Island of Maui

The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands with a population of just over 117,000. Maui has a thriving tourism industry and is one of the most popular islands to visit, featuring alluring attractions like the massive Haleakala volcano, the bustling whaler village of Lahaina, the magnificent humpback whales, the infamous stretch of road to Hana and its numerous family-friendly resorts and inviting white-sand beaches. Maui is also the largest island within Maui County, which is comprised of three other islands: Lana`i, Kaho`olawe, and Moloka`i.

Maui

Quick Facts:
Climate:
Year-round temperatures range between 70-90° F with 50% humidity, generally cooler in higher elevations

The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands with a population of just over 117,000. Maui has a thriving tourism industry and is one of the most popular islands to visit, featuring alluring attractions like the massive Haleakala volcano, the bustling whaler village of Lahaina, the magnificent humpback whales, the infamous stretch of road to Hana and its numerous family-friendly resorts and inviting white-sand beaches. Maui is also the largest island within Maui County, which is comprised of three other islands: Lana`i, Kaho`olawe, and Moloka`i.

Top Maui Island Picks

Road to Hana – A meandering drive on the road to Hana, a classic Hawaiian small town, is full of hairpin turns, one-lane bridges and breathtaking island views.Pools of Oheo – A series of seven beautiful pools fed by waterfalls.Iao Valley State Park – Visit the 1,200-foot Iao Needle or hike in the 4,000-acre valley.

Haleakala National Park – Go on an excursion to the “House of the Sun”, an active but non-erupting volcano.

Molokini – A small island just off the southern coast of Maui creates a paradise for snorkelers and divers looking for beautiful coral and tropical fish.

Whale watching – Calm, clear, shallow waters create the perfect environment to attract whales during the winter season (December – May). Visitors will find a variety of options for whale watching experiences departing from Lahaina which can be followed by a visit to the town’s shops, art galleries and restaurants.

Go to a luau – Rich with Hawaiian history, the shores of Maui are the perfect setting to experience a traditional luau, including a main course cooked in the earth accompanied by live music and a hula dance sharing Hawaii’s stories.

Golfer’s paradise – With 14 courses to choose from and several options falling onto various best course lists, golfers can tee off near ancient lava flows, palms trees or an ocean mist.

Upcountry – Paniolos, also known as Hawaiian cowboys, spent their time in the small Upcountry town of Makawao, where you’ll find famous cream puffs at T. Komoda Store in addition to other boutiques and galleries. While in Upcountry, make a stop at Maui Wine for a tour and tasting – we recommend the pineapple wine.

The day trip to Molokini is a must.  The snorkeling is fabulous!

Home to nearly 250 species of tropical fish, Molokini is one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Snorkeling at Molokini crater is truly a unique oppourtunity as there are only 3 volcanic calderas including Molokini in the entire world.

I Was there is January and the mother whales were teaching their babies life lessons.  What a treat to see a baby whale learn to dive!  They were breaching, just having a wonderful time. The best part, we sat on the beach to watch them! Take a trip to HaleakalaFor a sunrise view and a bike ride down the volcano.  Or you can do what I did, and to at sunset.  4:00 AM is too early for me.  Beautiful.  If to go up at sunset,  be sure to go to Mama’s fish house.  Exceptional seafood.  The menu will tell you who caught your dinner, and the boat  involved.  On the waterfront.  Pricy, but well worth the trip.Haleakala

The Iao Valley State park is very lush and may be a bit foggy.  There is an entrance fee, but you can drive in a bit for the beautiful views.

You must go to Lahaina, the major tourist area.  The cruise ships stop here.  A lot of restaurants, casual and upscale. I can be very crowded, but there is a local bus that gives free transportation, or your hotel may do it.

If you are a  member of a yacht club, bring your card, and have dinner at the Lahaina Yacht Club.  Over the water, for a wonder sunset!
Any time is good to visit Maui.  It can be windy especially in the winter months.Maui weddings


Your special day deserves a special place and Maui provides an idyllic setting for the wedding of your dreams. Whether you’re planning a casual beach wedding on the shores of West Maui or a lavish ceremony in a five-diamond resort in Wailea, Maui meets every expectation.

You’ll find an impressive list of venues and resources, and expert wedding planners will attend to your every need. Nothing is spared to make sure your special day turns out exactly as you imagined. So let Maui’s specialists take care of the details so you can concentrate on what matters most: each other. Learn more about Maui wedding photographers, planners and venues.

Written by Claudia Augustson of Riviera Vacations

For more information on Maui or any Hawaiian Island getaway, contact Claudia Augustson @ rivieravac@cox.net

Don’t know where to go on your next getaway? Find your Destination match here

VH

 

VR videos helping agents close sales

A growing number of travel advisers are reporting that virtual reality (VR) is helping them close sales more often and faster, and several said they’re considering ways to put the technology in their clients’ hands with branded headsets to make it more accessible.

“You know, you can talk up a resort, you can talk up a destination, but letting them experience it for themselves like they’re really there gets them very excited about trips,” said Michele Botnick, owner of Lucky N Love Travel in Roswell, N.M.

Botnick is among the agents using a product developed by Virtual Honeymoon, a company owned by former agent Robin Hawkey, who created a set of interactive, online quizzes to help clients narrow their preferred destinations.

The service now offers quizzes for honeymoons, vacations, anniversary trips and weddings (including venue matching). Agents who sign up for the service also get access to VR content for which Hawkey partners with a Canadian company, Explor VR.

A number of Hawkey’s agent clients, including Botnick, have begun bringing VR headsets powered by smartphones to bridal shows. They have prospective clients take Virtual Honeymoon’s quiz, which takes into account personal preferences and budgets to determine two recommended destinations. They then showcase one or both destinations on the VR headset.

“It literally is doubling their sales,” Hawkey said. “They are closing sales quicker, and it gets the clients really excited.”

Hawkey has seen agents’ use of VR increase in the past year or so, a trend she attributed to the increasing quality and affordability of headsets.

VR has existed in some form for decades, but the market for headsets designed for consumer use has exploded in recent years. At first, headsets required expensive computers to run, but versions that utilize a smartphone have become very common.

Some cost less than $20, among them the Google Cardboard, a smartphone-powered headset. Sets that run off smartphones range in price and quality.

Newer entrants even run as standalone systems, not requiring a smartphone. Among those is the Oculus Go (starting at $200). Higher-end headsets requiring the use of a computer cost hundreds of dollars for the headset alone.

Companies in the retail travel space have been experimenting with VR in recent years. For example, Virtuoso several years ago beta-tested the use of high-end headsets in member agencies. The consortium found that interest varied greatly among members, and VR efforts are now member-driven.

One of those interested members is Direct Travel. Vicky DiMichele, digital marketing manager of leisure at the agency is Willoughby, Ohio, said it plans to introduce VR this year using Oculus Go headsets.

vr headsets

Guests viewing content from Virtual Honeymoon at a bridal show.

The idea is to place headsets in offices with walk-in leisure business. She would showcase videos from suppliers but is also considering creating her own VR content, especially from familiarization or adviser-incentive trips. That could also be useful for agents, DiMichele said.

Largay Travel of Waterbury, Conn., another Virtuoso agency, was an early tester of using high-end headsets in agencies, but Scott Largay, director of marketing, said the agency ran into issues with content development.

The agency was attempting to create its own content and app, but Largay said he found that limits to the amount and quality of content “was very restrictive to what we were looking to do.”

Companies producing VR content weren’t able to produce the caliber of content Largay wanted, he said, and those that could were “astronomically priced.”

“Virtual reality will be a big part of the travel industry moving forward, and I will be there with my headset on when it happens,” he said. “But it’s just not right now.”

While some have taken a step back from VR, Virtual Honeymoon’s Hawkey is doubling down on the technology and encouraging resorts to start filming weddings with it.

She works with several VR companies, and each has agreed to record at least one complimentary mock wedding as long as the resort hosts the production (and, of course, arranges the event). Hawkey said she has several resorts interested and that she believes they will see a direct impact on bookings if agents showcase weddings virtually.

She said other resorts would likely follow suit and pay to have their own mock weddings recorded in VR.

“The reason that we’re doing that is to prove how powerful viewing VR weddings really is and to show how that venue is going to double, if not triple, their weddings by doing something as powerful as a virtual wedding,” she said. “Because then you can literally drop the couple into the wedding without being there.”

It’s not a cheap prospect. In addition to the mock wedding, VR videos feature other aspects of the property to give viewers a better feel for what they will experience. Hawkey estimated that recording one property costs between $7,500 and $10,000, a price driven not only by the effort to videotape at a resort but also the costs of expensive professional equipment and the editing process.

The expense involved in VR is what led Camille Sanders, owner of Chic Romance Travel in Fresno, Calif., to partner with Virtual Honeymoon to offer VR to her clients instead of trying to create her own program and content.

“It’s very expensive to produce,” she said. “It definitely is better to partner with somebody.”

Like Lucky N Love’s Botnick, Sanders brings headsets to bridal shows.

“I feel it really sets me aside differently than anything out there, especially with other local agencies,” Sanders said. “It’s something different to offer.”

Miki Taylor, founder and CEO of Taylor & Co. Travel in Auburn, Ala., lives in a college town and brings the headsets to many local events. She said VR has gone over very well with clients, especially students, for whom Taylor plans many spring break trips.

“If I had a storefront, I’d have [headsets] on every station,” Taylor said. “Every agent would have them, and they would use them to sell. It sells itself.”

Both Sanders and Botnick are also considering purchasing branded headsets that are inexpensive, foldable and easily mailable to clients around the country, who can use their smartphones to view VR content.

Hawkey said VR is a powerful technology for agents to have in their arsenal.

“I just feel it in my gut,” she said. “If agents don’t get on with the technology, they’re going to be the next ones out of business.”

 

Virtual Honeymoon in TravelWeek news!

Robin Hawkey, owner of Virtual Honeymoon, was recently interviewed by Travel Week about how she came up with the concept for this VR interactive matching tool, and how its solving problems for hundreds of  Travel specialists in the Romance Travel industry, as well as plans for growth.

 the travel industry largest and most trusted media source in Canada!
See below a copy to article.

Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites, partners with ExplorVR amid company...

Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites

Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites, partners with ExplorVR amid company growth

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

TORONTO — Here’s a common scenario: You ask your wedding clients where they would go on their dream honeymoon, and they respond with a bunch of destinations in quick succession. Bali. Italy. Tahiti. The list goes on and on.

But there is a fun and easy way to whittle down the options so that your clients are left with a destination that best suits their needs and preferences. Virtual Honeymoon is an interactive destination matching tool used by agents with indecisive clients. Using intuitive software and an algorithm to search for and match destinations, the tool matches couples with their top two destinations, allowing them to ‘test drive’ these locales and help agents close the sale.

Robin Hawkey

Robin Hawkey- Owner of Virtual Honeymoon

Started and owned by travel industry veteran Robin Hawkey, Virtual Honeymoon kicked off in January 2015 for year-long testing before launching its affiliate program in March 2016. Hawkey says the idea came to her after “years of frustration of working with couples that were all over the map”, which resulted in wasting weeks of valuable time, sometimes only to lose them to the Internet.

“When couples have no idea where to go on their getaway, or say something like ‘We just want to go some place warm and tropical’, that usually leads to seeing every tropical island and comparing them all. We call [these couples] ‘tire-kickers’ or ‘time-wasters’ for using travel agents as a human resource tool,” she tells Travelweek.

How it works is simple: Clients answer a series of fun, interactive questions, the tool then matches them to their top two destinations based on their answers. After clients fill out a contact form, all the questions and answers, including their matches, are emailed directly to the travel agent who will then follow up directly.

The tool costs $24.95/month, or $239.52 per year with a savings of 20%.
You can access the site at virtualhoneymoon.com.

To enhance the experience, Hawkey has added a virtual reality component to the website’s destination pages. She’s teamed up with ExplorVR to allow clients to pre-experience their matched destination. Virtual Honeymoon’s affiliates have already used VR headsets and videos at wedding fairs where clients were able to test-drive their destinations on the spot.

“I think [VR] is so beneficial as most millennials want to be involved in the planning process. VR is the next best thing to being there!” said Hawkey. “I also feel that the agents who don’t get on this VR trend will be left behind – literally!”

Devin Kinasz, President & CEO of ExplorVR, adds: “Virtual Honeymoon is embracing VR technology and partnering with ExplorVR to give their agents access to exciting destination experiences. We are very excited to partner with Virtual Honeymoon because they align with our values of being a forward-thinking company that embraces technology.”

Virtual reality acts as the perfect selling tool in the destination wedding and honeymoon market as it allows clients to “try before they fly”. As Hawkey puts it, all couples want their weddings and honeymoons to go off without a hitch, so the best way to ensure that the destination matches their vision is to virtually travel there ahead of time.

“There is on average over two million weddings per year in the U.S. alone, with couples spending over $72 billion on weddings and $8 billion on honeymoons. The romance niche is such a great niche to get into to build your entire travel business,” said Hawkey. “If an agent does a great job on the wedding or honeymoon, and builds a good relationship with their client, they will do all their travel-related activities such as anniversaries, babymoons, graduations, family trips and more, not to mention the referrals to all their friends getting married. This creates a booming business that will continue to grow and prosper.”

With business booming, Virtual Honeymoon launched its sister site – Virtual Destination Wedding – at the Love Mexico event in Cabo last December. Operating much like Virtual Honeymoon, the new site not only matches clients with their top two destinations but also helps plan the wedding. And like its sister site, it costs $24.95, or $239.52 with a 20% discount.

Looking ahead, Hawkey is preparing to launch the company’s newest addition – Virtual Vacationing – on April 10 at the Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas. While its main concept is the same as interactive destination matching, she says the new site does not focus on romance as the other two sites.

“We realize that not all getaways are about romance, sometimes it’s about vacation travel with family and friends and they too can be confused about where to go on their getaway,” she adds. “We are so excited to be at the Forum with our VR partner, ExplorVR. They have really helped our vision of bringing virtual travel to life, allowing clients to virtually experience their destination match before booking and, thus, closing sales!”

“Test drive” one of our demo-sites below and find the best match for your business:

Travel agents specializing in Romance Travel

Virtual Destination Wedding

       Destination Wedding Planners

Virtual Vacations

     Travel agents selling Vacations

Virtual Reality the new trend for Travel

Is VR- Virtual Reality the next big trend for marketing travel?
We here at Virtual Honeymoon agency think it is!
Marriott hotels and some Cruise lines are jumping on that virtual travel experience.
Virtual reality is a great way to attract clients, imagine being able to pre-experience a destination, hotel or cruise ahead of time before you invest any money in booking!

The Marriott launched a great Virtual Reality marketing campaign with their Teleporter.
Imagine, getting swept away on a beach vacation, complete with your hair blowing in the wind, the smell of the ocean and the mist spraying you while your virtually walking along the white sand beach!


The Marriott hotels are on the right track and some of their hotels also have Virtual Reality – VR headsets in their rooms for clients to experience some of their destinations in the privacy of their rooms, very exciting future in store.

Virtual Reality is part of the reason Virtual Honeymoon was born!
We envisioned our clients to be able to pre-experience a destination before booking, by interactively matching their top 2 destinations and being able to test drive their honeymoon, with videos, virtual tours, google maps, virtual honeymoon itineraries and much more!
Experience it for yourself @ http://www.virtualhoneymoon.com

Virtual reality travel and honeymoons

Virtual Honeymoon at SF Luxury Wedding Show

 

Virtual Honeymoon is the leading travel agency in this Virtual Reality Travel market that will be driving travel futures, expect to not only be matched to your top destinations but to be able to virtually experience it before you book!

We are happy to be finishing up our travel agent affiliate program to launch early April 2016.
This will be open to travel agents that specialize in honeymoons and romance travel, stay tuned for details to follow in a press release very soon!