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Meet Hawaii - January 2021

Lions and Testing and Teamwork “Oh My” – This was not going to be the Kona Winds picking up, not a storm brewing in the Pacific. All not even close for our HVCB MCI Department and for the hospitality partners in the Islands. This “storm” brought closures, changes in departments additional training and new responsibilities. All not easy but as many we “carried on”. Cancellations of Meetings, Conventions and Incentives were common daily. Out of our constant stormy days came a great opportunity with Lions Clubs International and their International Board Meeting.

We were happy to assist in locating options in the Islands for this Meeting as it would be a great return to the Islands for Lions and profitable for our Hotel Community/Island.

The Hotels meeting the requirements were selected and the site inspection was set for April, then moved to May, July, August, September. All postponed as the 14-day Quarantine was still in place. September rolled in and we did see some light at the end of the storm only to be pushed back once again. It did appear this site would not happen resulting in Hawaii being taken off the list of potential Destinations for 2021-2022. Together with our Hotels we reviewed options to do virtual sites of the properties even with most of them closed at the time. We planned and then revised/planned as did all in Hawaii so many times we almost forgot what Islands they were going to visit.

Good news came in October and Hawaii was now “welcoming” back visitors. Our focus was now on November. Coordination with Island Chapters, Hotels, DMC’s was the normal way of progressing, however, this was anything but normal.

Testing became our sole focus and with the help of all Departments including our “Chief Ambassador of Safe Travels”; Darlene Morikawa we were able to work through the process for both mainland and inter-island travel on a zoom call. Josette Murai pulled together a great step-by-step site document for all to follow and reference. This was all helpful and encouraging. Well, 2020 said not so fast. One of our planners had to cancel and that moved all to December. Josette moved all the dates and we began again.

The site was now rescheduled for December – Flights booked – Mainland to Maui and then on to Island of Hawaii. Social Distance vehicles ordered through Marie Watanabe, MCA. Hotels were now all open and better prepared. Second test was scheduled on the Island of Maui with the help of Randy Parker MVB, which allowed our Guests from Lions the ability to travel to the Island of Hawaii. Randy Parker MVB and Debbie Hogan IHCVB assisted in tours of their Island by private tour to a private Helicopter Tour all under the guidelines of the CDC and the State/Island. All information as to what was open, and running was also offered. Our Hotels; Wailea Beach Resort – Sam Spurrier and Karen Rudd were prepared, Russ Kembel, Jennifer Kadota, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Samantha Collins, Fairmont Orchid were ready. The group determined and our Hawaii Team prepared.

The Site went very well for both Islands – comments as to the “level” of service and hospitality was one they had never really experienced before. This from a group that has traveled around the world. They are on to Spain to make one last site for the Meeting and then a decision will be made. It was made clear that Hawaii regardless of what was going on carried on as an “invincible” team that never worried about how to handle any set-back. “It will be hard to beat this kind of service.”

Simply said – “out of the storm comes a rainbow” or in this case there is “no place like home” with a team that would never quit and never give in to the challenges of the world.