NaHHA’s Ola Hawai‘i Workshop Empowers Neighbor Island Industry Leaders

Attendees leave workshop inspired to change the way they perform on the job


The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association’s renowned Ola Hawai‘i program offered a special workshop to over a dozen hospitality industry managers and employees at Keauhou Beach Hotel on April 6th & 7th. The program received rave reviews from attendees who obtained a better understanding of the Hawaiian culture as well as valuable information that will help them build a sustainable, profitable business with guests returning for a true Hawaiian sense of place.
“This resonates with my business as it reflects the same values as those of our guests from Japan,” said one program participant.

Panalist: Donna Wheeler

“WOW! Would love to offer parts of this training to our island volunteers!” added another workshop attendee.
A distinguished panel of Hawaiian cultural experts including: Peter Apo, Kumu Keala Ching, and Hospitality Sales Executive Donna Wheeler shared their knowledge on a variety of topics including “What does it mean to be a host?”, “Managing Visitor Information” and “Sales & Marketing.”
Based on survey feedback, an overwhelming majority of the hotel, restaurant and other travel industry leaders in attendance rated the learning modules as “teaching things that will change the way I perform on the job.” To learn more about Ola Hawaii, The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association and upcoming programs that can benefit your business, browse

Some highlights from Donna Wheeler’s panel presentation discussing
Sales & Marketing

“Hawaiian-izing” the current FARM TO TABLE dining trend is a great opportunity to introduce
indigenous language.  Imagine being asked, “what is ‘aina?”, which evolves into a conversation
about ahupua’a and discussions on kuleana. The intimacy of that exchange is where cultural
tourism begins.

This sculpture is located at Kahului Airport, where thousands of visitors pass through daily.
Marketing a sense of place can be kolohe with a modern twist, while still respecting the culture
and being relevant.  Draw your ideas upon what already exists – Hawaiian legends, oli, mele.