Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Outrigger to
celebrate debut
of new hotel line

Free entertainment on Lewers
will mark the launch of its
moderate-priced Ohana facilities

By Russ Lynch


Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Outrigger Hotels & Resorts is putting on a party in Waikiki Friday night, hoping free music shows, storytellers and other entertainment will help spread the word of its new hotel brand.

The company is marketing 15 of what it calls moderate-priced hotels under the separate Ohana Hotels brand to distinguish them from Outrigger's more upscale properties. The new brand goes into effect Dec. 19 and the company will soon begin putting up new signs.

The Ohana hotels, mostly those that are on Lewers Street and along Kuhio Avenue, have all dropped "Outrigger" from their names. For example the Outrigger Reef Lanais became the Waikiki Reef Lanai and Outrigger Surf became the Ohana Surf.

The logic behind creating the Ohana brand, said Perry Sorenson, Outrigger's chief operating officer, is to create a clear separation for travel agents and travelers between the upscale luxury resorts and the more moderate hotels.

Outrigger has diversified over the past decade, adding luxury resorts on the neighbor islands and expanding out into the Pacific, Sorenson said.

"It was getting difficult for our customers to understand just what Outrigger was," he said. "With the creation of the Ohana brand, our customers now have a clearer idea of what each hotel group represents."

The company has standardized the room rates for all 15 hotels in the Ohana group, with posted rates of $109, $129 and $139 a night depending on the size and quality of the room.

Next spring and fall, a low rate of $99, called the SimpleSaver, will be available at all 15.

By comparison, the low-end rate at the other Outrigger hotels is about $200 and many rooms go for much more than that.

Honolulu-based Outrigger operates or has under development 42 hotels and resort condominiums in Hawaii, Micronesia, Australia and the South Pacific.

Tom Burke, vice president of operations for Ohana Hotels, said there will be three hours of events in and around Lewers Street Friday, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in what the company is calling Ohana Day.

A traditional Hawaiian blessing at the Waikiki Edgewater will be followed by a hula performance.

Music stages will be set up at the Waikiki Reef Towers front stairs, the Waikiki Coral Seas mauka driveway and the Outrigger Islander Waikiki's parking lot area.

Outrigger and Ohana hotels employee groups will join professional entertainers.

There will be a karaoke contest at the Waikiki Broiler in the Waikiki Tower Hotel and storytellers and craft demonstrations in several of the hotels.

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