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The Hawaii Convention Centre celebrates Hawaii’s aloha spirit

The Hawaii Convention Centre has 20 years of experience hosting business events. Over the decades, it has developed a number of programmes to cater to its guests and care for the environment simultaneously

Hawaii's aloha spirit inspires people to be genuinely caring and respectful, resulting in a hospitable environment that is ideal for cultivating ideas, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones
Hawaii's aloha spirit inspires people to be genuinely caring and respectful, resulting in a hospitable environment that is ideal for cultivating ideas, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones 

With 20 years of success under its belt, the Hawaii Convention Centre is a stunning marriage of form and function. The venue’s striking design features a range of outdoor spaces and an abundance of natural light; its seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces is a centrepiece of its appeal.

World-renowned architects Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo and LMN Architects collaborated to create the Hawaii Convention Centre, which is Hawaii’s largest meetings facility, with 1.1 million square feet of meeting space. The centre has been designed to encourage networking and allow delegates to be open and receptive to sharing new ideas, leading to increased productivity, synergy and successful events.

The aloha spirit inspires people to be genuinely caring and respectful, resulting in a hospitable environment that is ideal for cultivating new ideas

“A comment we frequently receive from meeting planners is that their attendees feel more relaxed in Hawaii and in our beautiful, open building. They are in an environment that inspires networking and collaboration,” according to Teri Orton, the general manager of the centre.

The centre is driven by a set of values that reflect a deep respect for all guests. Among these values is aloha, a Hawaiian greeting that represents our mission to extend an unconditional hand of friendship to a stranger.

The aloha spirit inspires people to be genuinely caring and respectful, resulting in a hospitable environment that is ideal for cultivating ideas, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones. Guests from around the world feel comfortable doing business at the centre.

“The aloha spirit pretty much permeates everything in Hawaii,” said David Martin, CEO of the Society for Critical Care Medicine. “When you first arrive, you think it’s maybe a little bit gimmicky; everyone you meet says ‘aloha’ and puts a lei around your neck. But in time you find that it really is the spirit of the place.”

Programmes for success
As well as being a beautiful destination, Hawaii’s medicine, technology, business and science industries are growing, making it a relevant venue for any number of conventions. What’s more, its strategic mid-Pacific location means businesspeople from the Asia-Pacific region and further can attend conferences held there.

Through its Meet Hawaii programme – a collaboration between the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Convention Centre – the centre is working to reinforce Hawaii’s reputation as a world-class destination for business meetings.

The Elele Programme is part of Meet Hawaii’s efforts. The programme enlists the support of community leaders who have ties to professional organisations both on the island and internationally. These volunteers offer local insight and personal relationships that help the Meet Hawaii team craft thoughtful events and reach key decision-makers throughout the Pacific Rim.

In 2017, after investing $1.1m, the centre unveiled its new athletic courts, including 28 volleyball, 18 basketball and 11 futsal courts, which have attracted large sporting tournaments to Hawaii. This includes the 2018 Pacific Rim Futsal Cup that took place in November and December. More than 40 teams participated across five specially assembled courts in one of the centre’s three spacious exhibition halls.

“These courts are allowing us to diversify our development of group business opportunities for Hawaii and help fill hotel rooms by offering a first-class venue to accommodate events with participants from around the world,” Orton said. “The response from tournament organisers has been very positive, and these new agreements to host futsal, basketball and volleyball tournaments in the coming years will help us to attract more events and teams from domestic and international markets.”

Enhancing the meeting experience
Over the past year, the centre has launched a variety of initiatives to augment the guest experience and continue to provide excellent amenities and services. This includes the addition of an accessible business centre on the venue’s third floor that hosts a comprehensive array of business services, including copiers, printers, computers, office tools and desk space. Two complimentary charging stations offering secure charging lockers are located at key points in the building and light-use Wi-Fi is available in all public spaces.

As well as providing practical facilities, the centre also has its visitors’ comfort in mind. The 1801 Café and Bar offers a large selection of high-quality, freshly made snacks, lunch items, beverages, local treats and gift items. And when guests need a moment to relax, they can make their way to one of the centre’s 12 massage chairs.

With so many amenities available to its visitors, the Hawaii Convention Centre has created an online interactive map and 3D floor plans to ensure that every visitor to the site can make full use of its extensive facilities.

Conservation efforts
To celebrate its two decades in operation, the centre is strengthening its connection to Hawaii’s environment with a groundbreaking new conservation programme. The centre launched its Ho‘omaluō Programme in October 2018 (the word ho‘omaluō meaning to conserve, use or manage wisely in the Hawaiian language) in conjunction with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) annual meeting, which drew more than 16,000 registrants from nearly 50 countries.

In 2018, the ADA meeting, as well as other major conventions, paid real attention to environmental concerns, responsible food and beverage options, energy-efficient meeting spaces and new recycling initiatives.

“At the Hawaii Convention Centre, our guests, planners, staff and communities have come together for more than two decades to preserve, protect and enhance the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands,” Orton said. “Since our opening 20 years ago, the Hawaii Convention Centre has been deeply committed to a multifaceted approach to environmental conservation that inspires everything we do and touches everyone we serve.”

For its conservation efforts, the Hawaii Convention Centre has received Gold certification in operations and management from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – the certification is officially titled v4 O+M. The centre is the first and only public assembly convention centre to earn a Gold v4 O+M LEED certification in the US and is the only Gold v4 O+M LEED project in Hawaii. This certification places the centre among a select group of buildings that have completed an extensive review of their sustainability and conservation practices.

Through the Ho‘omaluō Programme, the centre works to conserve and reuse its resources, maintain a high quality of operations and pay careful attention to reducing waste at every stage of the event process. The centre incorporates guest education and participation through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, which supports the reforestation of trees that are endemic to Hawaii. In 2018, the ADA committed to reforesting 100 native trees.

“As contributing members of our community, both professional and personal, we are always working to give back to the public,” said ADA President Jeffrey M Cole. “Our organisation’s vision is helping the public achieve optimal health, so it made sense to participate in this effort. The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative and Hawaii Convention Centre offer a unique opportunity to offset our carbon footprint in travelling here and to help keep the islands that we love pristine and picturesque for years to come.”

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