The Village Coconut Island
Seeking the brand strength, lighting up the value
Throughout twelve years in business competing with over two thousand hospitality services in Thailand’s most intensively touristic province, The Village Coconut Island Resort has had little struggle to fill its occupancy up to 90% in any season. Being the largest resort on Koh Ma-prao or Coconut Island, Phuket province, the resort has taken advantage from special deals with tour groups. Nevertheless, such advantage has yielded undesirable side effects of low customer loyalty and pricing that gives little profits, signaling serious challenges in maintaining a healthy financial progress for the business. The original selling points – reasonable room rates and friendly staff – have become gradually weightless in the modern market environment. Simplisis design team was then hired to seek the brand’s new strengths and achieve the clear differentiation of
Designing the narrative of identity
We began the design thinking from the resort’s name “The Village Coconut Island” which could already clearly reflects the physical appearance as a complex of tropical houses sprawling across an island filled with coconut trees. With such well-articulated attribute, we seized to increase the spirit of the place by emphasizing the characteristics of a village more vocally and attractively. From our cross-island survey, we discovered a local folklore about the founder of the island. The story goes that there was a fisherman who survived from a storm-sunken ship by holding on to a floating coconut and arrived eventually at this island. He then named the island Koh Ma-prao or Coconut Island.
We illuminated this ancestral tale by commingling the existing indigenous lifeway, the castaway’s sense of survival and the physical unveilings of the resort’s facilities. We employed scenes of island adventure as design concepts for different parts of the resort complex. These illustrative storylines determine comprehensive visual, behavioral, and experiential designs that appear throughout the evolution of the brand and the guest’s inspiriting journey. KABANG Restaurant, a beachside eatery, reverberates the traditional wisdom in habitat-building from locally found materials and the primal use of fire by human. KOKO Restaurant, a cave-like dining groove, inscribes the heritage of cuisine, harvest and food preservation. KAHTOR Island Wellness Spa echoes the folk philosophy of natural equilibrium to heal pains and cure diseases. Lastly, KUCINA Restaurant narrates the cultural fusion that rises with legion arrivals of island travelers from all walks of life.
The treasure in longstays
In improving the brand of The Village Coconut Island, the brand story is the key for success in unifying components of identity, instigating emotional impacts, and rising brand impression among target customers beyond the resort’s aspect of functionalities. The experience built from the brand story that is outrightly different from other resorts could add the sales value to the resort and its elemental facilities. It also helps encouraging guests to avail more resort’s facilities and services instead of simply staying in the guestrooms, resulting in increased revenue from vacationers, as well as promoting greater brand reputation.
As a hotel operating in a highly competitive landscape, we were in search of a company that could update and refresh our look, both through branding and redesign of our key facilities. When I first met with the Simplisis team I was sure that this was the company to work with. Their young and dynamic team were professional throughout the entire transformation, bringing ideas that only a younger team would dare to do. Their flexibility and drive to deliver was commendable considering they were working within a hotel that was fully operational. Since working on this original project at The Village Coconut Island, I have also always sought them out as the first option for all other works with the other companies I am part of. I am proud to have worked with them and to continue working with them long into the future.
The fisherman who survived on the abandoned island used his wisdom to build a place to live, simply so that he could rest for a while at the primary stage of being stranded on an island. He called the place, “Kabang” It’s a referring to the Morgan Sea Gypsy (the minority group lived in Andaman Sea; they have their own language and culture). Kabang means a boat, which is home for Morgan Sea Nomad.
The survivor tried to find wood and anything that could help him set up a fire and create some equip- ment specifically for catching fish because it was the only way for him to survive on the island.
After adjusting himself with the island environment, the fisherman went observing other area and found a cave that provides a hidden fresh water pond inside. So, he realized that he would survive on this abandoned island if he decided to move into the cave and started collecting foods and preserved some of them. He allocated the cave area and make it suitable for himself to live there perma- nently. The only entertainment he could give to himself was the herbal liquor that made by the raw material found on the island.
When living on the abandoned island, it required both physical and mental treatment. The biggest source of curing that was found on the island were the herbs, tree roots and other local ingrediants from nature. The body balance should be maintained continuously, so it became the inspiration of the design concept for Kahtor Spa. The word, Kahtor is a Morgan term for the Folk Healer.
When the fisherman was certain that the island had enough resources for humans to survive off, he started inviting people who passed this island to settle down with him on the island. It was the beginning of the know-how trading and tradition combination for all the islanders. And this initiated the design concept of the restaurant, Kucina which is the merging words between, Ku (Morgan language means friend) and Cucina, (Italian language meaning a cooking method).