Hawai’i’s restaurants, banquets, special events, and weddings sectors have been subject to changing State and County rules during the pandemic and continue to operate with limited capacity and COVID-19-related constraints. This segment has faced additional challenges due to its dependence as well as collaboration with other tourism sectors such as lodging, transportation, and air service. Please join us for our conversation with industry leaders to discuss the impacts and opportunities of the pandemic; managing capacity, adjusting for the new county tiers, and your questions!
Moderator: Josette Murai, Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau (HVCB), Convention Services Manager
|Josette Murai manages convention services for HVCB’s corporate, meetings and incentives division. She joined HVCB in March 2008 from the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa where she was catering sales manager. Murai’s responsibilities are supporting the destination travel needs of convention groups utilizing HVCB’s services and assisting with sales and marketing activities. Murai has been working in the travel industry for over 20 years. A graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is a member of the National Association for Catering & Events and the current chapter immediate past-president.|
|Tony Castillo is the General Manager for 53 By The Sea, a premier fine dining restaurant and events and wedding venue. In 2014, Ocean Investments, the managing company of 53 by the Sea, invited Tony to change the culture of their F&B team, and Tony rose to the challenge. Tony is a University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate and has over 23 years of experience in the restaurant industry, centered on managing fine-dining establishments. His fine-dining management experience started in 2011 with a 5-year span at Alan Wong’s restaurant. He also worked for Charly Yoshida at the Stage restaurant and Amuse wine bar.|
|Jill Easley is the owner and designer of two event companies, Easley Designs and Love & Honesty. She has been the floral coordinator at thousands of weddings, being featured in Latoya Jacksons’ engagement, Rock the Troops, and Elizabeth Smart’s wedding for which her work made the cover of People Magazine. Her new company, Love & Honesty is the brain child of Jill and former senator Brickwood Galuteria. After the year that the industry has gone through, Jills new company, Love and Honesty, is filling a need in the event and wedding industry with a source to showcase talents in one place.|
|Stuart Y. Kotake is Complex Associate Director of Catering and Event Management for Kyoya Hotels at the Marriott Wakiki Complex. He is responsible for selling and servicing catered functions and servicing convention groups at four Waikiki properties. Prior to Marriott, Stuart worked in Food and Beverage for the Kahala Hotel and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and was recognized at Disney with the Partner in Excellence award as a cast member upholding the highest standards and values.|
|Greg Maples is Chairman of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, and Vice President of Restaurant Services for the Polynesian Cultural Center. He worked for Jack in the Box restaurants for 15 years, serving as a District Manager, Area Manager, Regional Franchise Consultant and VP of operations in Nashville TN. He also owned and operated 80 Sonic Drive-In’s in 7 states. Greg served in the United States Marine Corps for six years. Has a Bachelors in Business and an MBA. Greg is married with six children, three boys and three girls, and 12 grandchildren, six boys and six girls. He is also a 3 time Ironman triathlon finisher.|
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