The Kupuna and the hotelier: Perpetuating and sharing the culture

Local culture in hotels: What does this mean, and more importantly for us hoteliers, what does it mean for the destinations we operate in?

The Merriam-Webster definition of “culture” is the beliefs, customs, arts, etc. of a particular society, group, place or time. For those that follow my blog regularly, culture and capturing an authentic sense of place is a key focus for our resorts and one that I’m very passionate about.

In the almost six years now that I have lived on the Island of Lana’i, I have witnessed a strong resurgence of the diverse culture and practices come to life. Each year brings a new festival or cultural event that vibrantly demonstrates an aspect of Hawaii’s beautiful and storied culture. Through caring partners, we have been able to help support, preserve, perpetuate and share the aloha spirit for all to enjoy, understand and appreciate.

As hoteliers in culturally rich destinations —from Lana’i to Baku to Bali and beyond — it’s essential to identify and appreciate the rich culture that surrounds you and develop trusting relationships with revered elders — or, as we say in Hawaii, Kupuna — to help the hotel play a part in keeping the story alive and well among the visitors to the destination. For example, here in Lana’i, we will welcome back the Ho`okupu Hula No Lâna‘i Cultural Festival October 4-5. This unique festival, which joins together hula halau from around the world influenced by the strong Hawaiian culture, is complimentary to everyone interested in joining. Similar to all of our cultural festivals on Lana’i — such as the Annual Ukulele Festival, Slack Key Festival or Festivals of Aloha — the goal is to preserve, perpetuate and share. It’s about giving back to the community, sharing the culture with our guests and capturing an authentic sense of place that will live on for generations to come.

Take a look at your community calendar and see how you can contribute — whether it is offering a special accommodations rate to help welcome visitors during that time, utilizing your public relations or media channels to promote the events or volunteering your and your employees’ time. 

Your Kupuna — and your community — will thank you.