Making the choice to grow your business in a tiny town on a dead-end road might seem like a recipe for failure. For Trent O’Neill, owner of the Lucinda Point Hotel, ‘build it and they will come’ seems to be a winning strategy.
Trent was born in the family’s pub in southern Queensland. As a teenager he found his feet in the family hotel business and so was well prepared to grow the business after purchasing the hotel in 2016.
“A key factor in growing the business was the hotel renovation that was completed this year,” explains Trent.
“The trends in the hotel business that we were targeting were a desire for family-friendly venues and weekend entertainment.
“We built a big beer garden so we could accommodate larger crowds. The new venue can hold a couple of hundred people and with that capacity we can attract some great acts.”
Busby and Marou with support act Alex Lloyd, played to a packed house at the opening night in April. The new venue is a classic north Queensland open-sided shed adjacent to the main bar.
“I wanted to have a couple of big acts a year and music every weekend day or night as I think people have been responding well to that,” he adds.
“We are always trying to create atmosphere and people are enjoying the outside venue,” continues Trent.
“You’ve got to get the basics right too though; a clean, tidy, family friendly venue with good food and accommodation is what we wanted to achieve with the renovation.”
Lucinda may be small but it’s quite central regionally.
“We attract visitors from Townsville to Mission Beach and it’s getting the basics rights that wins support from the local community too,” Trent continues.
“We take a lot of pride in being locals and in providing a service to the local community. The locals are a cracking bunch of people and their support is a big factor in the success of the business.”
“There has been strong growth in visitor numbers since 2016. Hinchinbrook shire has seen a lot more visitors, especially hikers and fishers.”
Trent attributes this to the continued growth in boat ownership and that fishers can explore new areas from Lucinda and really get away from it all.
“The council has also put a lot of effort into the facilities for boating here,” he adds.
“Tourism campaigns that focus on lifestyle and on visitors creating personal and memorable stories of destinations are also bringing more people through the town.
“Whereas the quiet unspoilt character of Lucinda might once have been a detraction for visitors it is increasingly becoming a reason to visit.”
By Kate Osborne.