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Aloha from The Ritz Carlton Waikiki

(Image Courtesy of Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

Hawaii is a magical place. This picturesque state is home to world-class geography, warm culture, and rich history. I had the chance to talk with Huy Vo, Director of Public Relations at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, to learn more about this fantastic property.

Why should someone visit Hawaii and stay at the Ritz Carlton Waikiki?

On October 15, 2020, the State of Hawaii launched its pre-travel testing program requiring all travelers to Hawaii to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival. This program has attributed to the success of the State’s efforts in keeping infections low and Hawaii having one of the lowest infection rates in the country. The reopening of our resort coincided with the launch of the State’s pre-travel testing program on October 15. Since then our occupancy has consistently grown as vaccination rollouts continue throughout the nation and travelers are more comfortable with making travel plans.

Additionally, guests choose to stay with us during the pandemic for a number of reasons. The first is our residential resort model. All our rooms and suites are fully-equipped with full kitchens and washers/dryers which can serve as a guest’s extended home-away-from-home. We do have the largest number of luxury suites on the island ranging from one-bedrooms and up to our largest four-bedroom suite. Each bedroom comes with its own bathroom so for families or pods traveling together, everyone has their own space and privacy.

The second reason is our brand promise. When guests book at The Ritz-Carlton, they know that their safety and wellness is ensured. As part of Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean, we underscore the highest standards of cleanliness and luxury service to deliver a safe, yet comfortable experience for all guests who stay with us.

(Image Courtesy of Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

How has the hotel adapted in the face of COVID-19?

We had to quickly adapt to new changes that were constantly implemented from the federal, state and city level as it relates to COVID-19 guidelines. As we continue to monitor ongoing updates from various entities we had to quickly communicate them to our guests and future guests to ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest guidelines and mandates. Additionally, we had to shift our marketing strategy. Pre-pandemic, Japan was our largest market with 65 percent of our guests from Japan. As Japan’s recovery continued to stall, we quickly had to shift our strategy to increase U.S. market share. We are proud to say that our occupancy has remained consistently over 50% with just the U.S. market only which allowed us to progress further on the journey to recovery. While Japan remains to be an important market for us, we look forward to welcoming our guests from Japan back to Hawaii and our resort when the time is right.

(Image Courtesy of Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

What are the top sites anyone should see in Honolulu and how does the hotel add to that experience?

Honolulu is currently in Tier 3 of its reopening plan which allows majority of businesses including hotels and bars to open along with attractions and activities with up to 10 people per group. From the iconic Diamond Head Crater to the popular Polynesian Cultural Center, our concierge have been busy making reservations and planning activities and experiences for our of our guests. However, we still have many guests and travelers who are anxious about crowds. Last month, we launched our Pod Travel Concierge program and became the first and only hotel in Hawaii to have such a service. For any guest booking a multi-bedroom suite, they have exclusive access to our Pod Travel Concierge who can plan socially-distant activities and experiences for the guest’s group or “travel pod” such as a private tour drive around the island, private yacht experience, booking the entire spa for a wellness escape or even reserving an entire guest floor so that they don’t have to worry about sharing space with other guests.

How has the hotel shifted its efforts during the pandemic?

One example is our property assets. Pre-pandemic we had many lifestyle photos of guests enjoying different parts of our resort from arrival and checking in to dining and spa. However, since the mandate of mask/face covering usage, we had to be careful in using assets with maskless guests. If the photo features a guest in the pool or sitting down in a restaurant or inside of a room/suite, a maskless photo is OK to use. If a photo features a guest arriving in the porte-cochere or checking in at the front desk, we are not able to use the photo to promote the property.

(Image Courtesy of Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

What is the future of tourism in Hawaii and the Ritz Carlton Waikiki?

As we continue on our journey towards herd immunity and business recovery, we continue to work with federal, state and city entities to have guests and travelers comply with current mandates in place. Additionally, we continue to do our part in helping the State of Hawaii educate travelers on how to travel responsibly. Half the year has already completed and we continue to see light at the tunnel as we move closer to a period when our business and industry gets closer to how it was prior to the global pandemic. Until then, we remain hopeful and continue to work hard every day to do our part in promoting safe travel not only just to Hawaii but around the world as well.

(Image Courtesy of Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)

Thank you so much, Huy Vo, for teaching me about this property. As the world returns to a sense of normalcy, I look forward to one day exploring Hawaii and staying at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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