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Making plans the Outrigger way: INTERVIEW

A possible return to Australia, a $200 million investment plan…and our love of Vegemite! These were just some of the topics discussed when Traveltalk sat down with Sean Dee, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Outrigger, during their Global Showcase.


It’s been four years since Outrigger sold their four Australian properties to Accor. Is there a chance you might return Down Under?

We’re actively engaged in looking at properties – our CEO was just in Brisbane – so it’s definitely on our short list. We have just got to make sure the deal makes sense, but I would expect to see an Outrigger resort flag here within 12 months.

Australia, North America and Japan, as well as additional properties in Hawaii, are where we’re looking to expand the Outrigger brand.


There are big plans ahead for Outrigger, now you’re owned by KSL Capital Partners.

The intent is a $200 million overall enhancement plan to our Waikiki properties, starting with a complete $35 million renovation of Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger.

Every element of the property has been re-imagined and the feedback has been great so we can’t wait to debut it to the world. It’s a time of re-invention in Waikiki and we’re excited to be part of that.

We’ve had a long reputation for a great service culture, authenticity and understanding local culture. This is a great opportunity for us to not only get the new product into the market but in fact lead the market once again.



What kind of experience are you going to get at an Outrigger property?

Our goal is to be the premier beach resort brand in the world. It’s pretty ambitious for a small, regional hospitality company but it’s really galvanised the whole organisation.

When you stay with us you’re going to be in a tremendous location in an iconic destination with world-class hospitality. But at the end of the day our aim is to deliver the most authentic local hospitality that we can, which we do through culture, values and often through music.

There are a lot of properties on the beach, but what sets us apart is something we call ‘The Outrigger Way’. It’s a value-based hospitality model that promotes a balance between caring for the host, caring for the guests and caring for the place.


Talking of guests, how do you view your Australian visitors?

We love having Australians at our properties – a quarter of the quests we have at Outrigger Waikiki are Aussies, but we see big numbers at all of our properties. 

We’ve added Voyager 47 club lounges to both of the beachfront properties – Outrigger Reef and Outrigger Waikiki - and we now serve Vegemite for breakfast along with two local beers on tap. The club lounges have been extremely popular with our Australian travellers.


It sounds like an exciting time to be working for Outrigger.

It’s never dull! With our new ownership we now have some capital to deploy to enhance our existing product and also to expand the brand. The Outrigger brand has been around 71 years and it’s my role to be the steward for the next period of time.


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 2 May 2019

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