Hualalai Club

CHALLENGE:

Hualalai Club is a members-only luxury resort on the Island of Hawaii’s premier Kohala Coast. The club is comprised of high net worth individuals who make Hawaii their primary or secondary home. The club is the only AAA Five Diamond rated property on the island and one of only three in the state. The club was created independently decades ago and several years ago merged with the nearby Four Seasons property to create a master planned community inclusive of both the resort and the residential and club areas. The two properties – the resort and the club – began experiencing tensions due to an influx of hotel guests on property that was previously reserved for private members, as well as the addition of club members who began renting out their secondary residences in the community on sharing platforms, like VRBO and Airbnb. Tensions boiled over in late 2016 when a resident filed a lawsuit against Hualalai Club when the club made it illegal for homeowners to rent out their property to non-family guests. In 2017, the club also saw the general manager and the club manager leave their posts, leading to worry on behalf of the club members that the community into which they had invested was taking a turn for the worse. Bennet Group was brought in to help mitigate member-club communications.

STRATEGY:

  • Created and executed a thoughtful and proactive communications plan for members.
  • Conceived new ideas, such as on-property events and creative communications tools to surprise and delight members.
  • Positioned the new general manager, Debbie Casey, as a compassionate and forward-thinking leader, committed to meeting members’ needs.
  • Concepted a mahalo event for the departure of the previous general manager, with the new general manager also in attendance. Positioned this as a smooth transfer of leadership, with talking points and key messages for both general managers (previous and new).
  • Lead a rebranding charge to elevate the brand and instill value in memberships.
  • Designed a new club website that is more user-friendly and full of relevant information for members.
  • Concepted and published a biannual lifestyle publication – Ke Kumu – that provides members with need-to-know information.
  • Provided communication strategy to the legal team managing the lawsuit case.

RESULTS:

  • Members are enjoying increased levels of frequency in communication with more relevant content and are engaged and up to date on all happenings by the club management.
  • Members of Hualalai Club feel more comfortable coming to club management with problems and issues, quickly culling rumors and myths.
  • Membership at Hualalai Club has actually increased, with new members joining the club, many brought on by current members who want to share their lifestyle with their friends.