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A Hawaii-based travel agent is a finalist in the 2010 Trendsetters Awards presented by TravelAge West Magazine. Bruce Fisher is one of only two finalists in the category of Travel Agent Superstar, which recognizes an agent’s ability to generate sales despite the odds. Bruce is co-owner of Hawaii-Aloha.com, along with his wife Yaling Yu Fisher.
The Trendsetters Awards will be presented as part of a black-tie WAVE Awards Gala on June 10 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, California. Fisher will be either a Trendsetter Award winner or runner-up. The prize for the award winner is a seven-night Caribbean cruise for two provided by Celebrity. The runner up prize from Royal Caribbean is a seven-night Mexican Riviera Cruise for two.
The prize is awarded based on sales over the past year. Industry wide, travel was down as much as fifty percent during that time, with Hawaii hit especially hard. Fisher says his business was also down but only by about fifteen percent from the previous year.
During 2009, Fisher launched an iPhone application for the Hawaii-Aloha.Com Travel blog, which he has published over the past five years. Additionally, the pair have been producing a podcast for five years and in 2008 began streaming the show live twice a week during which they discuss Hawaii vacation news and deals, Hawaii trends and a topic of the day, such as top snorkeling spots or what to do with a jellyfish bite. Fisher says 150-200 people watch live each time, although viewership is higher for special events. His coverage of the LOST premier in Hawaii drew thousands of viewers worldwide. Fisher also went live from his office studio as the tsunami approached in February wearing a life vest as hundreds of people watched.
“I’m always looking to make it easier for customers to interact with us,” Fisher says. Hawaii-Aloha.com was one of the first travel websites to use live interactive chat and when VOIP technology became available in 2001 he added that to the website making it possible for customers and agents to connect real time with voice. HAT has now grown to 14 agents, all located in Hawaii. All agents must have been born and raised on Hawaii, or have spent most of their lives here. Bruce has lived in Hawaii for 19 years and Yaling for 11.
Fisher says he is honored and humbled to be an award finalist and hopes it inspires others to work hard and keep their dreams alive. “Even in the toughest times, people travel and enjoy themselves,” Fisher says. “We help people have fun. It’s the best job in the world.”