New client: Mission Burrito

From Mexico to Oxford via San Francisco, Mission Burrito is the scrumptious foodie lovechild of Jan and Sharon. Born from their travels but bred here in Oxford, they’ve now got restaurants in Oxford, Reading, Birmingham, Bristol and Bath.

We’re delighted to be working with their vibrant brand, and delicious Mexican-dishes on a social media project for 2018 and 2019.

We’ve been hired for social media strategy and channel management to increase footfall and on-platform engagement. And we can’t wait to tuck in!

Back in my days in-house when we were based in Summertown my boss was an early fan of Mission Burrito in Oxford. While he left the internal comms and company meetings to me, he would often arrange for a delivery of burritos to arrive just in time for wrapping up the questions and ending on a high.

Mission Burrito attracts a broad audience thanks to its central location in the five cities it has stores. Our lunchtime observations recently taught us that native Mexicans, local office workers and students all saw appeal in the prospect of a lunchtime burrito, taco, rice box or salad box. And there’s the joy - there’s something for everyone, including vegetarians and vegans.

Whether you fancy a corporate catering order for your next team meeting, or need some external consultancy on handling your internal comms, let’s talk.

Original Cottages celebrates a year of successes

In August 2018, Norfolk based family business Cottage Holidays rebranded to Original Cottages. The objective of the move was to enhance its reputation as a uniquely independent and family owned business with a truly local offering across most regions of England and Wales.

Coconut PR started working with Cottage Holidays in April 2018 in the knowledge that there was an exciting shift ahead. Our pure PR remit has put us at the heart of the Original Cottages storytelling. We’ve secured national and regional press coverage alongside magazine and online media to regularly exceed our KPIs and support Original Cottages on its trajectory in the holiday rental marketplace.

Celebrating the first anniversary of its rebrand it has revealed the shift has helped drive:

  • 41% increase in bookings in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2017

  • 65% of bookings coming from new customers

  • 50% increase in advance bookings for 2019 versus advance bookings for 2018 this time last year

The business has also increased it's portfolio, now representing more than 4,600 holiday houses via its 21 in-destination agencies, including Good Life Lake District Cottages, Wales Cottages Holidays, Cornish Horizons and Best of Brighton.

Francisco Rosas, of Original Cottages, said: "In an increasingly competitive marketplace visibility of our portfolio and our truly local values was key. More effectively collating our properties under the Original Cottages brand has proven to be a rewarding move for all involved, reflecting the success of the business's new look and reach."

Original Cottages has successfully established itself as a competitive national holiday rental business. The family-run business prides itself on in-destination offices providing expert advice for holidaymakers and holiday home owners alike.

Marketing city centre venues - a case study

It’s easy to assume that city centre venues enjoy generous footfall. And that city centres like Oxford benefit from the additional peaks of tourists. But when your require your potential customers to look up to spot your signage and to step off the main drag to find your door, the challenge begins.

We began working with The Varsity Club (TVC) in March 2018 on an initial 3-month project to ramp up their brand awareness, primarily on social media channels. The results? Increases in website traffic and user interactions from social media, and a stream of B2B events using the venue for the first time.

The challenge and the brief

Oxford’s original rooftop bar, which had enjoyed some four years as Oxford’s only rooftop venue, suddenly found itself with competition. As Oxford’s much needed new shopping centre was completed it brought with the launch of a large handful of rooftop bars and restaurants.

Now in reality, The Varsity Club’s USP isn’t being challenged. Until Quod opens its roof terrace, it remains the only central rooftop venue. It’s also the only rooftop bar in Oxford with 360 degree views, not to mentioned heated seats and a retractable awning should the clouds misbehave. And then it’s got three more bars spread over three floors.

As with Oxford’s diverse and transient population, TVC’s customer base varies from tourists wanting to check out the view (not always accompanied by a beverage - cheeky!), students, after work drinkers and weekenders. Their Friday and Saturday nights are restricted to over-21s.

Remit: reach more of the local working population and get them through the door - for work and pleasure.

The approach

The Varsity Club’s social channels were under-loved and under-populated. This was a straightforward task of auditing the existing social media audiences and activity, getting our hands on some great imagery, and under the skin of a venue with four floors.

We crafted a social content calendar that factored in national awareness days, local Oxford events, key university dates and venue events including summer sessions, DJ nights and third party events hosted at TVC.

The results

Very quickly, thanks to the creation of quality content, curated content from customer visits, and timely posts, all the numbers went up.

  • increased website traffic from social channels by 193% within three months, despite a 58% increase in organic web traffic in the same period

  • specifically, although traffic from Instagram remains small, that's a 625% increase in traffic from that channel and a 160% increase in traffic from Facebook

  • total user interactions on Facebook more than doubled (to 4011 in May)

In addition to this social media success, we also successfully placed articles about TVC or secured placement for TVC in features and round-ups in national press and online glossies as well as Oxford media.

Can we help you too?

If any of these challenges sound familiar or outcomes sound desirable, drop us a line for a no obligation conversation.

Drinks PR: Twisting Spirits gin chinks up a gin-tastic first year of craft distilling


Winning the food and drink PR account for a newly launched craft gin distillery in the Chilterns was a summer's day dream come true.

Coconut worked with Twisting Spirits on a 9-month project from launch until they were too big for their distillery and need to buy somewhere bigger! That's a fairly resounding outcome, if ever there was one to pin on one of our most fascinating clients. 

Despite a general gin haze setting in across the UK drinks industry, Twisting Spirits shone for its award winning label design as much for its genuinely different gins. Two years of gin R&D produced three initial gins. All botanically driven and produced, literally, by twisting a hot distilled base gin with the cold distilled botanicals. No, not juniper led (which upsets some gin connoisseurs) but not 'flavoured' either. Just fascinating-on-the-palate gins.

In helping raise brand awareness and support sales, Coconut secured placement for Twisting Spirits in 32 pieces of coverage across online and print publications, and blogs. Christmas gift guides, Valentine's Day gift guides and Mother's Day gift guides we natural targets and achieved lead generating exposure. More icing on the gin-infused cake came as a result of ...

  • an in-depth and positive review on Gin Foundry

  • Susy Atkins' column in The Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine

  • Crumbs Magazine in a 'drinks for Christmas' round-up

  • Great British Food magazine's 'what we've been drinking' column

  • Country Life's 'best gins for Mother's Day' online round-up

  • National Geographic Food's 'a gin with a twist' article from Zane Henry

With a bigger distillery in the offing and R&D for a fourth gin in progress, there'll certainly be more gin times to come.

New client: Niche Retreats - a luxury travel launch from Original Cottages

Screenshot 2018-06-05 09.28.47.png

Original Cottages added a luxury travel collection to its fold of self-catering agencies with the launch of Niche Retreats and Coconut is delighted to be involved in PR'ing it!

Niche Retreats presents circa 200 UK holiday houses offering 'just a little luxury' and 'one of a kind' holiday accommodation. Every property is unique, the owners intentionally go the extra mile for their guests. These are no ordinary holiday cottages. But not all of them will break the bank either. 

This is a collection of holiday homes that other owners want to be a part of. Who wouldn't want their beautifully presented, carefully curate holiday house lined up against gorgeous properties like the one in the website screengrab above!

For Coconut the brand presents a swathe of property case studies, renovation stories, investment case histories and interiors inspiration. Come take a peek for yourself here

Website revamp for The Miller of Mansfield

Miller of Mansfield new website 2017

The Miller of Mansfield is home to two former Fat Duck Group team members, Mary & Nick Galer, who now bring their own comfort, sparkle and dazzle to the drink, food and sleep offering in sleepy Goring on Thames. Their previous website wasn't doing them justice.

What do you think of the new one?

We worked with Jo and co at Fork in the Road to create a series of templates that enabled an immersive digital experience for customers considering dinner, drinks or a night away.

There's lots to say about The Miller. As an 18th century coaching inn,  it's packed with character alongside 21st century comfort and design. But we wanted to move away from being a word driven site to a visually immersive website that first steered prospective guests into the warm welcome and great company ethos that Nick & Mary extol.

The new site went live in August 2017 and Mary's succinct response said it all:

" Love it ☺️"

The site was built in Wordpress using Elegant Themes by Darren and his team at Vatu.

Original Cottages - a rebrand for leading holiday rental marketplace player

Original Cottages is a travel and property PR client for Coconut PR an Oxfordshire travel and hospitality communications agency

We started working with The Original Cottage Company in spring 2017. Home to a giant handful of locally based self-catering agencies, their destination knowledge and passion for customer service is at their heart of their family-run ethos, but it was spread out across the brands, not represented at the core of the offering.

Their rebrand to Original Cottages in August brings all the local brands together under one hub brand with one set of values: local people and local knowledge in local places. And so Original Cottages was born reflecting the originality of the business's structure in the holiday rental sector and the real and friendly people within it alongside the trust factor of a business first founded in 1992.

Original Cottages is home to ~4,000 holiday homes in England and Wales. From the seaside summer holiday cottage for a 2.4 family to the oast houses and converted train carriages, and former manor houses now perfect for family celebrations. Yes, there's plenty of choice, but there's a guarantee that someone in the business knows the property, its setting, its locality and its owner really well.

We're delighted to be working with the Original Cottages portfolio across travel, lifestyle and property media. Must just find some time for a holiday...

This Jacobean gem joined the shy

Eynsham Hall - new client for Coconut PR, Oxfordshire travel and leisure PR agency

Just as we were revelling in the gloriously long days of a reasonably sunny summer (forget August, that's the new autumn), we joined forces with one of Oxfordshire's finest country house hotels: Eynsham Hall.

Plonked enviably in 3,000 acres of west Oxfordshire countryside, Eynsham Hall is a wedding venue as well as a meeting and conference venue, while beautifully fulfilling the idyll of Cotswold leisure breaks. 

Recently out the other side of a £2.5M refurbishment, the history of the place is heartwarming too. The estate was established in the 1700s by a gent of great wealth who wanted somewhere spectacular to entertain his chums. The Georgian home he built was replaced in the early 1900s by the ancestors of the current owners. Today, the hall's Elizabethan style architecture and Jacobean interiors of oak panelling and plasterwork ceilings are married with sympathetic yet eclectic design touches. 

As such it's a rather stately yet decidedly unstuffy. You'll have to be quick to secure one of the 34 Main Hall rooms that are as resplendent as your imagination may allow you to believe. But the contemporary design edge spreads into the Lodge rooms and even the conference suites. 

As Downton Abbey style wedding venues go, they're pretty close. For company off-sites and away days, teams will be refreshed by the edgy design and the no-slump lunches prepared by head chef Simon Bradley. Oh and then there's afternoon tea - you'll forget who won the jam-or-cream-first debate while you gaze in wonder at the creations teetering on the display.

Must be time for a glass of bubbles. If only to wash down those scones.

Budget half term activities in Cornwall


Whether you’re taking a holiday in Cornwall with the kids this half term, or you’re stuck at home wondering what to do with them today, we’ve got your back. 

The team at Cornish Traditional Cottages has crowdsourced its favourite free activities in Cornwall. In other words, we did a quick survey around the office and this is the list we came up with.

14 cheap days out with the kids in Cornwall

  1. Bude Canal was built to carry lime-rich sand from the coast out to inland farms for fertiliser. Nowadays, the canal is ‘in water’ from its fully functioning sea lock to the bottom of the first inclined plane. So you can’t navigate the whole original stretch of calm on the Devon-Cornwall border, but many of the bridges and wharf buildings remain for you to see. If the kids are studying the industrial revolution or the foundation of the inlands waterways, there’s plenty of takeaways here. History aside, there are beautiful towpaths to walk or ride your bikes along, in sound enough condition for the buggy too. You can hire bikes as well as canoes, kayaks and pedaloes to fill more than a day or water-based fun with the family. What a beautiful spot to have a go at coarse fishing too.
    Where to stay near Bude: The Old Dairy in Marhamchurch

  2. Mevagissey Harbour Aquarium is, perhaps most interestingly, housed in the old RNLI lifeboat house. Home to the aquarium since the 1950s, you can't miss this pale blue building perched on the harbour wall. It'll delight your ankle biters for long enough to shelter from a storm or appease the demands for more ice cream. They'll see a veritable mix of native, local sealife. There's also a 10 minute film dedicated to the pilchard fishining industry that's so valuable to the local community.
    Where to stay near Mevagissey: Giddy Up in Pentewan
  3. Siblyback Lake in Liskeard brings a whole new perspective on Cornwall holidays. Ditch images of sandcastles and ice cream. Pack your lycra, trainers and a waterproof. Be prepared to get active. Hire bikes (or segways for a more sedate, if wobbley, wander). Have a go at wakeboarding. This is a fun way for the family to see a more rural and active side to the county.
    Where to stay nearby: Slades Cottage in St Neots
  4. Cardinham Woods are protected and maintained by the Forestry Commission. That means, there are well maintained trails for cycling, running and horseriding. There are seasonal activities like the autumn activity trail to engage the whole family with their surroundings. And the perfect reward after a wander along their waymarked routes is the Wood Cafe with its neighbouring play area!
    Where to stay near Bodmin: Polventon Barn in Warleggan
  5. Kernow Chocolate Visitor Centre won't be tricky to persuade even the most objectionable of toddlers to explore. You might struggle to stop them licking the viewing window though if you refrain from the cafe for too long. Watch and learn how the expert chocolatiers produce this sought after Cornish produce. Then sample some in the cafe before buying some to take home (or eat in the car on the way back to your Wadebridge cottage).
    Where to stay: Atlantic View in Mawgan Porth
  6. Gwennap Pit is known as the natural amphitheatre. A hollow in the landscape thought to have been created by mining activities, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had a moment of genius when he saw it. Appreciative of its amazing natural acoustics he preached there time and again in the late 1700s. Nowadays, this sunken stage is used for a wonderful mix of weddings, theatrical events and retains its relationship with the Methodist Church. It's just one of many Mining World Heritage Sites across Cornwall, but it is a particular spectacle
    Where to stay near Redruth: Louie in Herniss
  7. Carn Euny Ancient Village packs in history of an archealogical nature. This English Heritage site is free of charge to visit, any time during daylight hours (how's that for flexible!). Just bring your wellies - you have to climb stiles and walk across farmland to reach it. Let your imaginations flow as you discover the foundations of houses dating from between 2AD and 4AD. Make your way through the Iron Age walled underground passage known as a fogou and wonder about its purpose and why only Cornish archealogical digs have revealed these...
    Where to stay near Penzance: Poldhu Cottage near Sennen
  8. Heartlands near Redruth is one of those family day trip gems. 19 acres of exhibitions, activities, adventure and play, easily accessible and an entirely free visitor attraction. The kids are allowed to climb on the sculptures. You'll either have to drag them away from the enormous play area or have another coffee while they exhaust themselves. Even the indoor activities are all-consuming, so come rain or shine, you're day is sorted. The cafe's pretty good too.
    Where to stay near Redruth: Cowslip in Gwithian
  9. Healys Cider Farm isn't all about alcohol. It all starts with apples, doesn't it. And it's on a farm, so there are animals too. But if it's a tough day with the kids you can reward your efforts with a sip of cider in the tea room (they sell tea too). Or buy a bottle or for your evening in front of the log burner. The appropriately named Rattler cider should sort you out after a day out with the kids.
    Where to stay near Callestick: Pine Croft in Perranporth
  10. Roskillys Ice Cream provides free fun for the whole family. Ok, the ice cream will require your wallet but cow spotting and farmyard walking are as budget as they come. Come and say hi to the Roskilly cows and meet some of the other animals around the farm trail. For the culturally keen, dip in to the Bullpen Gallery for a flavour of some of Cornwall's finest artists and the perfect gift or two.
    Where to stay near St Keverne: The Beach House, Porthallow
  11. Royal Cornwall Museum is where kids go free. And during October half term catch the last week of the official bloodhound supersonic car exhibition. That might just keep them quite long enough for you to sit down... That aside, this is Cornwall's largest museum and home to an abundance of the county's history, dig finds, imagery and art and sculpture. 
    Where to stay near Truro: Kernewek near Feock
  12. The Camel Trail in Cornwall is much like the Tarka Trail in Devon. Another trail perfect for walking, cycling and even horse riding that is made up mostly of a disused railyway line. The Camel Trail's mostly traffic free 18 mile stretch extends between Wenfordbridge and Padstow via Bodmin and Wadebridge. Hire bikes at any of those four points with a minimum 5.5 miles (Padstow to Wadebridge) and maximum 6.25 miles (Bodmin to Wenfordbridge) between points.
    Where to stay in Wadebridge: Daffy-Down-Dilly
  13. St Catherine's Castle is not one for babies and toddlers, but it'll certainly tire out the older children and show them a bit of Tudor history that is rarely recalled. The walk up to this artillery fort from Ready Money Beach is a challenge in itself, although you'll appreciate it once you're up there and on the descent. Built originally by Henry VIII to defend Fowey it was deemed of strategic importance again in both the Crimean War and World War Two. Let's not forget the stunning views you'll enjoy after the climb. If you think Fowey is all seaside shops and boutiques, think again!
    Where to stay near Fowey: Cormorants in Polruan
  14. Perranporth sundial is a fun, free and outdoors activity. Whether your kids can tell the time or not, teach them about how time was told in days gone by. With access to and from Perranporth beach, it makes for a fun detour from the sandy and a fabulous spot for views of the north Cornwall coast.
    Where to stay near Perranporth: Croft Cottage in Goonhaven