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Merribrook moves with the times

LORRAINE Firth, who established luxury resort Merribrook Retreat in Margaret River 21 years ago this month, remembers when corporate getaways were all about abseiling and the region offered very little upmarket accommodation for tourists. Ms Firth says the profile of tourists seeking luxury accommodation has also changed. “A lot of young people in their 20s are coming to boutique resorts now,” she says. Merribrook Retreat initially catered to tourists before dedicating itself solely to the corporate sector during the 1990s. Today, the venue caters to both markets. Corporate retreats still account for a big slice of the business, with Merribrook also facilitating workshops and adventures out of Perth. Ms Firth says the main change in the corporate training and getaway market has been a focus toward themed events that get employees working as a team. “Once we used to take people abseiling and caving whereas now there is more demand for theme events, something along the lines of the Amazing Race where people think laterally and work as a team, or our safari challenge,” she says.

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