When Destination Wollongong came out with a list of ways the community can help local tourism operators losing business during the present COVID-19 lockdown in NSW many in the sector were grateful.
Among them was Just Cruisin' and Top Stay Accommodation owner Steve Melchior who lost seven trike tour bookings and two weeks of nightly Airbnb bookings when the Greater Sydney restrictions were announced in late June.
Mr Melchior operates a tiny home as an Airbnb at Stanwell Tops and employs backpackers stranded in Australia as cleaners, which means they too are losing important work at this difficult time.
That's why he welcomed a list of seven things residents can do to support a local business.
Mr Melchior said four of the suggestions on that list would really help him and many other tourist operators in the region.
He said people buying a voucher or gift card for use later was particularly helpful.
But writing a positive review, referring a business to friends or family, and following, liking, commenting on and sharing their page on social media would also have many far reaching benefits.
"I had seven jobs cancelled the first day of COVID, $1600 worth of work was lost in the first week," he said.
"I love the idea of people buying vouchers now to use later. I actually sold two yesterday to be used in September for a winery tour down to Coolangatta Estate. People are doing that because they can't do much now. And that gives me some cash flow."
Mr Melchior said the two bed tiny home Airbnb was his other main income stream because his bike trailer manufacturing enterprise can't get products out of China.
"I have had a pretty bad trot lately. I make about $135 a night out of the tiny home but I lost all that. I had 14 bookings. Every night was covered for the first fortnight of the lockdown and I lost all that."
Mr Melchior said since it opened he was amazed how many bookings came from Sydney people wanting to get away for some peace and quiet in the bush setting.
"Airbnb take the bookings. We don't even see the customers. They receive a script once they have paid which tells them how to get there, what there is to do and where the key is. We have a cleaner comes in each morning to clean the tiny home when it has been used."
The cleaners are backpackers who have been staying at Otford since the COVID-19 pandemic began. One is from Switzerland and another is from Austria. When all the Airbnb bookings were cancelled Mr Melchior invited one of them to stay there for free during the lockdown - as long as they cleaned it afterwards.
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