They keep coming back
“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