Mieko Crans, the new sales manager at Royal Garden in Waikiki, stands in front of the hotel pool with its waterfall and jacuzzis. The waterfall forms the view of the hotel's Cascada Restaurant.

Sales director feels the pinch
of Japan visitor slump

Mieko Crans

>> Company: The Royal Garden at Waikiki

>> Title: Sales manager

>> Responsibilities: Managing all aspects of sales and marketing for the 207-room boutique hotel, as well as negotiating and developing contracts with wholesale travel companies in all markets.

Is this a promotion or are you new to the Royal Garden? I'm new to the hotel.

Where else have you worked? Most recently I was at the Japanese Wedding Emporium, a bridal shop. I got laid off because of Sept. 11 and was out of work for 9 months. But most of my experience is in hotel sales. I have worked for Castle Resorts and Aston Hotels and Resorts.

How would you describe the Royal Garden's customer base? It's about 30 percent Japan vacationers, 20 percent European, 25 percent Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways cockpit crews, 5 percent to 10 percent Japan film crews and the rest is corporate travel. We don't get much from the U.S. mainland.

What has the impact of the drop in Japan travel been on the hotel? The occupancy rate has been drastically affected.

What are you doing in response to that trend? First, we have been reestablishing sales and marketing efforts. We lost the previous salesperson in May. We are just getting the department going again. We have renewed the Web site in English and Japanese. We are marketing accommodations to other airlines for their crews.

What do you think of the state's marketing efforts? I gather from wholesalers and other hotels that they are not enough focused on the Asian market. There seems to be some neglect there.

If you could make any suggestions as to how the state spends its marketing resources what would they be? I think we really should focus on Hawaii as a destination. We should not pit the islands against each other; Maui against the Big Island or Waikiki. Our strength over other worldwide destinations is we get more repeaters. There was the effort to renovate Waikiki, but government needs to do more to support that.

Is there an untapped market for your hotel? We need more equally balanced market segments. We need to more aggressively court the U.S. mainland and Canada markets through trade shows and other venues. We're pursuing more individual bookings, like over the Internet, but we also need to work more closely with the wholesalers and we haven't done that.

How is the health of the wholesale business? Wholesalers are in a very competitive business. Some wholesalers are eliminating the number of hotels they have contracts with because they just don't have the business to support those relationships. They have become very selective. A lot of hotels have dropped their rates in response. We need occupancy, we need the bodies, but we also need to watch our rates.

How do you balance that desire for high occupancy with concerns about adequate return? I like both. Right now we have to find a medium point.

E-mail to Business Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --