Qantas and Airbnb have reached agreement to let Qantas Frequent Flyer members earn Qantas Points when they book their Airbnb accommodation through qantas.com.
In what the airline calls a world first, the deal sees Qantas rewarding its 1.4 million Frequent Flyer members with one Qantas Point for every dollar they spend on any of Airbnb’s 2.5 million accommodation listings across 191 countries.
The move has infuriated hoteliers, who are fed up with unregulated short-term accommodation operators using Airbnb and similar platforms to undercut them, while not having to worry about the regulations that hoteliers must comply with by law, such as fire safety and much else.
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) slammed the announcement by Qantas yesterday, calling it a “slap in the face” for the airline’s traditional hotel partners.
“While we respect the right of airlines to make commercial agreements with various organisations, Qantas should understand the importance of working with partners who fully support and contribute to the tourism industry and meet all their regulatory requirements,” TAA chief executive, Carol Giuseppi, declared.
Qantas sees its new move as a breakthrough, pointing out that the partnership marks the first time Airbnb has worked with an airline in this way to reward Frequent Flyer members. A statement by the carrier described it as “the next step in Qantas’ partnerships with innovative digital and technology businesses”.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said it was a natural fit for two global brands with a track record of wanting customers to feel at home when they travel as well as using technology to create great experiences for their customers.
“The way that people around the world plan, book and experience travel is changing rapidly with the digital revolution,” 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.”
Airbnb chief executive and co-founder Brian Chesky said the prime reason people choose Airbnb is because they want to feel like they truly live in their destination, even if it’s just for a night.
“Our announcement today with Qantas highlights the rapidly growing movement towards the personalised and unique experiences available through the Airbnb community,” Chesky said.
TAA sees it very differently.
“Around the world, cities and countries are moving towards greater regulation of businesses such as Airbnb because they are operating in the commercial space without meeting the same regulatory requirements that legitimate hotels, motels, service apartment and B&B operators have to meet,” Giuseppi stated.
“These unregulated short-term accommodation operators do not have in place the consumer safety and community amenity regulations and insurances that apply to regulated operators, nor do they pay the requisite fees and taxes. This is why so many overseas jurisdictions are regulating to prevent even more non-resident apartments and houses being taken off the long-term rental market and sold as unregulated short-term accommodation.
“These online operators have morphed from their original idea of providing ‘share’ accommodation to becoming fully fledged commercial property operations where no sharing is involved. That’s the case in Sydney and Melbourne, where Inside Airbnb has estimated that up to 61% of listings are for entire homes or apartments. If these businesses want to operate in the commercial short-term accommodation market then they need to abide by the regulations of other commercial operators.
“Until that is the case, we call on tourism operators like Qantas to only deal with legitimate accommodation partners who adhere to the same regulatory framework as they do.”
Qantas, meanwhile, released two 30-second videos on the development with Airbnb and organised a competition to promote it.
Here’s the Qantas promotion of Airbnb Sydney:
And here’s the Qantas promotion of Airbnb Tokyo:
Qantas and Airbnb are offering Qantas Frequent Flyer members the chance to win the ultimate Qantas Airbnb experience for members who book an Airbnb via qantas.com by the end of October 2016.
The prize includes four return Business class tickets on Qantas to San Francisco for the winner and three guests from the winner’s closest Qantas port in Australia; Qantas First Lounge access in Sydney prior to departure; five nights’ Airbnb accommodation in San Francisco using an Airbnb voucher to the value of AUD 5000; AUD 4000 spending money loaded onto a Qantas Cash card; and return transfers from/to San Francisco airport.
To earn Qantas Points, Frequent Flyer members must visit qantas.com/stay choose the Airbnb option then enter their Frequent Flyer details when prompted. The member is then redirected to airbnb.com.au to complete their booking.
Written by Peter Needham