Building a Better Tour

Tour Operator Talk: Behind the Scenes with Caribbean Boat Charter Business in Antigua, CocoVibes

Post by
Samantha Hardcastle

October 5, 2021

Tour Operator Talk: Behind the Scenes with Caribbean Boat Charter Business in Antigua, CocoVibes

In our newest series, we interview Junglebee customers from around the world to hear their story and find out what their secrets are to success! Join us as we pull back the curtain and learn from fellow tour & activity business owners who have optimized their operations and know how to make travelers happy. First up in our series: CocoVibes, a private boat charter business in Antigua. 

The CocoVibes Story: Sustainable Fun & Play in the Caribbean 

"It was a fateful meeting under a coconut tree - one that blossomed into new love, life, and business. Our logo tells our story - a family of three, anchored to an island surrounded by good vibes and the sea we love so dearly." 

Captain George was born in Antigua and raised in the British Virgin Islands, making him a veteran of island life. A certified mechanic by trade, he has been working on boats, jetskis, and other motor vehicles for the past 22 years. His passion for the ocean and being on the water led him to become Captain of his own boat. Captain George has now been expertly guiding boat tours around Antigua for over 6 years. Having explored Antigua throughout his life, he has scouted his favorite spots and now loves getting to share them with others. Captain George is well-known for his experience, knowledge, and sense of humor - but really, he's just all good vibes. 

Passionate about travel & tourism, sustainability, and the ocean, this former teacher has been behind the scenes of the biz; building the brand and managing bookings. When she's not working, she's snorkeling Antigua's reefs, hiking, and learning with Captain George and Brittney's 3-year-old, Captain Kai.

Together, they built an experience that offers both fun and knowledge. The goal is for the guests to have an AMAZING time, whatever that looks like for them (each experience is custom-tailored); as well as learn about the local culture, history, and very importantly to our team, the environment. CocoVibes hopes to raise awareness about the importance of our marine ecosystems and species, such as coral reefs and mangroves. It's fun, with impact and meaning behind it. 

The Secrets to Their Tour Success: Service, Personality, Relationships & Systems

1. Customer Service: We make sure every guest is well taken care of and we go above and beyond to offer advice about Antigua they can use during their stay. Each charter is customized to their interests, we allow them to play their own music if they choose, we ask for their beverage preferences beforehand and make sure they're catered to every step of the way. This level of service is strongly reflected in our reviews - people love having the day specially tailored to them. 

2. Personality: After working with an amazing tourism experience coach (The Storied Experience), we learned to capitalize on our story, culture and personality in order to sell a more clearly defined, impactful experience. We implemented more sensorial experiences (think local fruits), amped up the storytelling, and zeroed in on the personality we wanted to portray. This has brought more guests our way who are looking for the exact experience we offer and has resulted in more memorable charters. 

3. Relationships & Systems: Building relationships with hotel managers and booking agents was key to ensure a consistent influx of charters. We also saw a huge increase in direct bookings when we started using Junglebee, as guests can now book and pay for their charter super easily

How They Plan to Make the Most of 2022 & Top Advice for Fellow Tour Operators

We're trying to prepare the best we can for the unexpected. We learned that lesson the hard way in 2020/2021, with random government shutdowns of tour businesses and delays in getting essential boat parts. This summer we were extremely busy, which meant being organized was essential, including scheduling enough time in between charters for proper sanitization and protocols. We're thinking flexibility is key!

Our best advice for others in this industry: take a deeper look at what you're offering - travel has changed since the pandemic and travelers are looking for more unique, memorable and personality-filled experiences. AND, given the times, plan ahead if you can. Running into supply shortages or backlogs on ordered parts can put a strain on business. 

What They Love about Junglebee

Junglebee has made managing our charters SO much easier - from the website platform to the back-end booking dashboard and automatic email reminders for guests. Since we operate customized charters, we love that we can input custom bookings with different start times, pricing and number of guests. This allows us to keep our offerings flexible when needed, which is awesome. 

What We Love Most about CocoVibes

Brittney & Captain George are a dynamic duo, and the rave reviews on Tripadvisor tell us that we’re not alone in being their biggest fans. It’s clear right from the beginning that CocoVibes is about more than just sightseeing. We love the way they weave in the local cultural story and give travelers a permission slip to ‘free up yourself’ from life’s burdens. This genuine care for their customers is clear from the moment you arrive on their website.

But their caring sentiment extends far beyond the customers, to the entire ecosystem of Antigua and the Caribbean. Click here to read an article Brittney wrote on the importance of coral reefs for Caribbean tour operators. This sort of effort is exactly what sets them apart as more and more travelers become aware of overtourism, sustainability, and the long-term effects of society’s actions. 

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