HONOLULU, OAHU, HAWAII - After eight months of development, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and OHANA Hotels & Resorts have launched new websites using the latest interactive design and navigation technology geared to make every page view more efficient, dynamic and user-friendly. Ultimately, the new websites pave the way for Outrigger and OHANA Hotels to meet travelers` and professional travel planners` growing tendency to use the Internet to research and book travel.
The new sites, www.outrigger.com and www.ohanahotels.com, are comprehensive with respect to offering new, expanded and enhanced content that addresses all aspects of planning a vacation to the 49 Outrigger and OHANA hotels and resorts throughout Hawaii, Fiji, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Australia and New Zealand. Locating properties, special rates and offers, room/car/air packages, event calendars, maps and printable e-brochures are all easily done. Real-time room availability and immediate reservation confirmation are available at the click of a mouse.
The new sites also provide a strong foundation for communicating the brand images of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and OHANA Hotels & Resorts. Outrigger`s upscale hotels and resort condominiums and their diverse Pacific Island destinations are presented in beautiful and engaging visual imagery. OHANA`s affordable accommodations and casual, fun lifestyle are given a fresh, new appearance.
To develop the new sites, Outrigger employed the services of opus:creative, a web design firm in Portland, Oregon. Countless hours were spent in design strategy to incorporate new features and functionality to facilitate online shopping and information gathering demands of today`s sophisticated traveler.
Also contracted as a partner in design and development was WebCriteria, a consumer research firm that specifically measures the “usability” factor of a website with a broad cross section of Internet users. Individuals participated in user tests that objectively evaluated their ability to navigate the site, complete specific tasks, and ultimately make a reservation. Feedback from these one-on-one sessions provided valuable insight into improving site navigation, presentation of product information, and use of graphic images and photography.
The new site design must ultimately support Outrigger`s and OHANA`s explosive e-commerce growth. Outrigger, Hawaii`s largest lodging company, set a precedent by launching Hawaii`s first commercial website in 1994. The new sites maintain the leading Internet presence established nearly a decade earlier. Outrigger estimates that 15 percent of all retail bookings are generated through electronic channels, and the Internet accounts for most of it. This figure is expected to grow exponentially as consumers opt to continue booking travel online.
Here are a few highlights of the new www.outrigger.com and www.ohanahotels.com:
My Vacation is a new search feature that allows site visitors to save rates and property information in a personal vacation folder for later viewing. Rates and specials can be searched and stored without need for completing lengthy registration fields or submitting credit card information.
Go!There Interactive Map:
This new graphical map incorporates Flash technology and offers the user macro views of island destinations, as well as micro views of streets and specific property locations.
Video and Photography:
Digital video and photography is apparent throughout the site. Produced by VisualFrenzy, short two-minute video presentations of various properties can be viewed, downloaded, and even emailed to friends and clients. Also available are panoramic photos of all Hawaii Outrigger and OHANA hotels, offering visitors a complete 360-degree view of room interiors and property locations. One of the most popular features is live webcams positioned to show beach and ocean views from Outrigger properties on Oahu, Maui and Big Island. These webcams, using cutting-edge technology provided by XS Network, air images in broadcast quality, non-buffered formats for excellent viewing. Soon to come are webcams on Kauai and Australia`s Gold Coast.
The events calendar allows a site user to search for upcoming events by date, destination, and or area of interest.
Live Help Instant Messaging:
Site users can `chat` online with an Outrigger reservation agent and get immediate assistance with property or rate information while navigating the site.
A complete library of press releases, fact sheets and media announcements are posted for reading and downloading. With 49 properties spanning the Western and South Pacific, Outrigger is constantly announcing new programs, properties and services.
Meetings and Groups:
Meeting and incentives planners will appreciate features that specifically assist their planning needs: Meeting room layouts, catering menus and an online request for proposal form that allows the company`s group sales representatives to respond immediately. The rapidly emerging leisure group segment of sports travel will benefit from listings of sports venues, sporting goods stores locations, calendar of sports events, and testimonials from coaches and athletic directors. Find a Travel Agent:
Travelers can search for and contact an Outrigger Specialist travel agent (certified Outrigger and OHANA expert) in their neighborhood who can help them plan and book a vacation.
An entire section is devoted to providing travel agents with information and tools to help them sell Outrigger and OHANA. In this section are travel agent-only rate specials, and the Outrigger Specialist sales course. Once they complete the course, agents can earn a variety of privileges and rewards each time they make a qualifying reservation at an Outrigger or OHANA Hotel. The new site also allows agents to track the rewards they`ve earned and redeem them for free vacations and gift items.