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Aqua Hotels contest targets those dreaming of Hawaii

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Aqua Hotels & Resorts has launched its first Pinterest contest.

A what contest, you ask?

The official contest name is “Pin Hawaii: Hawaii Bucket List Contest,” though it also is known as the “Pin It to Win It” contest, and keys off

Pinterest is a burgeoning social media site that could be described as an online corkboard to which users “pin” or electronically append pictures and other content they find interesting. It is yet another form of self-expression online.

The contest challenges registered Pinterest users to answer the question, “If you could take the bucket-list trip of a lifetime to Hawaii, what would you do?”

Rather than use words to describe their dream trip, however, entrants will “pin” images depicting their ultimate Hawaii vacation, or “Hawaii Bucket List” board on Pinterest. A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you die, or kick the bucket.

The winning pinner will receive airfare and a five-night Waikiki stay for two at an Aqua boutique hotel.

One of Hawaii’s best-known attributes is “its stunning scenery,” said Elizabeth Churchill, Aqua senior vice president of sales and marketing. So, it seemed only natural to have contestants “show rather than tell.”

At least one pinned photo must be taken from one of the Aqua pages on Pinterest, which are legion.

Aqua was “the first hotel chain in Hawaii on Pinterest, and we thought it would be a good place to showcase our hotels and the destination,” said Amber Watt, corporate director of online marketing. “We have boards about each of our hotels, about Waikiki, nature … local grinds, all sorts of different things,” she said.

The team got to thinking about how it could create “some sort of contest surrounding Pinterest,” and the bucket list idea was decided upon.

Hawaii has many repeat visitors, as we well know, but there are likely many more people who save up their entire lives for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to these islands we take for granted.

The contest is “intended for out-of-state (residents), but we are leaving it open to kamaaina as well,” Watt said. The winner will be chosen May 1 and will be notified via email.



People who do not presently have a Pinterest account may be out of luck, as far as entering the contest. Your columnist requested an account Feb. 21, resulting in an emailed thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list. The wait for an actual account continues.

The things you learn

So it appears that the U.S. State Department likes us. They really like us.

Before the 2011 APEC dust had even settled, agents told Hawaii Host Committee CEO Gregg Yamanaka that “they were all thinking of printing a T-shirt that said, ‘I wish every state was Hawaii.’”

That’s what he said after accepting, on behalf of the Host Committee, the Marketer of the Year award from the Hawaii Chapter of the American Marketing Association. The T-shirt sentiment was expressed “because everything was so well planned and organized, and made their job easy,”Yamanaka said.

Yamanaka is back at his “day job,” as founder and CEO of the LearningBiz Group, a training company.

Disney Aulani Resort and Spa won for the Best Marketing of a New Product or Service; the Film Offices of the Hawaiian Islands won for Best Nonprofit, Government, or Noncommercial Marketing; and Farmers Insurance Hawaii Inc. won for Best

E-Marketing at the event, emceed by this columnist.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie wrapped up the event in his usual ebullient and colorful oratorial style, acknowledging the winners and the efforts of creative marketers throughout and beyond the state for drawing attention to Hawaii as a destination for pleasure and for business. In doing so, Abercrombie used words such as “serendipitous,” and “intergalactic,” which rarely if ever have appeared in this space — until now. Mahalo, Governor.

Reach Erika Engle at 529-4303, or on Twitter as @erikaengle.

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