A Queensland tourism advocacy group has described as “pure negligence” a decision by Tourism Port Douglas Daintree to collaborate with Expedia on its latest promotional campaign.
Gerry Ireland, director of the group Port Douglas Direct, says the decision to promote the region in tandem with the online travel agency, which was recently named in a UK crackdown on agencies using misleading marketing practices, requires providers to heavily discount rates.
The March campaign, which runs until the end of the year, compels participants to offer discounts of at least ten percent on the Wotif and Expedia websites.
Mr Ireland said: “In what can only be described as an act of pure negligence, the EO and directors of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree have entered into an irresponsible collaborative promotional campaign with Expedia and Wotif.
“This domestic campaign will be based around onsite media banners that link to a landing page featuring activities, flight and hotel deals for Port Douglas and the Daintree. Such great exposure for our beautiful destination!
“What is sinister is the total disregard for a balanced view in owning responsibility for how tourism is promoted in Port Douglas Daintree.
“Expedia charge 15 percent commission of the room rate, the promotional expectation of TPDD and Expedia is a minimum additional 10 percent discount on the room rate; for example, if the online room rate is $100/night, the minimum promotional room rate will be $90/night and Expedia will then charge a commission of 15 percent, which means the net room rate after these discounts is $76.50/night.
“A minimum 25 percent commission total booking is destructive to the Port Douglas accommodation sector. Someone has to pay for the 25 percent, either the property manager, resort owner, property owner, or the tourist customer.”
Mr Ireland described the move as “a new low” for the tourism authority, which came in for similar criticism for a decision to run a similar joint campaign with Booking.com last August promoting the region on the side of Melbourne Trams.
“Tourism sustainability requires a certain level of business acumen, as well as trust,” he said.
“It seems as though TPDD management and directors are consistently struggling with this fundamental business management requirement.”
Tara Bennett, executive officer of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, has been approached for comment.