HONOLULU, OAHU, HAWAII – While Outrigger Hotels & Resorts bullishly moves throughout Australia and the Pacific, Hawaii's largest hotelier is now expanding into a new market with the opening of a new management office in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Honolulu-based company expects to announce its first New Zealand property soon with a long-term objective of having four to six hotels and resorts operating within the next three years, according to Bill Henderson, Vice President of Business Development.
Like Australia, New Zealand offers a potentially strong growth opportunity, Henderson said. New Zealand is considered by many travelers as a clean, safe destination, with many spectacular and unique activities and attractions, and we view the region as offering strong growth potential over the long term.
The privately owned hotelier expects its New Zealand operations to mirror the success experienced in Australia, given the similar appeal both markets have among domestic and inbound travel markets.
Through a combination of investment and management agreements, Outrigger has secured management rights for eight resorts throughout Queensland's leading coastal tourist centers. Plans call for operating up to twenty Australian hotels by the end of 2005. Other Pacific properties added in the last few years include three in Guam, two in Fiji, one in the Marshall Islands and one in New Caledonia, which is schedule for opening in 2002.
Currently, Outrigger and its sister brand OHANA Hotels & Resorts, own or manage a total of 45 properties in Hawaii, Micronesia, Fiji and Australia with an inventory of more than 12,000 rooms, representing combined value in excess US$ 1.4 billion.
According to Henderson, the company has reached critical mass in its Hawaiian homeland with 32 properties and 9,000 rooms spread over the four main islands. However, the South Pacific is largely untapped, offering
Outrigger continued expansion opportunities.
Outrigger's New Zealand venture is a long-term agreement and partnership with Auckland-based Hotel & Tourism Resources, which will support the introduction of the Outrigger brand into both the North and South Islands.
Hotel & Tourism Resources, headed by local tourism industry veterans Laughton Wilkinson and Michael Dobson, will be responsible for supporting Outrigger's expansion throughout New Zealand, including key tourism centers such as Queenstown, Rotorua, Christchurch and Auckland. Wilkinson and Dobson will also assist with staff recruiting, and provide regional oversight for overall operations and sales/marketing functions in the area.
This is an exciting development for New Zealand tourism, said
Wilkinson, commenting on the agreement. The commitment to New Zealand by
such a highly regarded and widely recognized group as Outrigger brings a new dimension to our visitor industry.
Access to Outrigger's huge international customer base will lift New Zealand's profile in the global markets which is so important to us, he added.
Currently visiting New Zealand, Outrigger's Vice President for Business Development Bill Henderson said Outrigger has had New Zealand in its sights for over eight years, and a significant presence in New Zealand is considered integral to the group's overall South Pacific growth strategy.
Hotel & Tourism Resources will be our 'eyes and ears' in New Zealand, assisting in identifying suitable properties and joint venture partners, Henderson said.
We will also rely on Mr Wilkinson's and Mr Dobson's many years of experience in the regional hospitality business for assistance in local sales and marketing activities to complement Outrigger's global marketing and sales network, Henderson added.
While Outrigger Hotels & Resorts' brand is traditionally associated with sun, surf and sand, Outrigger's move into New Zealand extends its product mix beyond the beach and into popular winter destinations, which
appeal to many of the same customers.
The company's strong association and brand awareness among its core North American, Asian and Australian client base fits well for New Zealand as a premier skiing and eco-destination – both popular within these same markets.
We are committed to complementing New Zealand's growing international profile – assisted by recent successes such as the movie Lord of the Rings – and are extremely excited and confident we can support and build on the increased awareness of this beautiful part of the world, Mr Henderson concluded.
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts is division of Outrigger Enterprises, Inc., the largest locally owned lodging company in Hawaii and one of the fastest growing lodging companies in the Pacific. Under its two hotel brands
– Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and OHANA Hotels & Resorts – the company currently operates or has under development 45 hotels and resorts throughout the Pacific region, representing more than 12,000 hotel rooms and condominium units in Hawaii, Micronesia, Australia and the South Pacific. Outrigger's affiliate, Outrigger Lodging Services, operates nearly two-dozen hotels and resorts throughout the U.S. Mainland.
For reservations or information, call your preferred travel professional or Outrigger Hotels and Resorts toll-free at 800-OUTRIGGER
(1-800-688-7444) within the U.S., Guam and Canada. Outrigger's toll-free number is available internationally via AT&T's Direct 800 Service. Elsewhere call 303-369-7777. Internet users can access information of Outrigger via the World Wide Web and www.outrigger.com and Outrigger's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.