Blue Sky Tours: Hawaii powerhouse
Gasoline prices. Milk prices. Airline prices. Cruise prices. Hawaii prices. Now if you think back to your childhood days of Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the other. Can you guess which one doesn’t belong? Of course it is Hawaii prices! All of the others have increased in price over the year. That’s right, Hawaii is a bargain right now and you need to let your client know about it! And when it comes to selecting a supplier for this American paradise, Blue Sky Tours rises to the top.
As with any endeavor, it is always better to go to the specialist. It is even better still when the specialist does not command a premium in terms of price. Blue Sky Tours sells Hawaii—only Hawaii. They are one of the top five wholesalers in Hawaii and they have the connections, the rooms, and the properties to make your clients’ visit to the Islands of Hawaii one that will be remembered for a lifetime.
Blue Sky Tours, established in 1978, is part of The Mark Travel Corporation group of companies and they do nothing but Hawaii and only for professional travel agents. That’s right; they do not accept any consumer bookings online, on the phone, or in person. Along with this philosophy, Blue Sky provides many other incentives to travel professionals. They offer a consumer booking engine that can be placed on your own website, they will pay commission on pre-arranged tours, the do not dis-incentify you for booking on the phone, and they still pay a commission on published air. As with most suppliers, the commission structure is tiered to production.
Based in Albuquerque, Blue Sky Tours has 80 employees working for you and your clients. When it comes to Hawaii, they boast the most experienced staff in the industry. Their least senior reservations specialist has been there over two years, and the average specialist will visit Hawaii 2 or more times per year. As a group, they have experienced all of the islands as well as all of the hotels, resorts and condos they represent. But if actual site visits and tenure were not enough, Blue Sky Tours requires each of their reservations specialists to be certified by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as Hawaii Specialists.
While their experience will set them apart from the competition, in speaking with Kevin Wilmore, Vice President & General Manager, he seemed to be most proud of their commitment to the professional agent. “We’re unique because not only do we sell exclusively through travel agents, we also don’t own any retail outlets competing with the travel agents for their clients. Our goal is to provide the best product in the marketplace at the most compelling price with greatest service. It is a tall order to be sure, but we recognize and appreciate the value of the professional travel agent, so we have designed our business plan around them. Their success is our success.”
While the economy is certainly a challenging objection to many travelers, Hawaii is actually seeing lower rates this year than last for most land based vacations. It is a prime time to take advantage of this as most clients will view Hawaii as “unreachable”. Now may be just the time to extend their reach. I asked Kevin about the challenges of the economy and he relied on the past to indicate the future, “The beauty of Blue Sky Tours is that we are a very cost efficient company, and the processes we have implemented are uniquely suited to remain profitable even in the worst of times. Want to make it hard for a passenger to go to a competitor based on price. Once we our travel agent friends have a client, if another future visit to Hawaii is in their future we have hope to help them capture that booking as well. We believe in the destination, the client and our agent partners. With the recent turmoil with the Hawaiian air carriers, Blue Sky was among the first to step up and honor the full value of the tickets which helped not only Blue Sky Tours, but the agents who handled the bookings. We took a lot of stress out of what could have been an incredibly stressful time for many passengers.”
With pricing below last year, and the price of fuel dropping, Hawaii is probably one of the most affordable destinations around. Whether it is Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai or the Big Island, Blue Sky Tours has the perfect experience waiting for your client.
Blue Sky Tours can be reached at 800-678-2787 or online at www.blueskytours.com. Their reservation specialists are available 9:30am to 8:30pm EST Monday through Friday and 11-5 EST Saturday and online reservations can be made 24/7. For a sampling of their packages, please click here.