Fresh off last year’s entry into Thailand, Hawaii’s Outrigger Resorts & Hotels is eyeing expansion into markets like Australia, Mexico, California and Florida.
At the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles earlier this week, Outrigger CEO Jeff Wagoner told Travel Weekly that the company is looking at a few properties in Australia. That would mark a return to Australia for Outrigger, which once had several resorts in the country but sold its Australian portfolio to the Mantra Group in 2015.
“We want to be in Mexico, and the west coast of Mexico would be really ideal for us,” added Wagoner. “We want to be in Southern California. And we’ve got our eyes on Miami and the Southern Florida market as well.”
The company is concurrently keeping busy in its home market of Hawaii. Outrigger has earmarked $250 million to enhance the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa, Waikiki Malia by Outrigger and Outrigger Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel.
The strength of Hawaii’s pandemic recovery, meanwhile, has varied by island.
“For the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, there’s a lot of U.S. domestic travel into those markets,” saidd Wagoner. “But Oahu is 50% international, 50% U.S. mainland, so the Oahu market — and the Waikiki market, primarily — has kind of taken the brunt of international travel not being back in full yet.”
A slow rebound in inbound tourism from Japan, in particular, has been a setback for the destination. Wagoner estimated that Japan travel to Hawaii has rebounded to only around 30% of 2019 levels so far.
“At the end of the summer, when kids are back in school and you don’t have some of the international travelers filling in some of that gap, then you have some softer periods,” he said. “I think over the course of 2023, we’ll still have a bit of that, because we don’t have Japan back. But it’s getting better every day.”
In addition to eight properties in Hawaii and three in Thailand, Outrigger has a pair of resorts in Fiji and one each in Mauritius and the Maldives.
The company also has a collection of Hawaii Vacation Condos by Outrigger properties across Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.