Douglas Direct on a mission to keep dollars in Douglas



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Local resort Managers: (Back) Al Spence, Bruno Bennett, Andrew Thompson, Carmel Angelino (Front) Colin Earl, Robin McAdam, Toni Bennett, Lynette Bradford, Sonya Cooke, Ken Roberts. Image: Supplied.

A group of locals have joined forces on a mission to keep dollars in Douglas and help accommodation businesses in the Shire financially recover from COVID-19.

The newly formed Douglas Shire Accommodation Cooperative (DSAC) have formed Douglas Direct, an online platform that hopes to get more visitors to book direct rather than through online travel agents.

Spokesperson for DSAC, Bruno Bennett, said research shows that the Shire loses $20 million each year in commissions paid to online travel agents.

“Keeping dollars in Douglas is essential right now, especially when many local businesses are facing a huge task just to keep their doors open,” he said.

“It’s the contention of our members that this ever-growing level of commission is bad business and represents old school thinking.

“Our members believe Douglas Shire no longer needs to rely on online travel agents like Expedia and to fill rooms,” Mr Bennett said.

DSAC’s aim is to attract State and Federal funding of $800,000 to create the Douglas Direct website so people can book directly with the property themselves.

Funding will go towards development and design of the platform, on-boarding product information and marketing, which includes a sophisticated SEO strategy to give it the best chance of outranking its competitors.

DSAC has prepared a three-year business plan, including financials.

“With the support of local resorts, self-contained apartments and the many bed and breakfasts dotted throughout the Shire, Douglas Direct is aiming to earn $192,000 in commissions in its first year and build this to $1.4 million by year three,” Mr Bennett said.

“The earnings will be reinvested into the ongoing operation of the website.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr has provided a letter of support to the DSAC for the development of the Douglas Direct website.

“We’re facing an estimated 21% drop in Gross Regional Product – compared to 12% Queensland wide,” he said.

“With an economy that is 80% reliant on tourism, Douglas Shire ranks as the most tourism-dependent region in Australia.

“I have no hesitation in recommending projects that help our Shire recover from the pandemic, especially when they direct funds back into the local economy, whilst reigniting tourism in our area.”

The Douglas Shire Accommodation Cooperative Direct is inviting interested accommodation houses to consider becoming a member with annual membership just $50.

Any operators who are interested in receiving more information are encouraged to contact Al Spence, representing the DSAC on 0458 080 280.

 And remember to Buy Douglas: Build Douglas and #DoItInDouglas

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