Airbnb puts up $250,000 in grants for pubs

26 June, 2019 by Craig Hawtin-Butcher

Five country pubs across Australia to share $250,000 in Airbnb campaign to boost regional tourism

AirBnb today announced a national campaign to award five pubs across Australia a grant of up to $50,000 each to refurbish and promote their business. We have all the details you’ll need.

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The campaign, dubbed The Country Pub Project, aims to encourage more Australians to explore regional communities, while breathing new life into local pubs.

Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas said:

“Pubs are important places of reconnection for locals and travellers alike. They offer more than just a meal and a bed. As is the case in many rural towns, these pubs are a central meeting place, post office, corner store, town hall and much more,” said Thomas.

“As a community-first platform, we continue to look for ways to help the everyday Aussie. As of January 1 2019, Airbnb has hosted almost 10 million guests in Australia and New Zealand and as a result we’re uniquely positioned to connect publicans with new guests and encourage Australians to discover destinations off the beaten track.”

Airbnb will award five pubs across Australia a grant of up to $50,000 each to help them revive and boost business via the online booking platform. This initiative aims to support Aussie publicans by generating renewed interest in small towns and communities, which have been under threat in recent years due to declining populations, drought, economic disruption and waning tourism.

Nominations can be made between from 16 June to 12 July 2019 via The Country Pub Project website.

The fives pubs to receive a grant will be revealed on 5 August 2019. A spokesperson for Airbnb said:

“Each pub will be paired with a Project Manager to oversee the on-site rejuvenation process and an experienced Airbnb Host to guide the publican on registering on the platform. In addition, Airbnb will support the town in creating a unique experience to attract guests from near and far to their establishment, launching a campaign to help put the pub and its town back on the map.”

Mr Thomas added, “Pubs will be selected based on the strength of their application but specifically we’re looking for establishments in interesting towns with compelling stories and great publicans. Our efforts are geared towards helping publicans list on Airbnb to drive renewed enthusiasm and interest in exploring the great Australian Outback.”

The NSW Government has thrown their support behind the project, with Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres saying the program will help deliver a boost to country towns and communities, particularly those impacted by drought.

“Country pubs offer more than just a good meal. They are often the beating heart of their community and bring locals and travellers together,” Mr Ayres said.

“This project is about shining a light on these institutions and getting more Australian travellers to visit regional towns.”

AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said the Association welcomed the move, which will promote and help regional hotels.

“Country hotels in many areas are doing it tough with the drought and rising costs,” he said. “There is no doubt they are the heart and soul of their communities and we applaud Airbnb’s recognition that the best place to start experiencing regional NSW is down at the local hotel.

“It reinforces the fact that if you’re looking for a genuine experience of country NSW, the best place to start is over a meal, a beer and a chat with locals at a country pub,” said Whelan.

Recent research from Airbnb found two in three (70%) Aussies would like to take a regional or rural road trip to see more of the real Australia, yet only 14% of Aussies have in fact spent a night in a regional pub during the past 12 months.

Furthermore, the research showed the local pub is considered the most important social hub in Australia when compared to RSL clubs, sporting clubs and even the church, yet only half (51%) of Australians would consider staying overnight in a country pub. This is even less of a case in cities and metro areas, with only one in five (21%) Aussies considering spending the night in a pub.