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Sunday, December 19, 2004



[ INSIDE HAWAII INC. ]




art
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Craig Hara, the new vice president of Hawaii Visitor Television, said half the hotel guests make decisions based on what they view.




Windy career path
leads to visitor television

Craig Hara

» Named vice president of Hawaii Visitor Television.
» He will oversee all operations, including programming, sales, marketing and productive development.
» Hara has worked in restaurant management at several eateries in town.

Question: What are some of your past jobs?

Answer: General manager in restaurants. I've worked at a lot of Japanese restaurants.

Sushi Shun Bistro, across from Alan Wong's; Hazuki restaurant, assistant general manager and secretary. I started there at 19 and they promoted me to management.

Kalei-Tei -- I helped manage and market that place, before it sold and became known as 808.

I used to own my own maintenance company. We use to do office maintenance. We would maintain offices.

I used to work for Mary Charles & Associates. I worked for her as assistant travel director.

Q: What brought you into television?

A: Before this I was with Sushi Chef, a manufacturer of sushi, bread products and the owner of Dunkin' Donuts and Catch of the Day Sushi.

Through that I've done sales and marketing. I've always wanted to get into graphic arts, so that's how I got into TV.

It's a windy road, but God's path brought me here. The relationships you make trying to help someone grow their business, I love that.

Karl Schweitzer started the company in 1999. We're the largest visitor television provider on Oahu. We're in 50 hotels in a little over 15,000 hotel rooms.

Q: What's your viewership?

A: Basically, we've done market research studies saying 90 percent of visitors will watch some form of visitor programming.

Generally speaking, 50 percent of all who are watching will base decisions on what they watch on visitor television.

We're really unique. We're the first ones to use servers to get into the hotels. We've custom built our servers through a local software company. Our hotels can basically communicate any language to their guests through our servers.

We partner with hotels to promote and market on the property. In turn, they sign exclusive contracts with us.

Q: Do you have any expansion plans?

A: We're always working. We've gained 10 hotels in the past year.

Q: Which of the major hotels do you have?

A: We've got Kahala Mandarin, Ihilani, Hyatt, Prince Hotel, Ala Moana Hotel and tons of boutique hotels.

Q: Where do they get content?

A: We deliver programming in a television magazine format. We do segments, dining, shopping, activities, entertainment, so advertisers go into their own category.

We don't do spots. We do long-format advertorials. It's captivating. We built the program to work for our hotels, visitors and advertisers. We're not just a broadcaster and we don't sell 30 seconds. It's like reading a magazine.

We've got award-winning content. We provide critical need-to-know information bulletins and we update daily, 24/7. The hotel can also customize its screens through the Internet. So that's a big selling point for the hotel.

We give the visitors what they really want to know. We provide something like a calendar of events, too.

Q: You sound like a busy guy. What do you do in your spare time?

A: In my spare time, I spend a lot of time with my son. I love to go to the beach, body board, anywhere there's waves.


Inside Hawaii Inc. is a weekly conversation with business and community leaders. Suggestions can be sent to business@starbulletin.com



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