Oct 2016

Qantas and Airbnb, a permanent (disruptive) arrangement…

By: Odyssey In the Press
Tags: Digital Disruption

A few days ago it was announced that Qantas and AirBnb have teamed up together in a world-first partnership.

Earlier this year Qantas announced that it was going to bring faster NBN standard wifi on board its planes in late 2016, with speeds suggested at 10 times faster than conventional on board wifi. From this interesting announcement we assume we’ll all soon be watching our own Netflix movies on demand.  Virgin jumped into the news in July 2016 promising Wi-Fi from the middle of next year.

So back to this new disruption, which has annoyed its traditional hotel partners in the process. There’s certainly plenty of comments about the “sharing economy” not playing on the same field as other providers, especially when it comes to the safety and amenity regulations. There is even some indication that Airbnb doesn’t pay the requisite fees and taxes…

Hint to accountants: This is likely to be something the ATO will be closely monitoring!

Tourism Accommodation Australia, whose board includes leaders of influential hotel groups such as Crown, Hyatt, Starwood and Hilton, has expressed its disappointment via formal correspondence to Qantas.

Qantas has said the partnership is the first time Airbnb has joined force with a major airline to reward frequent flyer members, and Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has flagged further partnerships with “innovative digital and technology businesses.”

They’ve even released a couple of Qantas like videos. Bondi anyone, or perhaps Tokyo?

So with some 11.4 million members with one Qantas Point for every dollar they spend on any of Airbnb’s 2.5 million accommodation listings across 191 countries, this looks like a major disruption to the current brick and mortar providers.

It will be interesting to see what new alliances are formed in light of this disruption. Certainly the argument from the hotel industry against Airbnb mirrors the issues traditional taxi operators have raised about Uber around safety and regulatory loopholes, which probably means more disruption is on the way especially as Airbnb is looking to link with 10 partners globally and is particularly interested in Australia which it sees as a growth market.

As Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said “The way that people around the world plan, book and experience travel is changing rapidly with the digital revolution”, he says

Conclusion: More of this disruption to follow!