Hilo Hattie Really Gets It


I woke up this morning in Nawiliwili.

Charles and I are cruising around the Hawaii Islands on NCL’s new Pride of Aloha. As with all press trips I did a lot of pre-trip research; perhaps even a bit more than normal with this particular trip because this cruise is so shore intensive (great itinerary!).

During my research I had a hard time finding accessible transportation. This problem is not specific to Hawaii; it’s just something that’s difficult to find in virtually every destination. Many businesses just don’t offer an accessible option and the ones that do can be difficult to find. But that’s what I do for a living (research) and I was happy to find what I thought were all of the accessible options on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.

So you can imagine my amazement when I picked up the NCL Freestyle (the ship’s daily bulletin) and read that Hilo Hattie has a free shuttle to their store AND a wheelchair-accessible shuttle was available upon request.

Then it hit me — Hilo Hattie really “gets it” marketing-wise. I mean every Hawaiian store wants more customers, but Hilo Hattie is really doing something to get *everybody* in their store. This should be applauded. In fact, they are worthy of Emerging Horizons gem status.

Of course we had to go and check out the store (which was of course very accessible). We left with a sense of satisfaction and a couple of Hawaiian shirts (hey, I believe in patronizing businesses that go that extra mile to make their facilities accessible.) It’s nice to see that businesses are realizing the potential in this growing niche market. Hopefully more businesses will follow Hilo Hattie’s shining example.