Qantas has shown it won’t shy away from disrupting itself by striking a “world-first” partnership with Airbnb.
The airline said this week that it would reward frequent flyer members that book Airbnb accommodation through qantas.com with extra points.
It will give one Qantas Point for every dollar spent booking one of Airbnb’s 2.5 million accommodation listings across 191 countries.
“The partnership marks the first time Airbnb has worked with an airline in this way … and is the next step in Qantas’ partnerships with innovative digital and technology businesses,” Qantas said in a statement.
Traditionally, passengers have been able to book regular hotel accommodation through the Qantas website and earn points for doing so.
By embracing Airbnb, Qantas is not only disrupting the way it offers accommodation bookings but is also aiding Airbnb’s ongoing disruption of the traditional hotel industry.
The hotel industry was suitably unimpressed, according to at least one report, but that kind of sentiment is unlikely to slow the gravitation of big companies towards embracing disruptive business models.
“The way that people around the world plan, book and experience travel is changing rapidly with the digital revolution,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We know many of our customers are just as likely to arrange an Airbnb as they are to book a hotel, and we wanted to recognise and reward them for that.
“Qantas has always looked for ways to reinvent airline travel – just like Airbnb has done for accommodation. We’re really excited about the potential for this partnership.”
Qantas isn’t the first airline to announce a tie-up with Airbnb, but it appears to be driving the partnership into deeper territory than existing arrangements, particularly by making the partnership a permanent one.
Virgin America similarly offers its passengers airline points if they book Airbnb accommodation through the airline’s website.
Dutch airline KLM struck a partnership in 2014 that allows passengers to book Airbnb accommodation through its website.
German airline Lufthansa, meanwhile, has used Airbnb as a creative platform to try to sell airline tickets.
Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said that “there are just a handful of global brands who understand that travel is now changing for the better.”
“Qantas is one of those brands,” he said.