Where are you from?!

Pristine waters, breath-taking vistas, magnificent ocean creatures and warm people; it’s no wonder that Hawaii plays host to visitors from around the world!

One of the enriching aspects of working the Kona-Kohala coast, is that Kona is a popular destination so I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and engage with many of these national and international guests.

Just in the past week, I’ve had guests from Dubai, Canada, Japan, France, and Zimbabwe…  They all have questions like; “What’s a must do activity, while here?”, “Which restaurants have the best poke?”, and “What is a good beach for small children?”.  I give them some insight, and they’re thankful, but what most excites me is hearing about their perspective and culture.  Through our conversations and their stories, It’s kind of like the world coming to me!  Last month, I spent a day with a wonderful family visiting from Serbia.  They generously and passionately shared about the history of their country; Bosnian War, the dissolution of Yugoslavia and also the modern-day characteristics of the Serbian people and culture.  I enjoyed my time with them, while taking them to various Big Island locations such as South Point and Papakolea Beach (Popularly known as Green Sand Beach).

A lovely couple from Dubai expressed to me how much they were enjoying the sights and weather, here, on Hawaii Island. “It is simply beautiful here.” the wife said as if recalling the details of a dream.  I responded “Yes, it is.  I feel blessed each and every morning.”, I replied.  From the videos and photos, I’ve seen, Dubai is also beautiful.”, I continued.  “Yes, but Hawaii Island is the opposite of Dubai.”, the husband said.  “How so?”, I asked.  “As beautiful as Dubai is, it is all man-made… artificial.  Hawaii Island is mostly natural. You know?… Natural beauty.“, his wife added.  “Yes, that is a good point.” I said with a smile.  We went on to have an interesting conversation about renewable energy and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.  I love this stuff Haha!

On  my website, and the Facebook page, there is a considerable amount of traffic from around the planet.  The website stats indicate the following countries as the top five visitors of my page:

1. United States
USA

2. Japan
Japan Flag

3. Canada
Canadian Flag

4. India
Indian Flag

5. Australia
Australians Enjoy Visiting Hawaii

Where are you reading this post from?  Please, rep your city and country in the comment section below!

When you finally make it to Hawaii Island (or return ;D), make sure you give me a shout!

I hope to see you in the Kona Sun! Peace!

 

Southwest Comes to Hawaii!

Southwest Comes to Hawaii
Aloha, Southwest!

I’ve been hearing about Southwest Airlines’ plan to provide flights to Hawaii for over a year now.  They officially began marketing flights today!

Held up by the FAA approval process and, more recently, the government shutdown, Southwest has shown incredible resolve.  With the December approval of their Extended Operations manuals, there were just two major tasks left to do- simulations to test the carrier’s procedures for dealing with emergencies, and validation flights between the mainland and Hawaii with FAA inspectors on board.  This week, to the delight of many travelers, the airline announced that it finally received federal approval to begin making flights to Hawaii. Yeaah!!!

Starting with Cali cities; Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Oakland,  flights have been announced today!  How many flights per day, and to which islands will they be flying to?  I’m sure that information will be announced, shortly, as well.
“We have teams now finalizing our plans to offer service to Hawaii, and we’ll publicly announce our timing for inaugural flights and other services when we publish our schedule in the coming days.” Southwest officials stated earlier this week.

Less expensive flights to and from the “mainland”, is cool but what most excites ME is that the airline plans to provide inter-island flight service in the near future.  Finally, Hawaiian Airlines will have some healthy competition!  This should result in lower fares, making it easier for people to visit family and friends, on neighboring islands.  Not to mention visitors will be able to explore more of the unique beauty and culture each of the Hawaiian Islands has to offer, without being too cost prohibitive, during their visit.

So…  When are you coming to Hawaii?

Time For Change?

 

Fiverr-Gig-696x465

Happy New Year!
A New Year is always a good time to “start a fresh”, re-invent yourself, begin again…
The calendar year represents a new cycle for many things, why not jump on that wave of change and ride that momentum to your advantage!

I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the past few months, with some of my guests.  There seems to be an increasing number of people asking about the average cost of homes, and land on Hawaii Island.  I know that Hawaii has a way of making people feel like their visit is always too short.
I tell them “There are a few factors, but between 200k and a few million.”.  Appearing encouraged, some couples begin lightheartedly planning out how they would make their move to the Big Island.

Hawaii Island does not only seem to be an attractive option for international and continental U.S. visitors, but for the residence of the neighboring Islands as well.  With real estate prices on Oahu sky-rocketing, the lure of, relatively, inexpensive properties and land being offered on the Island of Hawaii, it most likely continue to be a growing destination.

Although the 2018 Hawaii County census data has not been released yet, the rate of growth in 2017 was 1.1%, braking the 200,000 mark.   If the increased talk and curiosity is any indicator, that number is sure to increase in the upcoming years.

Do you need to change your location? How about your job?, Perhaps just your attitude?  Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid, and go for it!

Online flight booking

Are Airlines Jacking the Price on You?

With the advent of the world wide web, people can easily shop around for the best prices on items or services. Whether its shoes, a book, or airline tickets, it’s not uncommon for a consumer to look out for different sites in search of the best deals.   Have you ever noticed, when looking at airline tickets, the prices go up day-to-day, and in many cases moment-to-moment? I was curious about it so I dug around a bit. I found out about “Dynamic Pricing”.

“Dynamic Pricing”, also known as “Yield Management”, is a set of pricing strategies aimed at increasing profits. It’s not new, but add the technology and capabilities of the internet, and you have a powerful tool for, potentially, identifying customers that will pay a bit more.

Through the use of “Cookies”, websites have access to a great deal of data about their visitors. With that information, the site could automatically adjust the fair based on the collected data. The travel sites’ position is that the change in rates is based on inventory and not cookie data.  This is what I always thought, and it may be 100% true.  I’m skeptical of that 100%. Lol!  William McGee, an aviation adviser for Consumer Reports, conducted a study, in 2016, of 372 searches on nine airline ticketing websites.  What McGee and his team found was:

“Among the 372 searches, we found 42 pairs of different prices on separate browsers for the same sites retrieved at the same time (in theory there should have been no differences). In fact, all nine sites provided different airfares on separate browsers at the same time at least once, although it occurred most frequently on Google Flights (12) and Kayak (8). Out of the 42 pairs that differed, 25 resulted in higher fares (by as much as $121) and 17 resulted in lower fares (up to $84 less) for the scrubbed browser [meaning cookies/browser history removed].”

The technology is there, the incentive is obvious (mo $$$), and the discrepancies are fact, however, there is no admission from the airlines that they strategically employ “Dynamic Pricing” practices as a way of taking advantage of consumers based on their data.

What can you do?
I know it’s a little more work, but you can search for your flight in two browser windows- one that has no “cookie” data, and one that does. And go with the best results that serve your needs.

Browsers now have a “private” feature. Chrome has a way to browse the internet undetected through their “Incognito” feature. For your convenience, I’ve illustrated below how to do this in Chrome.

Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, offers a much more detailed look at “Dynamic Pricing”, in their blog.  READ IT HERE.  

Click here

Going Incognito in Chrome. D The Driver Blog
The Dropdown menu to open an “Incognito” window in Chrome.

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Hawaii hotel MLB

Mauna Lani Closes On Oct 1st!

A buzz topic amongst tourism industry personnel has been the forthcoming closing of The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. In less than a month, October 1st, 2018 the hotel will close its doors.

MLB Mauna Lani entrance
Atrium at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel

Officially purchased last August by DiamondHead Land (a partnership between California based ProspectHill Group and Patrick Fitzgerald). The new owners have carefully assessed the property and have announced the plans for a 100 million dollar make-over. The renovations are expected to take 12 to 14 months to complete. “We are honored to carry on the legacy of the Mauna Lani – hailed as an unparalleled destination and frequently cited as a model of thoughtful stewardship – and bring it into a vibrant new era,”, said Mr. Fitzgerald in a statement. “We are confident we can build on the Mauna Lani’s reputation as a world-class resort to offer even greater value to our cherished guests.”  Mauna Lani is also steward of the ancient Hawai’ian  Kalahuipua‘a royal fish ponds.

Mauna Lani Bay Back Lawn
Mauna Lani Bay

Although the 400 workers of the hotel will have to find another source of income, while the renovations take place, the new owners have vowed to assist them with finding employment and to bring them all back when the hotel reopens. I truly hope so. For a great deal of those workers, Mana Lani has been their second home for 20-30 years. guests who’ve been coming for years have developed relationships with many of the staff members.

Foot bridge over water at MLB

Ocean front pool MLB
Pool Time at Mauna Lani

With great change, trepidation and anxiety is expected.  Let’s hope that the changes turn out to be good for all involved; the workers, the guests, the new owners, as well as the continuation of the ecological stewardship and historical preservation that Mauna Lani has been known for.



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