Monthly Archives: August 2012

Byron Shire wins Best eTown Award from Google

Yesterday, 30 August, Google announced the winners in their eTown Awards, a new initiative designed to recognize the communities of small businesses that are using the internet to grow, acquire and connect with customers.

Byron Shire was named Best Regional Area and Perth was named Best Urban Location when it comes to Australia’s burgeoning “digital economy”.

According to Deloitte Access Economics, Australia’s digital economy is worth as much as the country’s iron ore exports and will grow by $20 billion to $70 billion by 2016.

Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor, who launched the Awards, said “The digital economy is fuelling Australia’s economic growth and it’s important businesses of every size are well equipped to take advantage of the potential. I hope these Awards encourage other small businesses to get online to connect with people who are actively looking for their products and services”.

Dean Power heads up the Northern Rivers office for Community Engine, a website which connects business to community and community to business. They held a pilot for their social commerce website in Byron Bay and Lennox Head earlier this year, and are now taking their tool nationally.

“This award confirms our decision to run our pilot in Byron” said Power. “It’s a place which has held onto its community values, has boundless creativity and “gets” the web.  It is significant that this award comes at a time when key local players in the digital economy are coming together to plan for the future of Byron’s digital footprint”.

Community Engine along with, Northern Rivers Tourism, the Byron Visitor Centre, Common Ground, Byron United and Byron Naturally are part of a VIA Byron working group that is improving the way visitors find and experience Byron on the web.

The results of the eTown Awards are based on data that is collated and analysed through businesses who advertise with Google AdWords or websites that have been created using Google’s free service and the MYOB Getting Aussie Business Online initiative.

Google says the web is transforming all businesses in Australia, not just those typically considered to be “internet businesses”. The growth in start-ups’ online opportunities were further underlined by new research out on Wednesday by Getprice, which revealed that online shopping on a mobile device is at least a weekly occurrence for the majority of people, with more than a quarter shopping at least once a day. It is also the third most popular mobile activity, trumping search engines and only behind reading news and social networking.

Downloadable high res images:

Photo 1: Surfers in Byron Bay. Photo David Young

Photo 2: Dean Power from Community Engine with client David Styles

Photo 3: WIRES worker Katie. WIRES Northern Rivers is increasing their web presence. Photo David Young

Photo 4: Members of the VIA Byron CIT Working Group. Dean Power from Community Engine, Lachlan Pennefather from Common Ground, John Gudgeon from the Byron Visitor Centre and Rick Slater from  Photo Koby Hagenfelds

Byron spa voted in top ten


Melinda Dunn

This week the Sydney Morning Herald announced Australia’s top ten hotel spas, and our very own Byron at Byron Spa and Wellness Centre is amongst them.

The ten top Spas hail from New South Wales (The Byron at Byron, Wolgan Valley Blue Mountains, Park Hyatt Sydney, The Darling Sydney, Lake Crackenback Resort Crackenback, Victoria (Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa Daylesford), Queensland (qualia Hamilton Island, Gwinganna Gold Coast, Silky Oaks Lodge Daintree) and Tasmania (Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge).

According to the report the treatments at The Spa and Wellness Centre at The Byron at Byron reflect “the Spirit of Byron”.

A survey of 6000 global travellers commissioned by Hilton Hotels and Resorts this year showed that for nearly half of respondents the existence of a hotel spa was an important factor in choosing where to stay. Of the Chinese travellers polled, 84% said the inclusion of a spa was important in the decision to choose a particular hotel, compared with 52% of Australians, 37% of Britons and 32% of Americans.

“Hotels are much more than a place to sleep” said Dave Horton, Hilton Hotel and Resorts’ Global Head. The research also highlighted the growing importance of men to the global spa industry.

Melinda Dunn, Spa Manager at The Byron at Byron, echoes this trend. “Our male clients, who sit at around 35% of our total client base, have been extending themselves beyond standard massages” she said. “They are incorporating enhancements such as hot stones and aromatherapy. We are also seeing men take up more treatments like mud wraps and facials. Men have always been fond of the Vichy shower, particularly surfers. And foot rituals always go down a treat with men”.

The Byron at Byron Spa and Wellness Centre houses six treatment rooms, an open air heated spa, steam room and luxurious relaxation space. The Spa prides itself on its signature treatments, such as the 90 minute Rainforest Body Ritual and the three hour Cypress Sojourn.

The Byron at Byron Spa and Wellness Centre is offering 90 minutes of massage time for the price of 60 until September 20. Valid Monday to Thursday.

“This special allows women and men to experience our Spa and see where it takes them” said Melinda. “We love our local clients, this is for them”.

Bookings essential. 02 6639 2110 or




Fathers Day gourmet barbecue at The Byron at Byron

Kick back this Sunday with a special Fathers’ Day Barbecue at The Byron at Byron.

Relax on the verandahs and enjoy the sounds of the rainforest as dad is spoilt.

“I don’t think you can beat chargrilled meats over hot coals” said Head Chef Gavin Hughes. “Being a father myself this is the kind of thing I like. Which father doesn’t want a good barbie, a beer and a warm welcome. We’ll be cooking the meat to order on our open chargrilled barbecue on the lawns and I think it’s going to be pretty special”.

For entrée guests will choose from either salt and pepper squid with lime salt and chilli jam or tart of Donna Harper’s mushrooms roasted, taleggio cheese and herb salad.

For main course guests will enjoy barbecued chicken basted in chilli oil, cayenne and gin marinade or The Farm Gate scotch fillet with black pepper sauce.

$65 for adults, including two courses and a glass of beer for dad. Children under 12 may dine from the childrens’ menu.

Sunday 2nd September, 12:30pm. Bookings are essential, 6639 2111 or

Top Byron resort recruits new sales boss

The ultra lush Byron at Byron has recruited top sales boss Heath Batterham as Director of Sales.

“We are not only selling our beautiful resort, this role needs to sell the Byron destination” said The Byron at Byron’s General Manager John Parché. “So we needed somebody who possesses a range of skills, who can work with our local tourism community as well as represent our brand internationally”.

Batterham entered the hotel industry after arriving back in Australia in 2000 from Thailand, where he spent two years working for a charity. “I was broke, had a baby on the way and I walked the streets in the best thing I could rustle up for a suit, knocking on doors” he said. The Stamford Plaza in Adelaide took him in as a porter and the young man worked his way from there to his most recent position as Director of Sales at The Langham, Melbourne, where he worked for six years. His fluent Thai came in handy when he rebranded and relaunched a Thai resort for Langham in 2008 on the island of Koh Lanta.

“Heath’s resume shows that he has worked hard to get where he is” said Parché. “Both Lyn and I are impressed by his obvious achievements”.

Despite Byron Bay’s perennial attractions of surf, culture, music and a growing food scene, the Byron at Byron has invested heavily in international marketing of the destination since they opened in 2004. “We travel a lot” said Lyn Parché, “building awareness and relationships. We are in the US at present, having just attended the five day Virtuoso Travel Mart in Las Vegas”.

Batterham says he always dreamt of working in a five star environment, however not all hotels deliver on that promise. “So it was really good to work at The Langham, Melbourne, where they genuinely deliver five star. And now to be working here with Lyn and John is a real joy, because of their hands on approach. This is a beautifully run resort, with old school hospitality all the way. Every guest you meet tells you that they are recognizing that wonderful hospitality and it’s coming all the way from the top”.

Living just behind Byron at Fernleigh, Heath feels like a “child in a candy shop”. “I went swimming last weekend at Broken Head and two dolphins swam around me. The positioning statement of The Byron at Byron – Inspired by nature – is very real. The resort strives to reflect the natural beauty that is all around here in its service and physical environment”.