Saturday, November 17, 2018

Tourism organisation slammed as “out of touch” over campaign

A Port Douglas accommodation group has slated the local tourism authority for an advertising campaign it calls a “blatant act of misjudgement and mismanagement”.

The adverts by Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), titled Fancy a Tropical Break? You and me, next weekend, ran through August and September on Melbourne trams with the aim of attracting Victorians to consider a mini-break in Port Douglas.

But Port Douglas Direct, a tourism collective set up on June to counter the domination of online travel agents over local bookings, says the campaign was badly timed, coinciding with peak season in far north Queensland when weekend accommodation is scarce.

It is most irate, though, that the ads sent potential visitors to Booking.com to make their reservations, supplying a website URL for guests to book their You and Me, Next Weekend Escape through www.booking.com/portdouglasbreaks.

Describing the tourism authority as out of touch with local issues, Port Douglas Direct issued a statement saying: “Has TPDD not heard or read the furore in Port Douglas over the damage that the OTAs are doing, the near $20 million per annum that has been siphoned out of the town with Booking.com the main culprit?

“Did they not see the Dick Smith advertising or the newspaper or media articles on this very subject?

“Have they not listened or understood the point that OTAs are damaging our local economy and that by 2020 their market share will probably be at least 70 percent of all bookings with an inflated 15 percent minimum commission charge?

“Executive Officer of TPDD, Tara Bennett, in May attended a meeting where over 20 Port Douglas resort owners expressed their personal concerns over the damage being caused by OTAs. Flying in the face of this concern, TPDD proceeds with this advertising.

“Every time someone in Melbourne booked through that link, it not only cost Port Douglas Tourism the cost of the advertising but the resort 15 percent in booking commissions.”

Port Douglas Direct claims TPDD’s website lacks the functionality of its own search>compare>select>book>and pay facility despite the authority spending more than $100,000 on it over the past two years.

The collective says Douglas Tourism “urgently needs a professional, transparent commercial tourism body with the highest calibre CEO at the helm.

“In what can only be described as a blatant act of misjudgement and mismanagement, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree have again demonstrated just how out of touch they are,” says the group’s press release.

“We need to prevent embarrassing episodes…from happening again.”

TPDD was approached for comment but did not get back to Accomnews by time of press.

About Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson is the editor of Accomnews. You can reach her at any time with questions or submissions: [email protected]

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4 comments

  1. Agree 100% They did the same thing when Wotif was the big player a few years years ago (before being bought out) and I wrote to the Cairns Post showing a costing that delivers negative $6 (from memory) to the owners when all costs were factored in. TTNQ is only concerned with increasing the number of tourist stats – not whether anyone actually makes money.

  2. Sadly, Visit Victoria has also partnered with booking. com and now links all properties to Booking listing (unless they opt out and ask to have their own website linked). It should be opt in, not opt out if there has to be any partnership at all. What were they thinking?

    • You really have to wonder, what are they thinking or more to the point not thinking. Its a result of non professional tourism bodies who have passed their use by date.Tourist boards like TPDD think they are there to perform an information service and nothing more without any real-time availability, pricing or online booking. This may have been satisfactory 10 years ago, but the industry and guest habits have changed. Guests now expect a seamless experience and gravitate to sites who offer this and the OTAs are the prime candidates.
      The real failure of all of this is the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, its their failure really and organisations from Tourism Queensland to TTNQ and in this case TPDD just follow like sheep.

  3. Oh Dear, what a mob of absolute idiots? This makes me so mad!!! And I am assuming that resorts pay an annual membership fee to TPDD? Get out now I would say – and glad resort owners up there have set up their own group, most local tourism bodies are a waste of space and do bugger all for their members.

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