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While the COVID-19 wave has been a “business buster” for many Australians, Gold Coast man Peter Cook says this tough time has opened new opportunities.

Two years ago, the part-time electrician and sole trader used his self managed superannuation fund to invest in a unit in landmark Surfers Paradise tower Q1.

Peter had high hopes when he listed the luxurious two-bedroom apartment on rental accommodation websites. After all, holidaymakers were bound to be drawn to spectacular water views and the resort’s pools, spa and gym!

Gaining positive reviews and a trusted reputation were priorities that first year, and by January 2020, Peter was doing well.

The struggle to stay afloat

But his hopes were dashed when COVID-19 restrictions caused a raft of holiday cancellations. Border restrictions locked out interstate visitors plus the international travellers who accounted for 20% of his bookings.

Easing restrictions didn’t relieve the pressure. Peter said people didn’t have the money to make bookings, and turnover was only $5,000 in the first half of 2020.

The survival of his venture was threatened.

“The apartment, like any, has ongoing bills and with COVID hitting hard in early 2020, well, this was a business buster,” Peter said.

“With no bookings for over four months, I would visit the resort to find it empty.

“It really puts doubts in your mind—do I have to sell? My super was going backwards.”

Qoin brings a spark of hope

Seven years with the Bartercard trading platform taught Peter to value creative solutions. So, when a Bartercard representative suggested looking into the new digital currency Qoin, he did some homework and took the plunge.

Since May 2020, Peter has purchased $10,000 in Qoin.

In November, he registered his super fund with Qoin, and apartment guests were offered the option to pay with digital currency. The move was “pretty much instant success,” he says.

Between November and January 2021, Peter took about $17,000 worth of bookings, almost exclusively paid for with Qoin. He reaped the benefits of being part of the Qoin community, with most business coming from other merchants and representatives.

“The facility (apartment) is just beautiful but as a responsible trustee, you’ve really got to come down and say is it worthwhile keeping going and it probably wasn’t at that stage,” Peter says.

“Suddenly it just turned around because people had the money to spend because of this digital currency.”

The future with digital currency

While Qoin is a relative newcomer to the digital currency scene, Peter is impressed with the service and support so far.

The move to Qoin has given Peter a positive view of the future of his holiday rental.

“The feeling now is that we are moving forward—that people do have some funds to spend even if it is via another source,” he says.

“It’s really encouraging to see that things are coming along.”

Photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash // Image used for representational purposes only