HONOLULU, HAWAII (May 6, 2008) - Hawaii remains a popular destination for the Japanese, according to Dave Erdman, president and CEO of PacRim Marketing Group, Inc. His company notes a trend of increasing interest in traveling to Hawaii in Japan, evident by a record number of downloads of the Japanese language Official Hawaii Podcast and by the "buzz" in the Japanese media.
Downloads of The Official Hawaii Podcast, a weekly, 20-minute audio show recorded in Japanese and downloadable on computers, cell phones, and other digital palm devices for free at www.hawaiipodcast.jp, spiked sharply in March and April to more than 20,000 per month. Prior to that, the Podcast was being downloaded an average of 14,000 times per month.
"In part, this is due to iTunes Music Store running a storefront campaign for travel podcasts," said Erdman, "but also there is a renewed interest in traveling to Hawaii in Japan."
Japanese publications, television and radio programs are focusing on how this is a good time to go to Hawaii, Guam, or the U.S. Mainland because of the weak U.S. dollar. "For example, Japan's popular daily paper, Nikkei Shimbun ran the headline, 'Hawaii iki yasuku,' meaning, 'it's easy to go to Hawaii,' Erdman said. "The Nikkei article went on to report about a 34-year-old office lady who had planned a domestic trip to see the cherry blossoms, but was considering to go to Hawaii instead."
All of this is positive news for those marketing to the increasing number of tech savvy Japanese who are receptive to using "new media," such as podcasts, to gather information.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Online Marketing Manager, Christopher Wieners, agrees: "Our sponsorship of the Official Hawaii Podcast puts us in front of a captive audience that desires to learn more about the destination without having to hear a sales pitch. The content we have provided has been instrumental in attracting Japanese guests to our new outlets and exciting programs."
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is the Podcast's inaugural Grand Sponsor; other sponsors include the Outrigger Hotel and Marriott Hotel groups.
About Official Hawaii Podcast:
Already podcasting its 36th episode, the Official Hawaii Podcast is the most popular travel related podcast in Japanese on iTunes. It was launched in August 2007 by Orbitune, Inc., NickKong Enterprises, Inc., and PacRim Marketing Group, Inc.
The most recent podcast features ukulele (Tips for Ukulele) by Herb Ota Jr. Other popular content on the Official Hawaii Podcast has included Angela Maki's marathon reports, Hawaiian Fire surf tips, Hawaiian Gourmet dining reports, and musical features and interviews with Amy Hanaiali'i, Raiatea, John Cruz, Brothers Cazimero and more. Celebrities such as Roy Yamaguchi and Malani Bilyeu have also appeared. The Podcast is hosted by Akira Okada, a popular Japanese radio personality in Tokyo, and Yuki Hata, also popular with Japanese FM audiences. Most of the music is provided by Mountain Apple Company, in partnership with Official Hawaii Podcast owners.
The Podcast can be downloaded from http://www.hawaiipodcast.jp/, the primary portal to the Official Hawaii Podcast, or from links found on the Hawaii No Arukikata website, (http://www.hawaii-arukikata.com), the largest Japanese commercial web site about Hawaii, which receives 2.8 million views per month. New episodes of the Official Hawaii Podcast are available every Friday morning at 6 o'clock Japan time and Thursday mornings at 11 o'clock, Hawaii Standard Time. Subscribers receive a download automatically. All downloads of the Official Hawaii Podcast are free of charge.
About Orbitune, Inc:
With its roots firmly in the Japanese broadcast industry, Orbitune has evolved into one of that country's preeminent new media channel and content creation and delivery companies. In addition to supplying countless programs and broadcast services to FM stations nation - wide, Orbitune has become a "narrowcasting specialist", delivering in-store audio to 8,500 Lawson stores via satellite 24-hours per day as well as providing HMV, Japan's in-store signal. As a podcast creator, Orbitune produces one of Japan's most successful downloadable daily programs, the Yomiuri (Shimbun's) News Podcast, a 20 minute digest of the morning newspaper and has scored major success and acclaim with the Nikkei/TOEIC podcast.
Founded in 1991, the Orbitune team brings together some of Japan's most experienced and creative voice and production talent, united in passion for what great audio-based media can do for clients and listeners alike. Orbitune prides itself on its ability to apply creativity to real business needs and opportunities, combining innovation and customization with real-world practicality. For more information, go to http://www.orbitune.com.
About NickKong Enterpises, Inc.:
Longtime Island broadcaster and Hawaiian radio DJ icon for the Japanese market, Kamasami Kong brings over 30 years of experience of introducing Hawaii to Japan via radio waves. Kong's longstanding relationships with the Hawaiian music and entertainment industries and unique understanding of Japanese audiences provide invaluable creative input to the Hawaii Podcast.
Kong has been active in radio since 1965 with his most notable success coming in Hawaii from stations such as KKUA and KIKI and in Japan on FM Yokohama and Osaka powerhouse FM 802. Currently, Kong is doing a variety of programs on the JFN network; a jazz program on TOKYO - FM sponsored by the Tokyo Cotton Club and a weekly syndicated program called the "KAMASAMI KONG SHOW" which is prerecorded and heard on FM stations throughout Japan. He is also the producer and host for a weekly podcast that he brainstormed for METROPOLIS magazine and produces in conjunction with Orbitune called the "Tokyo MetPod." (http://www.kamasamikong.com)