“The tourism industry is a ransomed one... retailers too often sell those paying the highest commission”
“SIX years ago I saw an opportunity to add value to tourism locally, serving people by creating memories for a lifetime.
Being a helicopter pilot offers me a perspective of the Douglas region that must be shared and done so with care. To develop a business on the back of this simple notion is my personal motivation.
Skysafari Australia has grown from an old, but classy M*A*S*H*-style helicopter in a muddy cane paddock to operating a fleet of the safest, up-to-date helicopters in the world is a proud achievement.
I break people down into passive or active. These people need two things to come to us - time and money. People who have more of one usually have less of the other. It is the active people with more money than time who value our business the most. They are our target market - we have gone from backpackers to billionaires.
There are many repeat guests, they are often introduced by local accommodation and tourism outlets and from our website.
They represent most corners of the world, with an even split of international and domestic. People are looking for the greatest experience possible and above all want to be guaranteed to receive value for their investment. I’m excited about the next few years. While there are still business leaders popping up willing to sacrifice their energies and develop service focused products, we will be arguably the most significant tourism destination in the world.
Care must be taken to nurture our luxury market as the world rebounds and the affluent take to places that offer them the best of the best.
My worst experience in the tourism industry has been battling unrealistic commissions.
The tourism industry is a ransomed one. Retailers too often sell those paying the highest commission rather than those of the highest quality. In fact, if you aren’t prepared or able to pay the highest commission your product is unlikely to be available to the customer at all.
An unregulated tourism industry is being severely damaged by an advancing monopoly unsympathetic to commission flexibility, wielding the power to largely determine which operators survive at all.
The tourism industry is quietly condoning the effective rip-off of visitors and destruction of operators.
At some time the local tourism industry must appreciate the affect of creeping commissions on differing priced product if we are to prevent becoming a less valuable industry into the future where only cheap products are available.
For anyone considering starting a tourism business in the region I say go for it, but do your research. Business is not for the faint- hearted and the romance of “tourism” can be lost quickly.
Go with your strengths, love your product, find a niche, value your competitors, be passionate about service - this is a people industry, staff will require masses of energy - choose, respect and train the team well, plan for high and low seasons, create a business and marketing plan and know the numbers or find someone that does. If you’re like us you will create a dozen different budgets on likely scenarios before committing. Oh yeah, enjoy the ride.
For any businesses doing it tough, remember struggling is not drowning. Keep your confidence and never give up. Keep asking questions of your business and don’t be afraid to seek help.
The future direction of the tourism industry seems pretty natural for us - reef, rainforest and outback. It’s all here and I would like to see our marketing excite more than reefgoers to our doorstep.”