THE Royal Standard Hotel in Toora has received a $50,000 grant as part of an Airbnb initiative to revitalise local pubs and help put them, and their towns, back on the map.
The hotel was one of six recipients of The Country Pub Project. There were around 9000 nominations.
The Royal Standard Hotel is owned by publicans Amy and Steve Robson, who took over the pub just over two years ago.
But this isn’t their first rodeo, given Amy has worked in pubs for the past 24 years.
Built in 1889, the pub celebrates its 130th birthday this year and continues to be an integral part of the community.
So much so, that the publicans decided to paint the building black and white in support of the local footy team, the Toora Magpies, who have faced a few challenging seasons.
The Robsons say their local community has given them so much love and motivation over the years, but there’s never been enough money to fix up their pub.
“This grant and initiative is so wonderful, it’s the greatest gift for country pubs since tap beer,” said Amy.
“There’s so much maintenance we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise, so when the opportunity to win a grant was made public, the community got behind and nominated the pub.”
Amy and Steve will spend the majority of the grant revamping the pub’s bedrooms and bathrooms and adding a much needed laundry.
As part of the grant, they’ll be partnered with a dedicated project manager who will use local tradespeople to carry out the works.
They’ll also be paired with a nearby Airbnb host to provide tips and tricks for listing their pub on the platform, helping them gain maximum exposure among international and domestic guests.
Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas said the pub’s involvement in the community is one of the reasons the Royal Standard Hotel was selected as the recipients of the $50,000 grant.
“This pub is clearly very much a part of the Toora community – so much so, that the town refers to the dining area as the local lounge room.
“Amy and Steve’s dedication is truly admirable and we hope this grant will give the pub and wider community the boost it deserves.”
CEO of Visit Victoria Peter Bingeman applauded the initiative.
“Visit Victoria is thrilled to see a regional Victorian pub receive a $50,000 grant from Airbnb to boost its business.
“This is a great initiative that supports regional Victorian tourism and we encourage people across the state to plan a trip to a regional pub to enjoy the heart and soul of regional communities.”
Launched in June, The Country Pub Project aims to reinvigorate regional towns and support Aussie publicans by generating renewed interest in local communities that have been under threat due to declining populations, drought, economic disruption and waning tourism.
As part of this initiative, publicans and community members were encouraged to nominate their favourite pub by describing what makes their local so special.
Of the 9000 nominations received during the application process more than 1600 were from Victoria.