Aqua Hotels launches pair of edgy promotions

HONOLULU Aqua Hotels & Resorts has rolled out a pair of promotions that are as clever as they are edgy.

The first promotion plays off the conspiracy theory—driven by Donald Trump and others—that U.S. President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, which would make him ineligible to be president. After Obama released his birth certificate last month, Aqua took the opportunity to gain some publicity with a “Show Us Your Papers” promotion, offering 15% off to guests who present their birth certificates upon check-in at three of its properties.

“We’re all relieved to learn that the whole President Obama birth certificate dispute is thankfully over,” reads a promotional statement on the Aqua website. “In celebration of no longer having to bear witness to the rants and raves of certain ‘comb-over aficionados’ who shall remain nameless, we’re offering a 15% discount now through August 4, 2011 to anyone who presents their birth certificate at check-in at any Aqua managed property in Waikiki, Maui, Kauai and Molokai. Whether you’re American, Icelandic, Egyptian, Kenyan, whatever, bring your certificate of birth (long form or otherwise) and it’s like your instant discount coupon.”

Aqua is even extending the offer to guests traveling with pets, honoring the discount for pet registration forms.

The second promotion takes aim at the growing number of hotel companies that are charging mandatory daily resort fees. Highlighting the fact that Aqua charges no such fee, its “WTF Contest” invites members of the public to log onto a dedicated website to describe how they would spend the money saved from not paying a resort fee while on vacation. The winning submission, as voted on by other users, will receive a US$500 gift card and a five-night stay at an Aqua property.

The WTF Contest is notable for its use of mildly abrasive language. The acronym WTF is commonly used to shorten a profane phrase in which the first two words are “What the,” but in this case the letters stand for “What’s this fee?” Additionally, the dedicated microsite for the promotion is