May 3rd, 2010
United Airlines has agreed to buy Continental airlines in a $3 billion stock deal. The deal will make them the worlds largest carrier. Although many people involved in wall street with the airline industry believe this is a good step forward, it is speculated that it will negatively effect travel to the Hawaiian Islands.
More than likely the merger will decrease the total number of flights (seats) available to Hawaii. With the current state of the economy and tourism down from what it was in 2008, it will not hurt the Hawaii tourism industry roughly 90% of the year. There were several weeks late December 2009 and early 2010 where travelers could not get to the islands due to no flight availability. It is speculated that these times of year will be worse and there will be a few more weeks where flights will be sold out to Hawaii.
The decrease in competition within flights coming to Hawaii will also cause a rise in cost. This is speculated to be the largest issue for Hawaii with the merger. Travelers could find this as being an issue as early as June 2010. It will more than likely allow Hawaiian Air to increase their rates, which were already increased in 2009 due to Aloha Airlines closing business.
The effects of the deal are just speculation by experts in the airline industry. Hopefully the deal will not continue to hurt tourism to the Hawaiian Islands.
March 24th, 2010
The vacation rental industry is a large part of the Hawaii economy. Not only does it play a large role in tourism, but it also is a large contibutor to state taxes due to the transient accommodations tax. Just recently with the struggles of the economy the state and counties have had a hard time enforcing policies that have been set to regulate the industry.
The first issue is non conforming use of homes. This is when the homeowners attempt to rent their properties out as vacation rentals when the land use ordinance does not allow for that property to be a vacation rental. In these instances the fines can range from $50-$1000/day. Many homeowners can reach $100,000 in fines quickly. Typically if the county brings the issue to the homeowners attention and it is dealt with in a timely manner the fine will be drastically reduced up to 75%. If it is not dealt with in a timely manner then the county can enforce the maximum penalty since this non conforming use falls in the category of the homeowner doing it solely for financial gain.
The second issue is homeowners attempting to rent their properties out on their own and not being fully aware of the taxes for vacation rentals. For vacation rentals not only do you have the general excise tax, but you also have the transient accommodations tax of over 8%. This tax was raised by 1% in 2009 and will be raised another percent in 2010. There are a substantial amount of owners that do not pay this tax. Another fair amount of owners were unaware of the tax increases and did not charge the guests accordingly and did not pay the state the correct amount. Failing to pay the correct taxes for a vacation rental is fraud and homeowners can potentially be imprisioned.
Where the battle of legislation comes into play is that the counties would like to see the tax records from the state to see who is paying transient accommodations taxes. The counties are confident that most people do pay at least a portion of the transient accommodations taxes to avoid legal issues. If the counties could gain access to this information then they could compare the data to the land use ordinances to see who is renting their home out as a vacation rental in an area where this is not allowed. The state of Hawaii tax department can not share the information with the counties due to legislation. The two have battled for over a year now and no agreement has been met.
As the economy continues to struggle the state of Hawaii is bound to see this as a greater issue in the future. Many second homeowners are doing what they feel they need to do to keep possession of their home and not lose it to foreclosure. Hopefully in the near future the counties and state can reach an agreement to help policies be enforced.
March 9th, 2010
After focusing their efforts on the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Waikoloa Vacation Rentals has decided to expand their scope of vacation rentals on the Big Island of Hawaii to include more at Mauna Lani and Hualalai.
While Waikoloa Vacation Rentals currently has three of the nicest condo rentals at Mauna Lani they decided to expand to some of the private homes in the area at Pauoa Beach. Pauoa Beach is known to be the most luxurious destination at Mauna Lani Resort and has a wide range of upscale living. The majority of Pauoa Beach is custom homes that offer spectacular ocean and beach views and range in rental rates from $2000-$5000/night. There were also several two bedroom hales “cottages” built along the golf course, which offer the luxuries of Pauoa Beach at $1000/night. All guests of Pauoa Beach get to enjoy the luxuries of the Pauoa Beach Club and easy access to Pauoa Beach.
While Waikoloa Vacation Rentals currently does not manage any properties at Hualalai, they are set to put a lot of marketing efforts into the area in hopes to acquire some of these magnificent private homes and villas. Hualalai is known to be the most luxurious resort on the Big Island of Hawaii and is home of the Four Seasons Hualalai, one of the only five star hotels in the area. The values of these homes range in price up to $32 million. There are also a number of multi million dollar villas scattered throughout the resort.
By the end of 2010, Waikoloa Vacation Rentals is expecting to have one of the largest selections of luxury vacation rentals along the Kohala coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.
February 16th, 2010
As the economy continues to struggle people are finding it more necessary to take a vacation and get away from the “stresses of life”. Many people that once desired all the amenities and services of hotels have moved to staying in vacation rentals in order to save some money. Just recently there were two great examples of the move towards staying in vacation rentals on the television.
HomeAway, one of the leading vacation rental marketers, launched the first vacation rental advertisement during the Super Bowl. They brought back Chevy Chase and portrayed the hotel experience as a really bad one. Not only was it great for HomeAway, but it also increased awareness of vacation rentals as an option for vacations.
The Bachelor is a television show that has been aired for years. I think they have had close to a dozen seasons. As the show comes to an end the setting is typically in a beautiful location and they stay in one of the finest hotels there. This year it was set in St. Lucia in the Bahamas where many people are familiar with the hotel chains such as Sandals Resorts that operate there. Instead of staying in these notable resorts, they stayed in two and three bedroom luxury vacation rentals with private pools and jacuzzis. It was not something that they really publicized, but it just once again built peoples awareness of vacation rentals.
November 27th, 2009
When friends or family come to visit me on the Big Island of Hawaii I always take the time to be a tourist with them and enjoy all the things the Big Island has to offer.
Just recently one of my friends came and was eager to do everything and especially see the volcano. We left Waikoloa Beach Resort at about 10 am and went along the north part of the island. We stopped at Akaka Falls to enjoy the waterfalls there. We got to Volcano National Part at about 2 pm and hiked around for a while. I had been there before so it was not anything special to me. Around 4 pm we left Volcano National Park and headed to the area where you can walk in and see the lava flowing into the ocean. We took about a hour hike in across lava rocks and reached an area where it was roped off and a lot of people were watching the lava flow into the ocean from the distance. We decided we would take our chances and hike in down by the ocean. Once we hiked about 15 minutes further and got down by the water I was pleasently surprised to see a beautiful black sand beach down there. We were probably about 25 feet from the lava and the ocean water was a warm. As we decided to come out we found dozens of people coming to see the beautiful site.
Since then they have predicted that some of the land around their may break off soon so I would not recommend getting too far in or reasearch it first. I would also recommend taking water, pants, hiking boots, and a flash light.
November 20th, 2009
The Waikoloa Beach Resort golf courses offer a Gold Membership program to owners, which allows guests in their condos to enjoy golf at $50 and $75 at the Waikoloa Beach Course and Waikoloa Kings Course. This is a feature of vacation rentals that has become desireable to potential rentals.
Just recently two vacations rentals in our program, Kolea 1F and Halii Kai 12D, has acquired this membership for their guests to enjoy.
July 18th, 2009
The Hawaiian Islands have a lot to offer. Regardless of which island you are staying on it is a good idea to be well prepared for your vacation. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau offers great information on your stay. From volcano updates for the Big Island of Hawaii to even calendars for any island, it is sure to have what you need to make your trip special.
If you are planning a conference or planning on attending a conference on any of the Hawaiian Islands, The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau offers a resource center. You can find great discounts and deals that are only available to your group.
May 26th, 2009
Many people ask me “Where do people that live in Hawaii go on vacation?”. My typical response is “I go back to Texas”. That is where I am originally from and there is not much to do there except relax, but that is a long way from Hawaii so I do not get to make it there except maybe once a year. Due to that, my vacation spot in Hawaii is Kona Village Resort. There is a lot I like about Kona Village and the main factor for us going there is that it is the only resort on the Big Island that I do not spend a lot of my work days at.
We just recently spent our third weekend at Kona Village Resort and had a great time. Since it was slow, they upgraded us to one of their best hales (homes) there. This is a normal practice of theirs. Kona Village is due for some upgrades on the hales and we were pleasantly surprised that this hales’ bathroom had been fully upgraded. On our lanai we also had a hot tub, which was a nice. Every hale we have stayed at has offered a unique setting and this one we enjoyed the most.
In case you are not familiar with Kona Village Resort, it is one of the most unique spots on the Big Island of Hawaii. The resort is filled with huts versus a hotel setting. Each hut is very old fashioned. You will not find a television, a/c, clock, phone or anything of that nature in the huts. Conversing with the front desk is done by leaving notes under a coconut in front of the front door. They ask that you do not use your cell phones outside of your hale, which does give a lot of peace to the area.
Kona Village is located on a really nice beach and is adjacent to Four Seasons Hualalai. Kona Village is the only all inclusive resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. The only item not included is your beverages. At the beach they offer kayaks, surf boards, snorkeling gear, and much more at no cost to the guests. On our prior visits we spent a lot of time at this beach. This stay we had a very private beach just in front of our hale, which we could not pass up. It was a small cove area with a hammock and chairs. On three occasions sea turtles came just steps from us to rest in the sun.
We opened our stay with the lunch buffet, which was amazing as always. That evening we wanted to try the restaurant we had not been to before. The other one is our favorite restaurant on the island, but we decided to try the other one just for comparison. It was just as good. I must say, the chefs do an excellent job at preparing the menus at Kona Village. For breakfast we filled our table with food and ate it all before we left and I headed back to the Waikoloa Beach Resort for a day of work.
In closing, I love Kona Village Resort, but I could not imagine staying there a week and being disconnected from the busy world most people have. Most guests that it is their first time to the island I recommend them to stay there a night or two and then come to Kolea for the remainder of their stay. You get the best of both worlds that way!
April 27th, 2009
After having great success with Kolea 8C, we were lucky enough to get another three bedroom beachfront villa at Kolea in building 8. Kolea 8E is on the second floor and offers a beautiful view of the Hualalai mountain, Kolea Beach Club, beach, and ocean. Building 8 at Kolea seems to be the most popular building due to it being the closest building to the Kolea Beach Club.
The interior of Kolea 8E is perfect for vacationers. It offers all the amenities a person would expect at their own home. The floor plan is the largest plan Kolea has to offer and sleeps six very comfortably.
After having this villa for a month, three repeat guests have already called and rebooked. It hope guests love it as much as Kolea 8C and we look to have the same success.
March 30th, 2009
This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the island of Oahu. I have spent time there before, but never really took in what the island has to offer. It is amazing how different and unique each Hawaiian Island is.
We spent most of the time around the Kahala area. It was amazing has mountainous and green the terrain looked. It did look just like what you see in the movies. Then as we traveled into Waikiki we came over a hill and I thought for a second we were at Miami Beach. All you saw were tall business buildings, condos, and hotels. At that point, I was sure glad that the Big Island of Hawaii is not like that.
One thing that I loved about Oahu is that there are places to dine at a reasonable price all over the place. On the Big Island of Hawaii you find more upscale and pricier restaurants. We ate at Zippys (a couple of times), which offers local food and is known for its chili. We made a trip to the north end of the island where we had world famous shaved ice from Matsumotos. Their shaved ice has been featured in several travel magazines as well as shows. On the way we got some malasadas (Hawaiian pastries) from Leonards Bakery. They were the freshest malasadas I have ever had. We ate our dinners at Chilis. We do not have Chilis on the Big Island so that was a nice treat.
I looked at some of the Oahu real estate prices and I think if anyone was going to invest in real estate on the Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island is the best place. The prices seemed a lot higher on Oahu and I felt the quality on the Big Island of Hawaii was better.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Oahu, but I was really glad that I chose the Big Island of Hawaii to live and the Waikoloa Beach Resort to work. You can not beat the peacefulness of the Big Island of Hawaii.