What is the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program?
The Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program provides support to accommodation providers in regional Victoria, the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula impacted by the latest ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions affecting Victoria, as well as cancellations arising from state border restrictions.
A payment of up to $225 per booking, per night will be made for each cancelled booking (up to a maximum of $1125 per bookable offering) for the period of current Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions, provided that the accommodation provider has refunded in full any payment made on the booking for someone who can no longer travel.
Who is eligible to apply for the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program?
To be eligible for the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program, the accommodation provider must:
- be located in one of the eleven Victorian Regional Tourism Regions (48 regional and rural councils plus a number of interface councils in the Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula; Victoria’s six ski resorts; Gabo, French)
- be bookable to the general public and advertised on an online booking platform, a website or bookable through an accommodation booking agent, including a registered Real Estate Agent
- be a business that holds an ABN since at least 30 June 2020 and is registered with the federal, state local government regulator.
What constitutes a ‘bookable accommodation offering’?
A bookable accommodation offering is an offering that can be separately booked by the public.
A single bookable accommodation offering includes:
- a private holiday rental
- a self-contained apartment
- a room in a motel or hotel
- a cabin
- a room in a lodge
- a cabin in a caravan park
- a bookable campsite, including in a caravan park
- a houseboat
- a bed or room at a youth hostel
- a distinct booking at a farm stay
- a glamping tent
- a school camp booking for a single group.
Which accommodation providers can make a claim?
Accommodation providers with a bookable property can make a claim if they are able to provide evidence of a loss of income as a result of a cancelled booking from a resident from Victoria or from interstate due to the imposition of border restrictions by other states and territories.
Only accommodation operators with an ABN in the eleven (11) Victorian Regional Tourism Regions (inclusive of the 48 regional and rural councils, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Frankston City Council, Yarra Ranges Shire Council, Nillumbik Shire Council, and Cardinia Shire Council, Victoria’s six alpine resorts, French Island, Gabo Island) are eligible.
A claim will only be approved on confirmation and delivery of a statutory declaration by the accommodation provider that all the following criteria are satisfied and can be evidenced:
- a refund has been made for 100 per cent of any payment made towards the booking amount
- no cancellation fee or other tariff was charged to cancel the booking
- the cancelled booking was not re-booked or filled, and
- the booking is from a resident subject to ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions or from interstate.
How do accommodation providers apply for the program?
You will be able to make a claim between Monday 13 July 2020 until 14 September 2020 for cancellations made in the current period of restrictions, or when funds are exhausted via the Regional Tourism Support Program page on this website.
How should accommodation providers manage bookings that have been made by residents subject to Stage 3 and Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions?
The best solution is to talk to the customer to reschedule the booking for a later date.
Regional Victoria has an amazing range of experiences on offer and you should encourage guests to visit once it is safe to travel again.
If an alternative arrangement cannot be made and the booking must be cancelled, you should organise to have their payment refunded if any money has already been paid.
Why do I need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) to be eligible?
The Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program is designed to support accommodation businesses such as motels, hotels, and caravan parks, that have been impacted by ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions in Victoria. There are currently no plans to extend the program to providers without an Australian Business Number (ABN).
However, if your property is managed by an accommodation booking agent operating under an ABN held before 30 June 2020, and the ABN is current when you apply, you may be eligible to receive a refund via your agent. Your agent should make the application on your behalf.
Did payment for the booking have to be made prior to the visitor arriving for my application to be eligible?
No. Payments due on arrival by the guest or at the conclusion of their stay are still eligible to make a claim if they can prove that a booking was made, and consequently cancelled, by a visitor impacted by the introduction of ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions.
What if my guest only paid a deposit – will I still be eligible for the full refund?
Yes. If your guest only paid a deposit for the booking, if you have refunded this deposit you will still be entitled to claim up to $225 per night as the payment is based on the total value of the lost booking.
How can I access postcode data if my booking is through a third-party website, such as Expedia or booking.com?
Expedia have provided instructions on how to work out the postcodes of cancelled bookings from the stable of distribution sites under the Expedia brand, which may help your grant application. Please click here to learn more.
If you are an accommodation provider using the booking.com extranet platform, please click on the ‘Reservations’ tab to learn more on accessible information including guest contact details and dates for the reservation.
What if the booking is for multiple people or families at the same time, is the accommodation provider eligible for multiple claims?
A payment of up to $225 is available per booking, per night, to a maximum of $1125 per bookable accommodation offering for the period of Stage 3 or Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions.
This means if multiple people are staying in the one property (e.g. a holiday rental home), then the accommodation provider is able to claim one payment for the booking per night.
If multiple bookings have been made (e.g. multiple rooms in a hotel), then the accommodation provider can claim a payment for each room booking.
Can I claim the full $225 a night if the value of the cancelled booking was less than that?
No. You can only make a claim against the actual loss of income from the cancelled and refunded booking.
You can claim up to $225 per booking, per night, to a maximum of $1125 for each bookable accommodation offering, provided that you have refunded in full any payment made on these bookings.
Do all members of the booking need to be from the restricted locations of metropolitan Melbourne or the Mitchell Shire, regional Victoria or from interstate?
If the person who made the booking is impacted by the Stage 3 or Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions or border restrictions and the booking is cancelled, then the accommodation provider is eligible for payment.
Will payments made under the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program be subject to a future audit?
Applicants for the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program may be subject to an audit by the Victorian Government or its representatives for a period of two years after the grant was approved.
This will require you to produce evidence of meeting the eligibility criteria at the time of application.
What if the accommodation provider has resold the room or bookable property following the cancellation?
You will not be eligible for a refund if the bookable accommodation was resold during the cancelled booking period at the time of application.
Is the total amount available for the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program capped?
The Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program is capped at $40 million.
Will I be fully refunded for all cancellations?
The program provides up to $1125 per bookable accommodation offering – this is a refund of up to $225 per night, capped at $1125 per bookable accommodation offering (e.g. per room, cabin, serviced apartment, private holiday rental).
What if I have already made an application before further restriction were announced on 2 August 2020?
If you have made an application and have already been paid, and not met the cap (ie $1,125 per bookable accommodation offering) your application will be returned and you may make a further application for bookings cancelled up to 13 September 2020.
If you have made an application and have not yet been paid, you will be able to access your application and update it with any further cancelled bookings up to up to 13 September up to $225 per booking night up to a maximum of $1125 per bookable accommodation offering.