Debbie Perkins at her AirBNB
Debbie Perkins at her AirBNB Liana Walker

The spare rooms getting booked out for Apple and Grape

IT IS no secret the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival attracts an influx of guests into Stanthorpe.

For years motels, home-stays and B&Bs have accommodated the guests, but AirBNB throws a new hat into the ring.

Debbie Perkins is an AirBNB host.

She said both her AirBNB listings had been filled for the festival for months.

"Both cottages have been booked out since February last year,” Mrs Perkins said.

"It does tend to book out really quickly.”

Belinda Trenaman is another AirBNB host, offering a different style of accommodation to Debbie.

Just like Debbie she has had no vacancies for the festival since last year.

"We were booked out for the festival in August last year,” Mrs Trenaman said.

"We've had probably about 10 inquiries since from people not being able to find accommodation.”

Belinda Trenaman at her AirBNB
Belinda Trenaman at her AirBNB Liana Walker

Mrs Trenaman said the Apple and Grape was not the only time of year to attract large numbers of tourists.

"I've done a lot of research prior to opening,” she said.

"Winter is really busy.”

Mrs Perkins agreed winter months were her busiest.

"April through to October are the really busy months for tourists,” she said.

"While the Granite Belt enjoys a busy tourist season during the winter months, there's a push on at the moment to try and encourage tourists to come during the other seasons as well.

"There's so much to do here in every season, not just winter.

"So we're trying to get tourists to come all year round.”

But what exactly makes an AirBNB? For Debbie and Belinda they said it was simply just another Online Travel Agent (OTA).

"We advertise on AirBNB because we were told that it's really the way to go,” Mrs Trenaman said.

"When we travelled - and we travel quite a bit - we've used AirBNB ourselves.”

Mrs Perkins said the main appeal of AirBNB was gaining exposure for her cottages.

"The more OTAs you're listed with, the more bookings you'll get,” she said.

Debbie Perkins at her AirBNB
Debbie Perkins at her AirBNB Liana Walker

However, Mrs Perkins does not feel competition to other places to stay in town.

"It's completely different to a motel room,” she said.

"A motel room has it's place but it's basically just a bed and bathroom - a quick stopover kind of place.

"I think with the gardens and the seclusion and just the cuteness and the vibe, I don't think it's competition to motels.

"It's competition to other cottages and AirBNBs.”

Mrs Perkins said to start off with AirBNB accounted for most of her bookings, however recently other websites are bringing in the customers.

Mrs Trenaman agrees other OTA's are better for bookings.

"We get more customers from Booking.com than we do from AirBNB,” Mrs Trenaman said.

The only thing which separated AirBNB from other OTAs was the option for anyone to host guests in their own house.

With most accommodation booked out for the festival, it may be a way any Stanthorpe resident can make some extra cash.

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