Boyd and Renai McLean, with their daughters Ruby, Molly and Poppy.
Boyd and Renai McLean, with their daughters Ruby, Molly and Poppy. Contributed

Easy way to grow

BOYD and Renai McLean's last-minute, discount tourism experiences website has grown more than 110% in a year and reached the milestone of getting 1000 tours online last month.

Not a bad effort for a couple of former teachers with no experience in IT or tourism.

Mr McLean said a family holiday to Cairns almost three years ago planted the seed for the business, Do It Tour.

"We had seen a lot of operators going out with a boat half-full and we thought 'why isn't somebody trying to put these tours up at a discounted rate to get backsides on seats?'," he said.

The site borrows unashamedly from Wotif in style, and offers all sorts of things like wine and shopping tours, sky dives, cooking classes, shark dives, scuba diving lessons, as well as tours on the Kuranda Sky Rail, Daintree, Tasmania and anything to do with water in the Whitsundays.

It is also similar to others such as, but Mr McLean said there was one key difference.

"Our price point," he said. "We guarantee our price is the most cost effective, it has to be below retail. For the deals to go live, we have to guarantee we've got the cheapest price online. That is a shared responsibility between us and the companies and we are making a pretty bold statement.

"And we only have a small window of 28 days in advance."

Suppliers can register and upload tour details free, while paying a flat commission on conversion.

"Our growth has been fantastic, comparing October last year to this year, we are up 112%," Mr McLean said.

"We are probably five times ahead of where we thought we'd be when we did the original mapping. And especially in a climate when we hear all this doom and gloom about tourism, we are bucking that trend and I think it's because people are still looking for a cost-effective way to go on holidays.

"A large portion of our customers are families, grey nomads and backpackers."

The Sunshine Coast couple outsources SEO, web development and marketing to companies in Maroochydore and Melbourne, while concentrating on management and attracting new tour companies themselves.

They also have three girls, aged one, two and four.

"We throw a lot of balls up in the air and catch them," Mr McLean said. "We have great support from excellent staff.

"We have quality people on board; you have your greatest success when you employ well.

"We just want to keep growing. Hopefully by the end of 2012 we would like to be up to 1500-2000, tours making us one of the largest tourism experience enterprises in Australia."

He said he would like to boost the number of Sunshine Coast tours listed and also offered to help mentor anyone considering a new business.

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