DESTINATION BYRON: Vice president Jeremy Holmes.
DESTINATION BYRON: Vice president Jeremy Holmes. kate o'neill

Seasonal pinch point arrives

THE middle of winter is here and once again operators deal with the effects of reduced visitor numbers to our town.

It's a pinch point that hits most of us every year. However, changes in travel booking behaviour and the influx of alternative accommodation choices like Airbnb and Stayz make life that extra bit harder for many approved and compliant accommodation houses in our shire.

Those accommodation offerings don't bear the same overheads and cost structure that approved operators face and as such can be far more generous and flexible with their pricing in the slow months to pick up a greater share of visitors.

We no longer operate on a level playing field and with substantial commercial rate rises and the notion of a voluntary visitor contribution, there is potentially more pain to come. Price is still the major determining factor for most travel purchases and regulation plays a role in ensuring all parties can compete equally.

Destination Byron is set to continue with its commissioned research program over the coming 12 months, made possible with the financial help of some of our local businesses.

This data enables us to interpret and analyse visitor trends, market diversity, economic and employment impacts, and much more, for the shire as a whole and more specifically for sub-industries such as festivals, backpackers, caravan and camping.

The outcomes from this data will provide useful insights into the make-up and movements within the visitor economy enabling local operators to better understand trends, market size, diversity and segmentation of our industry.

This information will be available to all Destination Byron members and if you would like to support this initiative further please contact us via our website.

But the real goal ahead remains to ensure we manage the future of our visitor economy in the most appropriate, strategic way and this in itself is a complex objective for government, industry, our community and our visitors.

Destination Byron plays a key role in this by facilitating collaboration between industry and government, and educating its members through research and forums throughout the year.

To be kept informed of updates on Byron's Visitor Industry news and events registerfor free membership at: www.destination- or email info@destination-