Having just finished a 7 day Hawaii site inspection covering 2 islands with a wonderful client from Australia, I left the experience with a newfound appreciation for Hawaii and all it has to offer! As well, I thought it best to share a few helpful hints on how to get the most of your site inspection on Hawaii. I hope you find them helpful!
1. Have a Plan
When it comes to site inspections, planning is paramount! Knowing your goals and having an agenda to meet them is key. The days can get away from you, so it’s best to start each day with a run through of the plan with all stakeholders. At the end of each day, spend time (together or alone) recapping the day and checking things off the agenda and adjusting the plan as needed.
2. Be Flexible
“Adjusting the plan as needed” — being flexible and open to seeing and experiencing new things that you had not thought of in your original plan is HUGE! This will allow you to truly experience the destination and maybe add something to your program you had no idea existed and would fit perfectly with your group!
3. Loosen up
Don’t expect the daily time line to stay on track, even though you are trying hard to maintain it. Be OK when traffic is bad or a road gets rained out or one venue on a site takes a bit longer to see because you LOVE it and want to learn all you can about it. It’s Hawaii — most of our industry suppliers understand the amazing beauty of our home and build in time for you to absorb it — even if that means you are a little late! We are all used to this on a Hawaii site inspection.
4. Dress in layers
Hawaii features many different climates that can be experienced during one day of a site inspection. For example, you could start your day at the top of Haleakala (10,000 ft elevation) at 5am — where the temperature can be as low as 30 degrees, and end your day in Wailea for sunset and a smooth 80 degrees. Dressing in layers and having a cover up or something to keep you warm in case it gets “cold” is always recommended.
5. Experience Hawaii
Build in time to experience the peaceful rejuvenation of being in Hawaii — take a few hours (each day if you can) and go to the beach or the pool or the spa! Take a morning yoga class on the beach or go for a walk along the ocean. The restorative powers of Hawaii make it an amazing and obvious place to bring an incentive program — be sure you experience them as much as you do venues and activities.
6. Take photos
Be sure to photograph everything and keep a log of photos so you know what they are for later when you get home. Ask your DMC (destination management company) to indicate the correct spelling of those hard-to-pronounce Hawaiian place names.
7. Take notes
Start everyday with a journal page and keep good notes about what you liked and did not like. We simplify this task by giving our clients a form we created to log each activity and venue so they have a structured place to keep all their findings. Email us if you would like a copy and we will be happy to send it to you!
8. Eat Breakfast
You will need a lot of energy to conduct a thorough site or planning visit and breakfast is the best way to get it! After a morning walk or work out, take the time to sit and eat. This gives you an opportunity to test the F&B (food and beverage) at your resort and this is also a great time to multitask and review with your DMC the day ahead, walking through any fabulous additions or plan changes they might suggest!
9. Bring an umbrella & a smile
We are all familiar with the challenges of rain on our events — keep in mind Hawaii is a tropical paradise and in most cases the need for water to aid in the “tropical” portion of that description is inherent. There are wet and dry sides to every island. Ask your DMC to explain, though even in those dry areas it can randomly sprinkle for a brief shower or misting! Remember it is probably only going to last a few minutes and with it come the most amazing rainbows! So bring an umbrella and enjoy the colors.
10. Timing is everything
Hawaii has seasons that typically affect the temperature, the amount of rain, and where the surf is more prevalent. Winter (December – February) tends to bring a 5 to 10 degree drop in temperature and with it more rain. The surf swell is higher on the north side of the islands. The summer months tend to bring drier weather and surf is higher on the south sides of the islands. So as you plan your group incentive program in Hawaii, remember that your summer site visit may be a bit different from the winter program.
11. Bonus: Say Mahalo
The industry partners that your DMC recommends are taking time out of their busy days to spend time with you, to educate you, and help you make the most informed decisions for your group possible. In some cases, they are offering discounted rates or complimentary accommodations. Most are happy to do this and appreciate your business. If someone goes above and beyond the typical call of service, we recommend taking time for a “Thank you” or “mahalo.” They will be sure to offer the same level of expertise to your guests!
Are you ready to start planning? Contact us to schedule a complimentary discussion. We would be delighted to help you select the best fit when choosing a Hawaii destination management company!