Based in Bali and greater Indonesia, Louka Taffin is a young hotelier in millennial hospitality who is making waves with the unconventional fun, funky vibe of his brand Le Pirate Beach Club. The experiences Le Pirate offers their guests in the outer islands of Bali are built around adventure, community, and sharing the experience of travel.
Le Pirate has reached remarkable success through its social-driven strategies with millennials as well as Gen Z and is growing rapidly. Louka is at the forefront of leading the brand into new and undiscovered parts of Asia and beyond. Brian Greco (B) for Hotel Intel sat down with Louka (L) in Bali to learn more about his vision.
Listen to the Full Conversation Below on Soundcloud
B: Tell me a little bit about your background.
L: Well, I grew up in Bali. My mom and dad both met over here—so we’ve always had a bit of a connection with the place. My family moved back here when I was 15 years old. I finished school and then started working in hospitality. So I sort of started from the bottom and then managed a catering company, managed a restaurant, managed cafés, and that was all within 18-21 years old.
B: What is the story behind developing tourism in more remote islands?
L: Being an architect, my dad always looked at these bigger projects and wanted to know how he could simplify them to be suited to island development, without having too many headaches, transportation costs, operational expenses—so the rooms are generally super small and compact, but what he didn’t put in the rooms, we put outside—all the details on the exterior, the restaurant, the vibe that you feel when you’re there is as suited to the island as possible, with least possible damage to the land.
B: Describe the transformation you have seen in Bali in recent years.
L: Well, it’s changed completely—Seminyak was just rice fields and there was only a couple of shops. Bali is sort of at that tipping point where people have been coming here for the last 5 or 10 years and seen how much it’s changed. That’s where we’re looking at trying to capture any destination outside of Bali that is accessible. So it gives people that chance to duck out and go and do that island experience for a few days, and then come back to Bali and go to their favorite cafe or restaurant if they choose.
B: What was it that really made you fall in love with the model you developed?
L: I think the reaction from the people did it. At the time, everything was very cheap accommodation for backpackers, people had to clean their own rooms, all the food was buffets. So once I came in, I said—let’s change the menu, bring a bit of music, bring a bit of funk to the place. We knew quite early that it was a good product—something that a lot of people were raving about and we had a lot of guests coming back saying that their friend recommended it or they came last year.
B: How would you describe your brand in a nutshell?
L: We’re not selling the four walls—we’re not selling bigger rooms, we’re reminding our guests that when you’re on an island. All of the enjoyment is outside. It’s in the activities—it’s whether or not you just want to sit by the pool and have a cocktail, or you want to jump on board the snorkeling tour, do a trek, do an inland tour—that offers them an overall experience, whereas I think a lot of conventional hotels these days is all about locking the guest in the room.
B: What is your strategy with social marketing and millennials and Gen Z?
L: We’ve got something that we thing is going to be really suited to the Gen Z market—not only through reaching these travelers where they communicate digitally on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, but also with our idea of a ‘reboot camp’ where we can first use social media to attract the right niche market to come out on our boats and to our clubs, and then at the destination we encourage guests to hand over their devices and completely enjoy the beauty of the islands and the community around them. Our marketing strategy is essentially sharing other people’s experiences and building a desire to travel and be a part of these beautiful islands.
Louka’s connection to the region and passion for his brand is clear—and he and his under-30 team are geared to move into exciting new territory both in beach and boat settings all around Asia. Listen in to the full conversation below and check out Le Pirate and on Instagram @lepiratebeachclub for more.