Owner meeting at the Ala Moana Hotel
Aunty attended the 2017 Ala Moana Hotel Condominium Annual Meeting yesterday, very curious to hear from the new owners from the Mantra Group, and to talk story with fellow owners. After the meeting, an Owners’ Forum is held, and following that, an after meeting party in the room next door with food, music, and drinks.
There are 1100 rooms, 90% of which are owned by people like Aunty, who rent them out using the hotel pool management (with a very steep 60% management fee). The rest of the owners either live there, use outside property management companies or self manage/clean/book the rooms themselves.
Tip of the day
Sue Savio spoke about the insurance that the hotel provides. We are in good hands, except she spoke about each owner’s need to contact their insurance agent and purchase HO6 insurance for our units – which will cover loss of income if a disaster causes our rooms to be unable to book. At $175 – $200 per year, this is indeed a great piece of advice for anyone who has rental income. Mahalo Sue!
Aunty at bat
There are 6 directors, representing apartment classes. Five of these directors are pre-determined by the hotel owners (Mantra Group), and the only one that unit owners can vote or run for is the Hotel Apartment Class, even though the nominee for that position had also been pre-determined by the hotel. This is very confusing to Aunty, who was edged on by Babs, her neighboring seat mate, to run for the director position. No way did Aunty want to be a director, but Aunty was assured that even if everyone in the room voted for Aunty, she still wouldn’t get in. It would be a testing of the controls that have been in place, so with nothing to lose except a bit of embarrassment. Aunty accepted the nomination, did a short little introductory speech, and ran against the incumbent-already-chosen director, and lost. Very badly. The incumbent had 26% of the votes, Aunty had 3%. Humble pie that didn’t taste too bad since it wasn’t something that she wanted, though the results were even more confusing.
Another owner asked for hard numbers rather than percentages. There were about 70 owners in the room, we each had a paper ballot that had the names of the two candidates, and 3% would have represented only 2 votes for Aunty. The presiding officer declined to give hard numbers, insisting that percentages were the only gauge to be reported and used for determination of results. Babs was right – no one except the one pre-chosen by the board would be elected to represent the owners. Interesting, and rather sad.
Aunty bats again
Minutes of the previous annual meeting were approved, an auditor was appointed, a resolution regarding rolling over account balances to the following year was passed, and another election for Class Committee Elections were held. Again, committee members of 5 classes were already pre-determined and made up of directors already on the board. The 6th class was the Hotel Apartment Class, and Aunty, Babs, and a nice young man named Kamil were nominated, and by default (3 positions and only 3 nominees) elected to the committee.
Why did Aunty run? Not sure, but it will be an interesting year of possible frustration or revelations. Committees have no voting power or say in hotel decisions. We do not get paid, except maybe we are fed at the quarterly meetings. Mantra Group could be an improvement over the old hotel owners, Outrigger. Hopefully so.
Start with connecting
One of the elements missing with hotel unit owners is communication. Babs has started an email/contact list and has asked that her contact info be posted on the newsletters that go out to all the owners. Feedback, concerns, criticisms, as well as appreciation can be gathered and presented as a voice of the owners. The owner base is a mix of local, mainland, and international people. Some owners live in their units, some stay for a few months and then rent it out the rest of the year. Most of us rent it out with occasional stays (that are free for us). 1000 potential new acquaintances, each with their own story. Quite fascinating, yes?
The after the meeting party was quite nice. A great time to eat, drink, and meet people. Willee of the Owner’s Relations Dept was there, the effervescent Suzanne Alawa of the AOAO, and an old high school classmate in charge of catering, Candace Fujioka, was a surprise meet. The food spread was just right, and as Aunty started delving into grabbing a wonderful looking mini pot pie commemorating the new Hawaii/Australia partnership (Mantra Group is based in Australia), a text from #1 daughter asked about feeding the family dog since she would be out until later.
Dog comes first
Bummers, Aunty could not mingle and eat, but did manage to take home the cute little pot pie with Hawaiian and Australian flags, a bag of macadamia nuts, and a delicious little fruit tart. It was all ono.
That and the meeting left a good taste in Aunty’s mouth and heart. The new ownership of the Ala Moana Hotel will be good for us and good for them. And that, as Martha Stewart likes to say, is a good thing.