Taking Flight: Virgin America and Airbnb’s Hawaii Launch Event

Our event planning and production abilities recently took flight with Virgin America’s Hawaii Launch Event, celebrating its inaugural flight from San Francisco to Honolulu. Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson was among 130 passengers and celebrities who landed at the Honolulu International Airport on November 2 on a brand new Airbus A320 jet.  In addition to creating a Virgin America branded welcome reception on the tarmac, we were also tasked with creating a memorable, evening event for those same Guests and community leaders who assisted in bringing Virgin America to Hawaii.  For this event, Virgin America partnered with Airbnb and the party ambience took a fun twist that creatively aligned the brands of both companies and playfully celebrated what makes Hawaii special.

Layover at Lanikai: Shoes, optional

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Layover at Lanikai- Shoes, optional

Layover at Lanikai- Shoes, optional 2
One of Hawaii’s most iconic shots is of the Mokulua Islands in Lanikai. These islands were the backdrop for this special event at a private beachside estate. Guests were greeted with lei and a specialty cocktail and invited to trade in their shoes for ubiquitous slippers at the ‘Slippah Valet’ station. Guests also visited “Da Post Office,” where they were able to send well wishes to friends and family near and far.

A Royal Welcome by Sea

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A Royal Welcome by Sea 1
A conch shell signaled the exciting highlight of the night down near the beach. An outrigger sailing canoe, complete with Virgin sail, was coming to shore. On board was none other than Sir Richard Branson. He received a royal welcome that included traditional kahili, a symbol of the aliʻi chiefs and families of the Hawaiian Islands.

Stepping Back in Time

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Stepping Back in Time 1
Tasked with interweaving Hawaii’s local culture into a hands-on experience, we incorporated a number of locally loved experiences. Let’s just say, it’s not every day that Guests get to experience poi pounding, lei making and basket weaving with the guidance of revered local artisans.

A Contemporary Interpretation
From Hawaii entertainment to locally sourced food and beverages to one-of-a-kind décor, great care was taken to ensure each element was special, unique and above all, a favorite amongst Hawaii’s locals. This extended to our contemporary spin on the informal seating one would experience at a traditional Hawaiian luau, sure, we used lauhala matting then we set out giant oversized pillows for seating placed around a surfboard styled table with a Virgin America plane blended in with simply styled tropical centerpieces.

A Contemporary Interpretation 2
Current Affairs sound-scaped the long oceanfront space so that at any time, a zone could be freed up for a cherished musician, like Paula Fuga, to pop up and sing to the sound of her ukulele or for partygoers to experience contemporary beats spun by DJ Godiva.
As we bid farewell to another successful event, we look to the horizon for our next adventure. Whether it’s sky high or land bound, contact us to see how we can make your next event a soaring success.

Philip Richardson