From the seriously sports-minded to the hopeless romantic, this 74-room boutique resort located on the island of Malakal has made an art out of catering to an international clientele. From world-class scuba diving, to the largest lagoon swimming pool in Palau, to the Hungry Marlin’s tasty Tiger Shrimp Tempura, Cove brings the best of island adventure to all who visit.
“We need to maintain an authentic experience while expanding that experience. SHR is helping us get there the right way, in our own time.”
—Matt Wakley, General Manager Cove Resort Palau
Ask Matt Wakley to describe Cove’s overall vibe, and he’ll tell you it’s an intentionally relaxed pace. Yet when it came to hotel tech, it’s that very pace that was holding his team back. “We were using manual spreadsheets, offering only three room-types, no real packages, and were barely visible on one OTA,” he explained. “With our core market of 70-80% seasoned divers, we were getting by. But I knew we needed to reach out for the best chance at real growth.” And that would mean embracing technology.
Serving mostly travelers from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan due to limited airline availability, plus growing local competition, Matt needed the ability to compete on a new level. This is where connecting to the GDS came in. “Honestly, I didn’t believe GDS would make any difference, and thought it would be a total waste of time,” he said. “But Esther, our SHR rep, kept gently pushing. So, I gave her three months to prove me wrong.”
Since hooking up to the GDS via Windsurfer, there have been meaningful changes; going from three room types to ten and also expanding from Expedia out to Booking.com and beyond. “We’ve opened up many new roads into booking guests via the GDS, which helps to create a more stable occupancy level, and ultimately, a higher ADR,” said Matt.
Two bonuses Matt didn’t envision with Windsurfer? Ease of use and dedicated support. “That’s led to a smoother shift into everything we’re trying to do,” he said. “With the slower pace of tech adoption in this region, we’ve got to have an intuitive system, and someone helping us every step of the way. Esther is our implementations, tech support, and head cheerleader all rolled into one.”
Three years into their relationship with SHR, Matt and Cove are looking forward to what lies ahead. Existing in such a unique location means that a reliable, solid partnership built on trust is key. “We’re taking baby steps, and that’s the best way for us,” Matt explained. “We’ve conquered the GDS and room types. Now that we’re rebuilding our website, we’ll move on to building packages, getting into add-ons, and working on an even better Agoda connection. With SHR just a phone call away, we’ve got no worries.”