Getting Hyped For Hospitality

HYPE's advisory board is comprised of HLTA staffers and employees of hotels and other travel-related companies TRAVIS OKIMOTO PHOTO

HYPE’s advisory board is comprised of HLTA staffers and employees of hotels and other travel-related companies TRAVIS OKIMOTO PHOTO

A new group for young professionals in the hospitality industry launched April 26 with a party at SKY Waikiki. The group, Hospitality’s Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs, is a committee of Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association.

“In any young professionals’ group, it is always great for people within a community to get to know each other – in a business setting, but also more in just a social setting – and build those relationships,” says HLTA director of communications and special projects Alexandra Roth. “And we want to make sure that that happens in our industry.”

HYPE was created by HLTA president and CEO Mufi Hannemann. Roth, along with HLTA director of government and community affairs Jared Higashi, serves on the group’s advisory board, which is rounded out by a team of 11 other professionals in the hospitality industry.

The initiative seeks to bolster the careers of up-and-comers in the hospitality industry with a range of activities: networking mixers, educational seminars, guest-speaking sessions and more. The goal, as the advisory board sees it, is to not only to help individuals climb the corporate ladder, but also to rally around the industry in general. There are government funded courses in melbourne that aid individuals looking to get into hospitality and events like these are a great way to get further insights into the industry.

“It’s an opportunity to really engage the young minds of our industry – and, of course, the industry touches almost everyone here locally,” Higashi says.

On a larger scale, HYPE board members hope that cultivating future talent and getting young people engaged in the industry can help slow the brain drain.

“It’s ensuring that those who are up and coming here in Hawaii aren’t going to leave Hawaii,” Higashi explains. “It’s very important that we keep our aspiring leaders here to help flourish our Hawaii economy.”

“We want to make sure that (young leaders) are not going somewhere else to find other job opportunities – because there is a lot of opportunity within our own market,” says Michelle Calanog, an account manager at and a HYPE advisory board member.

HYPE is open to anyone 40 and under in any position at an HLTA member company. Other young professionals are welcome to attend HYPE events for an additional fee.

“When we are working together, we want to make sure that we feel connected to the other people that we are working with,” Roth says. “That is something that we really care about – is to form these relationships and do business with aloha, rather than just being all business, all the time.”