They keep com­ing back

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

“IT’S nice to see you again.”

Many hote­liers in our district find them­selves say­ing this as they greet guests who in some cases are re­turn­ing for the umpteenth time.

At the Penin­sula Bou­tique Ho­tel this week, re­turn vis­i­tors ac­counted for a bit more than 50 per cent of the oc­cu­pancy.

At Red Mill House in Dain­tree Vil­lage, one par­tic­u­larly keen bird watcher has done his own an­nual mi­gra­tion by fly­ing in from Idaho each Novem­ber, for the past 12 years, to stay at the renowned B’nB.

He’s def­i­nitely on first name ba­sis with An­drew and Tr­ish Forsyth, who have run the Red Mill for 15 years and re­cently sold it to a lo­cal fam­ily, the Todds.

“In July and Au­gust we would have more than 50 per cent re­peat guests,” said Kylie Bartholomew, owner man­ager at the Penin­sula, on the Es­planade in Port Dou­glas.

“They come from Vic­to­ria nearly al­ways and come at the same time of year, year af­ter year, and even want to stay in the same room.

“They can spend up to three weeks, and even four weeks.

“Even through June this hap­pens. It’s amaz­ing. But not so much over Easter.”

Fred Fors­sell is ob­sessed with the buff breasted king­fish­ers that he finds in the Dain­tree Val­ley. “Fred comes to stay with us ev­ery Novem­ber to doc­u­ment the birds from nest build­ing to nest­ing,” said An­drew Forsyth.

He’s an in­ter­est­ing bloke. He used to be road man­ager for Jack­son Browne and worked for many of the rock le­gends of the ’60s and ’70s. These days he fol­lows a qui­eter life, study­ing birds.

Tourism Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree’s an­nual vis­i­tor sur­vey barom­e­ter re­veals that on av­er­age a re­peat vis­i­tor to the re­gion has vis­ited five times; some years this has been as high as 6½ and this com­bines both in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic vis­i­tors.

“This is a very high fig­ure com­pared to other des­ti­na­tions,” said TPDD ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tara Bennett.

“There are pros and cons to this sit­u­a­tion: yes, it’s much more cost ef­fec­tive to mar­ket to re­peat vis­i­tors and they tend to book di­rect pro­vid­ing bet­ter rev­enue for oper­a­tors.

“The con is that they don’t get out and do as much tour­ing as first time vis­i­tors so their over­all spend is be­low first time vis­i­tors.

“Tour oper­a­tors would pre­fer more vis­i­tors stay­ing a shorter time while re­tail­ers like Coles prob­a­bly yield a greater re­turn on re­peat vis­i­tors who buy gro­ceries and stay in self cater­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“This high­lights the im­por­tance of a var­ied mar­ket mix.

“So we have a per­cent­age of first time vis­i­tors who yield a higher re­turn, with re­peat vis­i­tors who re­ward ac­com­mo­da­tion own­ers who of­fer high lev­els of ser­vice by com­ing back again and again.”

Red Mill House’s An­drew and Tr­ish with re­peat vis­i­tor Fred Fors­sell

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