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Waikiki, Vegas hotels try novel pitch


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POSTED: Saturday, August 29, 2009

What happens in Waikiki can lead to stays in Vegas, if kamaaina take advantage of a new offer from the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa.

For every two nights that local residents book at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, they will get one free night at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, good for travel through June 30.

“;We want to drive local business,”; said Brad Mettler, director of marketing for the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. “;To my knowledge this is something that we are trying for the first time, but hotels are always looking for creative ways to drive revenue.”;

The offer comes at a time when Hawaii and Las Vegas hotels have been grappling with one of the leanest times in industry history. While occupancy at some resorts, including the Hyatt, has been fairly high, revenues are down to unprecedented levels. The latest report from Hospitality Advisors LLC measured Hawaii's revenue per available room (RevPAR) — which some consider the truest measure of hotel performance — as down more than 29 percent from the previous year.

The chips have been down in Vegas, too. Like Waikiki, Sin City's leisure market has been pummeled by the economic slump and the ensuing drop in consumer confidence. The destination, like Waikiki, also has seen its group travel market hard hit by government bailout regulations and the growing conservatism of business travel decision makers.

“;Obviously, everyone has been hit by the economy, and people aren't traveling as much,”; said Riley Meredith, spokesman for the Stratosphere. “;We haven't done a promotion like this before, but we're seeing all kinds of creative things in the industry.”;

While Las Vegas is normally one of Hawaii's fiercest leisure destination competitors, the down market made the Stratosphere an “;eager partner,”; Mettler said.

“;We are hoping that we are starting a trend,”; Mettler said. “;We think we've come up with something unique for the traveler.”;

But, just to make sure that their marketing gamble pays off, Hyatt is throwing in a few more incentives, too. The deal also comes with free parking in Hawaii and a two-for-one breakfast buffet.

Word is just getting out about the promotion, but Mettler said he expects to see strong response.

“;Hopefully, we'll have a great story to tell,”; he said.

The promotion will benefit the Stratosphere equally, Meredith said.

“;There is competition between the destinations at large, but because of the promotion, we'll be getting Hawaii residents in Las Vegas,”; Meredith said.

The Stratosphere, which will be reimbursed by Hyatt when Hawaii residents use their certificates, was motivated to participate in the promotion partly because of their common ownership within Highgate Hotels and a long-standing connection to Hawaii, he said.

“;The Hawaiian population here in Las Vegas is enormous,”; Meredith said. “;There are a lot of visitors traveling back and forth to see family and friends.”;

While the Stratosphere's largest market comes from Southern California, Meredith said Hawaii is an important link.

“;We have an incredible amount of Hawaiian culture built into Vegas restaurants and shows,”; he said. “;It's one of those things Las Vegas caters to and will continue to grow as more people from the islands move here.”;