Head three miles from downtown Honolulu and you're at Waikiki
Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. This stretch
of beach is only about two miles long, very narrow and, always
packed with throngs of beach goers. Lining the nearby streets
are hotels of all shapes and sizes. The big names in the US hotel
industry have a presence here including Marriott, Renaissance,
Hyatt, Hilton, Doubletree, Radisson, Sheraton and Holiday Inn.
However, walk around the area and you can't help but notice the
overwhelming number of hotel properties sporting either the Outrigger
or Ohana name (I count a total of 10). Both brands are part of
Founded right here in Waikiki Beach back in 1947 by the husband
and wife team of Roy and Estelle Kelley, privately-held Outrigger
Enterprises has over 50 properties (12,000 rooms) in Hawaii,
New Zealand, Australia, Guam, Fiji and even Tahiti. Revenues
last year totaled more than $400 million.
Corporate offices are in a five-story annex connected to one
of its hotels located a block from the beach. The first two floors
are for parking. Entering, visitors are greeted by a glass enclosed
case on a wall featuring a company timeline from 1947 to the
present. (click for photo). After checking in with receptionist
Michelle Paiaina-Makua (very friendly), I take a seat on one
of the two small sofas while she finds out who ended up with
my letter of introduction mailed a month earlier to CEO David
Carey. Nothing fancy about the reception area décor, it
has a late 1960's/early 1970's look to it. I count three plants,
note the scale model Fujian canoe on a coffee table and skim
through the two publications on another coffee table (Pacific
Magazine and Hotel & Motel Magazine).
Within minutes my questions are being answered in a conference
room by the delightful Nancy Daniels, Public Relations Manager.
About 180 employees work here with the company also occupying
three floors in the adjacent 16-story hotel which was built in
the 1960's. Actually, step into an elevator and it'll say there're
17 floors but thanks to superstition----there's no 13th floor
Senior management gets reserved parking spots, those who bicycle
to work enjoy covered parking, smoking is allowed only in designated
areas, meeting rooms have names like the Ocean and Mountain rooms
and there're no recreational facilities. Then again, being one
block from the ocean means one can slip away for a noontime swim.
There's no onsite cafeteria but Outrigger has arrangements with
nearby restaurants to allow employees to have meals at partially
subsidized rates. It's eight miles to Honolulu Airport, two miles
to the nearest freeway and a 20-minute drive to downtown Honolulu.
Any unusual perks? Employees enjoy discount rates at Outrigger
CEO Carey occupies a third floor middle office with a balcony.
I note the family pictures, computer and, a glass enclosed case
on a wall filled with golf balls. Carey's an avid golfer and
each ball in the case commemorates a golf course he's played
on. What's the view out his window? No ocean view here as it's
an unexciting view of a family-style restaurant (built in the
1960's) right across the street. The boardroom is also on the
third floor. The boardroom table seats 10 and three framed pictures
hang on a wall, one of which is a picture of co-founder Estelle
Company website: www.outrigger.com