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Janet Lindsey has been with Kauai Beach Hotel & Resort since August, selling rooms to individuals and groups
Devoted to selling 'until the end'
Janet Lindsey shifts her sales focus from the Big Isle to Kauai
Question: Why are you moving over to Kauai after a long career on the Big Island?
Answer: They eliminated my job. After my job was eliminated in March, I really was not going to go back into the hotel industry. But this headhunter convinced me after all those years in the hotel industry, that it would be a big loss. And I was really ready to settle down into doing just a clerical job because I really didn't expect to get almost the second position in a company. Part of my settlement was they found me a headhunter. In part of my interview, I walked in and said, "You know what, I can sell this property."
Q: What attracted you to the job?
A: I like the Kauai Beach Hotel because there's a lot of excitement going on here. We have a new branding coming into play, we have renovation going on, about $13 million worth of renovation. This is a beautiful property, plantation style. When you first walk in, I was very impressed, and it's only four miles from the airport and it's centrally located. And the good part is I only live three miles away from the property. On the Big Island, I lived in Waimea, so it would take me anywhere from 35 to 40 minutes (to get to work). And now it only takes me five minutes, and gas is cheaper here.
Q: Kauai's arrivals are up 3.8 percent this year, spending is up 6.4 percent and hotel occupancy has been nearly 80 percent. How is business?
A: With renovations going, we're going to have to take rooms out of inventory. But we have some good business, some nice groups that have been in the house. It's interesting though. This property I see a lot more people coming from the East Coast, where at my job on the Big Island, a majority came from the West Coast.
Q: Why do you think there are more East Coast visitors?
A: I don't know. I've met people from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida. My understanding on the Big Island is it was difficult to get groups from the East Coast. Well, a lot of them are here.
Q: What's the scope of the renovations?
A: It's going to be entire property that they're renovating. In 2000, they went through a $10 million renovation and now it's a $13 million renovation. In the rooms there's going to be a lot of tile work. Rather than drapes, they are having shutters, brighter lights in the bathroom. Of course everybody has their signature bed. We're also renovating our meeting rooms.
Q: What is it like adjusting to group business?
A: For individual bookings, you work one reservation at a time. With groups, you work 30 to 60 rooms at a time on a contract. I used to be afraid of working with contracts out of fear they are going to sue me. But in the first month I was here, I booked $140,000 of group business.
Q: How long will you stay on Kauai?
A: I have a few more years to work. As I did my interview with the general manager, I told him because I am a dedicated person, I'm going to stick it out until the end, until you get rid of me. I have anywhere between five to 10 more years to go. Hopefully this will be my last job.
» New job:
Associate director of sales for Kauai Beach Hotel & Resort She started Aug. 1 at the hotel, which was formerly the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort.
>> Old job: She previously served as leisure sales director for the Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island. She began her career as a hotel reservationist at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in 1968.
» Age: 57
» Born and raised: On the Big Island in a family of 11, eight of whom are in the hotel industry. Her husband worked for Hawaiian Airlines for 32 years and has retired.
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