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July 2005 - Supply Chain

The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in dis-covering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.

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JULY 2005 - Home

FEATURES:
FEATURE ARTICLE 1
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COLUMNS:
So You May Know
UnXpected
Wisdom & Insight
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Supply Chain


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Supply Chain

Are you ready for the INbound half of our VolunTourism operations worldwide?

VolunTourism sends us a warm "Mahalo" from the beautiful setting of Waikiki... Uh, do you think it's okay to have VolunTourism envy?

Simplicity… it has a flow, does it not? When I came across the folks at Outrigger Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii, this is the word that came to mind.

The story is a simple one. Herman Lam, Chief Engineer for the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach resort in Hawaii, wanted to give back. Working with the City & County of Honolulu, he adopted a nearby open space, Kapiolani Park, and together with a group of employees began a steady practice of improving the area. Beautification was the goal and it started with a little painting and a little mulching.

Over the course of time, the exercise in service expanded to incorporate more employees and a sister property, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. With the arrival of spring 2005, Outrigger Waikiki decided to broaden the scope of participation to inbound guests. VolunTourism was born on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

But what sparked this interest? According to Mary Lou Foley, Outrigger's public relations manager for its Beachfront Division, “Outrigger, as a hotel company, is very supportive of community projects,” and Kapiolani Park holds a special status in the eyes of visitors and locals. King Kalaukaua dedicated the Park in honor of his wife, Queen Kapiolani, in 1871, making it the oldest park on the Hawaiian Islands. The Park is the site of numerous community festivals, arts & craft shows, live entertainment, and family picnics for residents and island guests alike.

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Extending this voluntary service opportunity to the guests of the Outrigger Waikiki and Outrigger Reef was a natural progression of the project. Visitors would come by the Park and inquire as to the activities of the employees – “What are you doing? Why are you doing it?” Following some internal discussion, it was decided that offering the guests the option to participate would be an excellent way to connect guests, community residents, and employees. In fact, it could be a means of generating additional connection and customer loyalty between guests and Outrigger’s Waikiki properties. Guests easily recognize that their contribution to the beautification of Hawaii has a lasting impression on the residents and certainly gives visitors a feeling of satisfaction for time well spent.

Once a month, the Outrigger Waikiki and Outrigger Reef set aside an afternoon for guests to join employees in the beautification of the Park. Interested visitors will team with Outrigger staff to paint park benches and tables, organize mulching of some of the more than three-hundred trees, and conduct general landscaping projects. The scenic setting amongst the aged trees, the blue sky, and the overarching backdrop of Diamond Head make the experience quite rewarding. Herman Lam offers his take on the effort, "It's a good community project for us, and it makes a big difference. When we came back three months later, you could really see the fruits of your labor."

For Outrigger Hotels & Resorts it is a great experiment and trial run for some of its other resorts throughout the Pacific. As they learn to market this Inbound VolunTourism option to guests and to perfect its operational efforts and appeal to participants, the company will have a model to infuse into the product and service offerings in other locations. Likewise, they will be able to connect with some of the other community projects and nonprofit organizations with which they currently conduct voluntary service projects.

To paraphrase: “The journey, regardless of the distance or the desired outcome, begins with the taking of the first step.” Outrigger Waikiki has taken a first step in developing an Inbound VolunTourism program that may very well become a jewel in the crown of its reputation to guests, residents, and employees. The corporate philosophy has indeed become employee-practice, and the employee-practice is now becoming guest-practice - in the form of VolunTourism!

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VolunTourism:
A seamlessly integrated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, traditional elements of travel—arts, culture, geography, and history—in that destination.

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