While the fireworks ban might have put a damper on New Year's festivities in Hawai‘i, Hawaii Aloha Travel (HAT) still managed to end 2011 with a bang! It was a nice close to a decade of hard work, dedication and overall success – finishing stronger than before despite the rocky economy.
Always a good time with the HAT team.
The team of local travel specialists, including founders Bruce and Yaling Fisher, have become one of Hawai‘i's top experts when it comes to planning a memorable vacation to the Hawaiian Islands. They're a new breed of travel agents who understand Internet travel purchasing and understand what visitors want. The travel team has helped thousands to plan a trip here, offering sound advice from a local's perspective; agents live on O‘ahu in Honolulu, Kailua, Waikele, Ewa Beach, Waialua or on the Big Island in Kona.
Their hard work didn't go unnoticed, wrapping up 2011 with an appreciation party at the Modern Honolulu. Blue Sky Tours and Aqua Hotels sponsored the event that featured local musicians, funnyman Lanai Tabura and a few fun prizes.
Sharing some smiles, laughter at the HAT 10-year celebration.
One of their biggest accomplishments that ended the year strong included the debut of a fully redesigned HAT website. It's got a fresh new look with more than 3,000 pages of valuable Hawai‘i travel information. Navigating through the site's a breeze, with an added feature – a complete activity engine that allows visitors to book all activities recommended by HAT's in-house concierge. Chief Technology Officer Om Prakash Sharma dedicated months of tedious work to redesign the site, which is a fully-functional "work-in-progress," according to Bruce.
HAT's website gets a virtual facelift for easier perusing. Check it out when planning your next trip to Hawai‘i.
With the start of a new decade together, the HAT team continues to embrace the digital age. Bruce's weekly podcasts, the Hawaii Vacations blog and a plethora of videos are virtual go-to places for those interested in visiting Hawai‘i. The new site also makes it easier to share information via Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus. Hat has even been featured on the Travel Channel.
I had a chance to talk with Bruce recently. He says he couldn't have done it without his wife, Yaling, who has been the nuts and bolts of it all. Her drive and go-get-em attitude has helped HAT to blossom into what it is today, nearly a decade later. And as for Bruce, he's reinvented himself after coming from a background of broadcast journalism. Today, he calls himself a "Hawaii Vacation Evangelist."
January 8th, 2012