The recent easing of restrictions have many Australians looking forward to a post-lockdown getaway. Australian tech startup Stay Local Australia is set to launch an app that facilitates bookings with local accommodation businesses, by the end of May.

The app will allow users to connect with the multitude of local accommodation services and directly engage with them for payment, which disposes of all the extra fees that mainstream booking giants charge. The hospitality and accommodations sector has been hit particularly hard over the last six months, given the bushfire emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world has seen an unprecedented closing of borders and businesses, with tourism and hospitality coming to an almost complete standstill. With isolation restrictions easing in many Australian states, however, local movement is set to rise with a strong potential to help these affected business owners get back on their feet.

This is where Stay Local Australia and its app is stepping in. Local founder Bart Sobies says the app was created in response to the 441,000 jobs lost across the Australian hospitality industry. “The accommodation industry has been hit incredibly hard, first by bushfires and then by COVID- 19 closures,” he said.

The start-up also wants to see accommodation businesses receiving direct bookings, rather than losing fees and indispensable profits to major industry giants, particularly after COVID-19. For now, international travel remains very uncertain, therefore businesses will be relying on the support of locals to get back on their feet.

“Stay Local Australia will link these two groups, passing on savings to hosts of up to 60 per cent of the fees associated with a traditional online booking service,” Sobies said. For more information or to be listed as a host or guest, visit

Readers also enjoyed our story on Montana Art Project Online