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|Posted on July 28, 2015 at 2:05 PM||comments (8)|
Waikiki Beach: Ultimate Guide to Waikiki’s 9 Beaches
Had the area been left untouched, Waikiki would today be swampland without beautiful beaches, just as it was hundreds of years ago. In 1794 when King Kamehameha’s armies landed in Waikiki, on their way to conquering Oahu, things changed. His victory resulted in Waikiki becoming one of the new Kingdom’s primary royal retreats, not only for Kamehameha, but also his successors on the throne. The beautiful beaches and waters of Waikiki became a preferred hideaway for every ruler up to the last Queen, Liliuokalani.
Today, Waikiki – covering just 3.4 square miles of land – is the most popular tourist destination in the State of Hawaii, packed with hotels, condos, restaurants, shops and much more. Its beach – Waikiki Beach – is one of the most well-known and spectacular beaches in the world, stretching for ~1.5 miles along Oahu’s south shore (check out this awesome historical analysis from the University of Hawaii). Actually, the stretch of Waikiki’s beach is considered 9 distinct beaches – each with their own name and character. Here is a video showing all 9 beaches:
Safe & Happy travels to all
follow me on Twitter @waikikiDeb
FaceBook find me at "Waikiki Beach Honolulu HI Island of Oahu"
|Posted on June 6, 2015 at 10:06 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on November 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM||comments (54)|
The day I arrived for a speaking engagement, Ottawa was rocked by tragic events at and around our Canadian Parliament Buildings. One of our unarmed Canadian soldiers, Officer Cirrillo, was shot in front of the War Memorial that he was guarding. This was followed by more gunshots in the halls of Parliament, and eventually ended with the fatality of the gunman. Before and during my flight to Ottawa, everyone in the airport lounges and on the flight was discussing how our country had changed forever. In fact, I realized it truly had changed as I walked through the Ottawa airport, drove in a taxi and entered my hotel where access had just been reopened. I watched in amazement how everyone dealt with the situation personally and how staff dealt with customers. Most Canadians in my age group or younger have not lived with this kind of tension or unrest.
Not knowing whether the conference was going to commence in the morning, I proceeded to check in. When I got to my room on the 8th floor, my door was unexpectedly ajar. My first thought was that the housekeeping staff had simply left the suite without clicking the door behind them. I almost knocked on the door, but hesitated, considering the events of the day: “What if one of the perpetrators was hiding in the room?” I had not heard any updates on the media yet or how many people may have been involved, only that the lock-down situation had been lifted.
I wondered how many minor incidents like this on that same day became exaggerated incidents as customers and staff operated on High Alert. I wondered whether I should go to the front desk or just enter the room. I asked myself: “How did the hotel staff, airport staff, taxi drivers, waiters, the conference organizers, and anyone else I had met that day deal with the situation and customers in a calm and organized fashion, even if they themselves were afraid?”
As some of my readers know, I worked at an all-male maximum security correctional facility at the age of 19. The situations I encountered were unpredictable and at times frightening; I had no idea that some of those situations would provide me with skills and ideas to keep not only myself safe, but others as well during emergencies. Our training covered firefighting, first-aid, hostage taking and evacuations in contained environments. Our primary role was the safety, security and supervision of 500 incarcerated inmates. We were there for the safety of everyone – guards, inmates and the public. It was not a hotel, but the infrastructure was actually similar. There were rooms, linens, shampoos and meals to be served and people to be checked in and checked out. There were the occasional fires and burst pipes and security breaches and even lock-downs during emergencies or unsafe conditions.
After I spoke with the Front Desk, Security checked my hotel room before I entered, including the bathtub and the patio lock. However, as I went to sleep, I realized we had not checked under the bed (so, yes, I checked). As I observed everyone in Ottawa dealing with customers during those two dramatic days, I was pleased to sense an attitude of “Keep Calm and Carry On”. My client had confirmed they were proceeding with the conference and trade show in the morning as planned (despite being locked in rooms for most of the day). The hotel staff stayed neutral on commenting or giving opinions about the events, despite the newscast blaring in the lobby with all kinds of assumptions. And on my way out of town, the airport staff from security to airline employees continued on in a safe and reasonable manner. The taxi driver explained the areas and streets that were impacted that day and reassured me things were slowly getting back to normal.
Over the years, I’ve followed reports about how staff stayed on board or fled during cruise ship disasters, how hotel staff held their posts and helped guests during hurricanes or floods or even outbreaks of illness. I have also been a flight attendant, and when you are 30,000 feet in the air, you can’t choose to leave because you can’t escape the contained area and customers look to you for guidance and direction during emergencies. When there is a lack of calm, reasonable direction, customers will follow any leader or even another customer who takes charge of the situation (which could have a devastating outcome if they don’t know the surroundings, the safest alternate evacuation routes or the best procedures to follow).
So how does a company prepare staff for unexpected or emergency events?
The goal is to look after both staff safety and customers’ safety.
Here is how to prepare before an emergency:
the risks and do a “what if” analysis (cover the most likely scenarios: earthquakes, power outages, floods, fires, security breaches, illness outbreaks).
what you know and what you don’t know (list them on a whiteboard).
procedures that are not documented or defined, and update outdated ones.
training modules or have meetings to cover these procedures on a regular basis.
where staff need additional training or survey staff to determine their skill gaps.
staff on the psychological impact that emergency situations have (both during and after) so that when staff experience them, they recognize them and know how to react.
to debrief staff after en emergency event to provide comfort and support, and also to assess what went well and where improvements could be made. (Use a qualified company or train your management). Often, a group discussion guided toward moving forward can offer the immediate support and discussions necessary.
Safety is a big part of customer service. Occasions when things don’t go as planned are when the customer really remembers. I encourage organizations to make the necessary preparations so that both staff and customers feel safe during these times.
On this Remembrance Day, it is a special year to commemorate and honour those who have allowed us to stay “strong, proud and free”. As the saying goes, let’s “Keep Calm and Carry On”.
|Posted on November 22, 2014 at 2:17 PM||comments (50)|
|Posted on August 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM||comments (63)|
11:52 AM HST Aug 27, 2014
HONOLULU —Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawai'i in July 2014 rose 2.6 percent from the same month last year to $1.4 billion, according to preliminary statistics released Wednesday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.
While total arrivals grew 2.5 percent to 772,106 visitors, a shorter average length of stay (-3 percent to 9.12 days) resulted in flat growth in visitor days (-0.6 percent). Average daily spending was higher for most visitor markets compared to July 2013.
In July 2014, arrivals by air increased 2.4 percent to 771,244 visitors and one cruise ship visited Hawai'i with 863 visitors (+80 percent).
"Last month was the highest July on record for our state in both visitor spending (+2.6 percent to $1.35 billion) and arrivals (+2.5 percent to 772,106)," said HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney. "Year-to-date, we continue to pace ahead of the record-breaking year for our tourism economy in 2013, with nearly $212 million more in visitor expenditures and $23 million in additional tax revenue to the state in comparison to the same period last year."
Arrivals by air from U.S. West rose 5.1 percent to 327,325 visitors in July 2014, the first increase after 11 months of declines. Increased daily spending (+4.5 percent to $155 per person) also contributed to a 7.4 percent growth in U.S. West visitor expenditures to $483.9 million. While U.S. East arrivals of 175,739 visitors declined 1 percent from July 2013, higher daily spending (+5.6 percent to $207 per person) led to a 4.2 percent gain in visitor expenditures to $380.1 million.
"While we initially projected a slight decline in air seats from North America, we have seen a slight growth with Delta Air Lines adding additional flights and Hawaiian Airlines redeploying aircrafts that were previously used for international routes," said McCartney. "Our focus will be to ensure there is sufficient demand to sustain this increase in seats from our core U.S. market."
Expenditures by Japanese visitors rose 3.1 percent to $205.7 million in July 2014, bolstered by growth in arrivals (+1.6 percent to 131,229 visitors) and increased daily spending (+7 percent to $268 per person).
During their low season, Canadian visitors spent a total of $44.6 million, down 16 percent from July 2013. Canadian arrivals dropped 7.4 percent to 27,790 visitors. Arrivals from All Other markets totaled 112,162 visitors (+3.9 percent) with combined expenditures of $238.2 million (-5.1 percent).
Among the four larger Hawaiian Islands, arrivals grew on Kaua'i (+3.1 percent), Hawai'i Island (+3 percent) and O'ahu (+1.5 percent), while Maui remained stable (+0.2 percent) compared to July 2013. Visitor expenditures increased on Maui (+8.2 percent), Kaua'i (+5 percent) and Hawai'i Island (+1.7 percent) while visitors expenditures on O'ahu were unchanged. However, this month, visitors stayed a shorter period of time on each island compared to July 2013.
"We continue to monitor travel trends for the state, including adjustments in visitor spending and length of stay to accommodate vacation costs and budgets. With visitor expenditures up on the neighbor islands, with an exception to Lana'i, we are pleased that our collective efforts to increase visitor distribution across the state continue to result in increased dollars and other economic benefits to the neighbor islands," said McCartney.
Air capacity to Hawai'i was up 3.7 percent to 1,032,625 total air seats in July 2014. Scheduled seats from Canada (+21.2 percent), Other Asia (+17.1 percent), Oceania (+8 percent), U.S. West (+6 percent) and U.S. East (+4.2 percent) increased, offsetting fewer seats from Japan (-5 percent).
|Posted on August 26, 2014 at 6:33 PM||comments (41)|
Aloha from DNA Realty www.DeboahJKirk.com
I am just donating $100.00 to ALS , the Ice bucket challenge is fun & is just Brilliant for bringing awareness but do remember it's the donation that will be most important so I encourage all my fellow Real Estate Brokers all over the globe to donate $100.00 and match all your Realtors donations as well...Good on you everyone let's make it happen! Live Aloha!!#icebucketchallenge
|Posted on June 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM||comments (32)|
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|Posted on February 25, 2014 at 7:50 PM||comments (82)|
California-based Pacrep LLC’s plan to build a second condo-hotel tower in Waikiki that would be next door to its The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach project currently under construction on Kuhio Avenue, cleared a key environmental hurdle with the City and County of Honolulu determining that no environmental impact statement will be needed for the development.
The city also said that the $159.5 million, 39-story project at 2139 Kuhio Ave. should pose no significant impact to the environment, according to a recently filed final environmental assessment for the project, which was posted in the most recent edition of the Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality Control’s Environmental Notice.
The project, which includes up to 280 units with support facilities, resident services, recreational amenities and commercial uses, is expected to share an eight-story building podium with the nearby Ritz-Carlton Residences.
The project, which is expected to be completed over a two-year period with a tentative start date in April and a finish date of June 2015, expects to create about 275 jobs during the construction period and projects more than $174 million in on-site sales that would generate about $1.16 million in conveyance tax revenues for the state, the developer said.
Pacrep said that there’s a great need for this project, especially considering that there has been a significant reduction in hotel units in the area since 2003, including the Ohana Hobron conversion of 596 hotel rooms to a 181-unit condo and the net loss of 1,300 hotel rooms at the Waikiki Beach Walk redevelopment, totaling 1,896 units.
Additionally, the proposed redevelopment of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel will result in a net loss of 430 hotel units with the International Market Place redevelopment resulting in a loss of 358 hotel units at the Miramar Waikiki hotel, bringing the total hotel units lost and to be lost at 2,684 units.
|Posted on February 11, 2014 at 5:14 PM||comments (14)|
All indoor and partially enclosed public places, including restaurants and bars are 100% smoke free in Hawaii.Under new proposal, smoking at beaches may be banned statewide Photo by B.E.A.C.H.For those who enjoy lighting up a cigarette at the beach, a new proposal getting traction at the capitol will make that illegal.
Smoking is already banned at all Oahu beaches since January 1 2014, but some lawmakers want to expand that ban to every island through House Bill 325.Lawmakers are debating whether to include electronic cigarettes in the ban, which are smokeless and leave no trash behind, saying they don't want children to be exposed to vapor.Rep. Cindy Evans, D-Hawaii Island, the House Water and Land Committee Chair, introduced the bill.While advocates maintain the ban will keep Hawaii’s beaches cleaner, opponents said it could hurt tourism and impacts smokers’ rights.The vote on the measure in the House Water and Land and Hawaiian Affairs committees is set for Friday.The bill still needs to pass the House Judiciary Committee and the full House before crossing over to the Senate.
|Posted on February 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM||comments (30)|
At first I thought there would be only a special few in certain industries who might need to pay attention to the rising interest in “gluten free”. However, I've now realized first hand that this gluten-free fad might not be going away and a lot of industries should pay attention.
It all started after someone told me to try going gluten free to see if I felt better. I said, “No way – I love my bread too much.” Although I felt I had no need, I thought, “Okay, everyone is doing it.” And with seeing the book “Wheat Belly” in every airport, I thought, there must be something to this; I’d tried most every other fad diet – why not this one?
Lo and behold: three days of going with no gluten and my stomach went flat. I was not considered “overweight” either, but in six weeks of gluten-free eating, I lost seven pounds without really trying.
I do work out about three times a week and thought I was pretty healthy – just trying to ward off bone loss and the enjoy some other benefits – but all of sudden I increased my weights and could really pump it on the elliptical without much effort. In addition, I felt no more 3:00 PM need to reach for something (usually coffee). My head was clear, my stomach was flat, and I’d lost weight. Then someone said, “You should not be feeling this good – you should go get tested for celiac.” I replied, “I have no symptoms, I don’t have that!!”
The next time I waited for a prescription, I asked my doctor what I needed to do to get tested for celiac. He said, “Oh that is simple: it is just a simple blood test; it is only around $50 now versus a $5,000 endoscopy (the test where you swallow the camera). We send everyone now. We only used to send the worst cases as a last resort.” Four days later my test came back: I was celiac! That meant no gluten for the REST OF MY LIFE! All the way home in my car, I grieved the thought of never having a Yorkshire pudding or sausage roll again.
I looked everything up online; I bought books, and started cooking a whole new way. I feel amazing, weight has stayed off, and found it “kind of easy” to do this....except going out to eat, and when traveling through airports (especially international routes where you are not allowed to take food with you). As I continued studying and living gluten free, I realized I also had to change my cosmetics, creams, lotions, shampoo, prescriptions and even some pharmaceutical products— even my prescriptions were now making me sick.
Gluten seemed to be in everything and everywhere. In most restaurants (even top end hotels) both chefs and wait staff ignored or didn’t really understand the concept of “gluten free” and avoiding cross-contamination (and the consequence of “...if that happens, I can't come here again, nor will my family and friends if I'm with them”). That’s potentially a lot of business they would be losing out on — especially if this is not a trend. Unfortunately, the staff brought whatever they usually served as I looked down in horror at the croutons on my salad, or I found out later by looking online that their sauce did indeed have "modified" corn starch.
Believe it or not, it seems corn starch is okay, but "modified” corn starch is not. What an education process this is going to take in any business with their staff that uses gluten in or near their other products. Will the world split in half with those business offering gluten free and (advertising it) and those who don't?
The awareness of gluten intolerance is getting better, but I ask any of you who produce or provide a product with gluten: are you getting more requests to go gluten free?
I realized it is not just me who chooses not to go to your store, brand, hotel or pick up your product; it is my entire household, so that is up to five of us no longer purchasing.
Most grocery stores in North America now have an aisle or section dedicated to gluten free. Is it a trend that will fade, or is it here to stay?
For me to keep feeling well, the only treatment is to live 100% gluten free without cross-contamination. That means that the food you eat, the cosmetics you use, or the prescriptions you take must not contain gluten, nor be manufactured in warehouses where wheat products are used. Once I started to remove it completely, I now feel the effects of gluten within 10 minutes: I get a sharp pain at the top of my stomach and then brain fog sets in. I have to be really careful and I now travel with my own food. Airports could get much better at offering readily available gluten free food. Lays "regular" potato chips are gluten-free and have become my best friend in an airport (their sales may be up if the gluten-free trend continues!). As I searched, I found several progressive restaurants with gluten-free menus, so of course I take all the family there now and avoid the other establishments.
Last August, I spent a week on the island of Grand Cayman, known as one of the culinary capitals of the world. I was amazed how most restaurants and hotels there have got on board with delicious appetizers, breads/toasts, entrees, and a variety of desserts that all met my new dietary needs. My waiter and the chef from the Westin 7 Mile Beach hotel took such good care of me during my stay. From the time I entered, they stated “No problem, our chef will accommodate your needs.” It was exquisite dining, and they even made up four sample desserts “all gluten-free” just for me. Thank you for taking care of me.
Will gluten-free and other dietary requests become the new customer service norm in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical services industries? We will have to wait and see. I will continue to mystery shop and keep my eye on this trend – mostly because I have to.
Is this a new customer service trend? If it is it will take some staff training and probably you could combine your menus with nut free, dairy free as well. For your staff send them for more information about celiac and those who are adversely affected by gluten, visit:
For more information about our training or keynotes on customer service visit:
"Transforming Teams into Customer Care Crusaders".