour with Rainbow Falls as the highlight.

Experiential travelers will explore Hilo’s rich heritage by venturing through Old Hawaii’s back roads and byways, coming across historic landmarks, natural wonders and a tropical fruit farm along the way.

Experiences on this tour include tasting local tropical fruit and macadamia nuts, taking in numerous fantastic waterfalls and visiting Wainaku Center, the former heart of Hilo’s bustling sugar industry — all done with the help of a local interpretive guide.

The tour stops a couple of times throughout the adventure, with short walks of under 200 yards. It’s also great for all ages, because most of the trails are flat and level.

Gear is provided to guests, including walking sticks, warm wear, daypacks and rain ponchos.

There’s also “Maunakea Voyage.” The seven-to-eight-hour tour takes visitors on a road trip to Maunakea, a dormant volcano that is the highest point in the state of Hawaii.

Included in the package: a tour and private star show at the Imiloa Astronomy Center’s planetarium, ventures into rainforest and moon-like terrain, spectacular views at the summit of 13,796-foot Maunakea, and exploration of cutting-edge astronomy installations, including Keck Observatory and the University of Hilo’s 2.2-meter telescope, where astronomers probe deep into the universe.

And don’t forget to recommend “Discover Volcano Country” to clients. This tour takes travelers through Kau, home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Discover hotspots such as Jaggar Museum, Thurston Lava Tube and Halemaumau Crater. Sample award-winning fresh coffee and Hawaii Island-grown treats at Kau Coffee Mill. Search for sea turtles along a black-sand beach at Punaluu. And learn about Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes.

For more information, visit

Archaeology at Makena Beach
Makena Beach & Golf Resort in Maui is offering an archaeological tour to all guests every Wednesday until Aug. 31.

As part of the resort’s partnership with Pohaku Cultural Tours, archaeologist tour guides educate guests about the cultural practices of the native Hawaiians (including the traditional Hawaiian land tenure system), discuss historical Hawaiian events notable to the Makena area, and identify the cultural significance of landmarks and vistas viewable from the resort property, including a preserved section of the King’s Highway Trail onsite. The trail, a major commerce and trade avenue centuries ago, has since been damaged, making the intact sections rare.

The tour, which begins every Wednesday at 9 a.m., is free to all registered guests at the resort. Advance notice of 24 hours is required.

For more information, visit

Tasting Kauai New Food Tour
Tasting Kauai has become popular for its food tours along the North Shore and South Shore of the Garden Island, but its new food tour through Kauai’s Royal Coconut Coast is also turning heads.

The “Royal Coconut Kauai Food Tour” begins at a family-owned farm where guests sample traditional Hawaiian cuisine and learn about taro farming and the plantation history and culture of the Kealia area.

After that, visitors will sample Hawaiian street food and enjoy tastings at some of the East Side’s best farm-to-table restaurants.

The new food tour also includes seaside stops and a behind-the-scenes look at one of the top restaurants along the Royal Coconut Coast.

In all, there are five stops during the four-hour tour. You even get to stroll down an old plantation road. With advance notice, those on vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diets will be accommodated, as well as those who don’t drink alcoholic beverages. Each unique tour is handcrafted in accordance with Kauai’s fish and produce industries. Tastings change with the seasons.

The “Royal Coconut Kauai Food Tour” is designed by Marta Lane, who is the founder of Tasting Kauai and author of the book “Tasting Kauai: An Insider’s Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island.”

For more information, visit

New at Travaasa Hana
Travaasa Hana, an experiential resort on Maui, revealed new experiences and activities in March, including the opportunity to take a guided bike ride along the scenic coast of Maui on a Schwinn five-speed bicycle.

PHOTO: Travaasa Hana, the “experiential resort” on Maui, has introduced bike tours on its fleet of Schwinns.

The boutique property has a new fleet of touring bicycles that are complimentary to guests as part of the resort’s ever-growing activities program. All bicycles come complete with a basket for carrying picnic lunches to charming Hamoa Beach.

Travaasa Hana has also introduced an outrigger canoe adventure. Now guests can man an authentic Polynesian outrigger canoe in Hana Bay while learning about the history of the beautiful area. Gaze along the clear blue water at the coral reef and fish nearby. Who knows, guests may even spot some turtles and/or dolphins along the way!

Travaasa Hana offers authentic Hawaiian pursuits, such as lei making, ‘ukulele playing, snorkeling, throw-net fishing, enjoying local gardens — along with guides who will share their knowledge of ecology and culture with guests. The resort offers five pathways for guests to explore, including adventure, culinary, culture, fitness, and spa and wellness.

For more information, visit

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Agent@Home Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the June 2015 issue of Agent@Home Magazine.