A Case Study: Coco Palm Saint Lucia Business Boost

Picture of CHTA Communications

CHTA Communications


A Case Study: Coco Palm Saint Lucia Business Boost

Written by Avvio 

As part of its continued growth in North America and the Caribbean, hotel tech provider Avvio has been working with the team at Saint Lucia destination hotel Coco Palm, and they’re creating some impressive results. Avvio started providing services to the luxury hotel in 2017 and in just over three months the revenue had grown by more than 25 per cent – equal to the level of growth achieved over 12 months before the Avvio system was implemented.

Managing director Mark Ferguson made the decision to review the booking platform, digital profile and overall marketing activity with the objective of maximising the hotel’s visibility, sales potential and direct bookings. Originally from Southampton in the UK, Mark has been at the helm of the award-winning hotel for over a year having previously worked for the Sandals brand, Caribbean Premier League T20 Cricket and several UK based hotels.

He explains why they initially looked to Avvio: “We chose Avvio as a partner for a number of reasons. It was important to us that they place a high priority on customer relationships as that reflects our working culture here at Coco Palm. I also wanted a robust training and support package and they have really collaborated with us on this.

“We opted for a gradual integration approach across the business as part of the roll-out strategy. We didn’t want to overwhelm everyone with a sudden switch to a new system. We went for a measured install process with tailored product updates and this has really enhanced the business.

“Before we worked with Avvio we relied on direct links from Expedia which meant a referral cost of 22%. Now we’re generating $200k through the Avvio platform, with a fractional acquisition cost to us and we’re also seeing an increase in overall business.

“We’re focused on growing our online profile to generate more direct business. In the past we couldn’t always determine if we had a web booking or whether it was via a third-party portal, now we can accurately track our bookings sources.

“Avvio also manages the digital space for us, to enhance our online profile. We’re really seeing a tangible uplift every month. That frees up time for me and the team to proactively manage our OTA expenditure, and discover how activity is generating direct bookings back into the business. Our average daily rate and occupancy rates have seen strong growth and an incredible increase of 295 per cent in direct revenue YTD (May 2018) compared to year end 2017.”

Avvio handles the PPC strategy and implementation, SEO management, Coco Palm’s website and integration with OTAs and third-party referral sources. The next stage of the partnership will see the hotel using Allora, Avvio’s unique AI booking engine which will provide each website visitor with a unique and personalised booking experience.

Coco Palm is a resort hotel situated in the beautiful area of Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. It boasts two restaurants and a range of spa and leisure facilities with 103 bedrooms. The business employs over 150 staff, with the average length of the management team’s service in the hotel of 10 years.

“The hotel’s future is exciting. We’re planning a room refurbishment programme by the end of the year and we have also invested in the remodeling of the lobby and reception area together with a new business centre launch planned. With Avvio as a key strategic partner we are really clear on our future focus,” says Mark.

“Business performance this year is really positive. We’re full for the carnival already and an area of focus for us is in attracting the Saint Lucia diaspora as a ‘coming home’ destination.

“We’re working closely with Avvio to drive repeat business and guest loyalty, along with making Coco Palm a destination of choice for leisure and business travelers who choose to visit our beautiful island. We really do have something for everyone from lush rainforests, incredible beaches, water activities and a huge range of events and entertainment for everyone. It’s a great place to live and work and I now call Saint Lucia home.”