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Hospitality disruptor Airbnb took another step closer to traditional hotel conventions this week, with the announcement that it would be partnering with Qantas Airways to form a pseudo loyalty program. While the sharing economy pioneer won’t be directly awarding points to guests, it will give frequent flyers additional incentive to book with the mobile-driven company.
Through the partnership, members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program will earn an additional point for every dollar spent on an Airbnb booking.
“The way that people around the world plan, book and experience travel is changing rapidly with the digital revolution,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “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 recognize and reward them for that. From creating Business class in the 1970s to introducing mobile technology to transform the check-in process in recent years, 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.”
The partnership is just the latest chapter in the meteoric rise of Airbnb. The company was recently valued at $30 billion, with investors continuing to drive growth. Partnering with a globally recognized airline like Qantas will only serve to legitimize Airbnb in the eyes of skeptics resistant to the sharing economy boom; fellow flagbearer Uber has enjoyed similar success, although some question the validity of its value.
“Our announcement today with Qantas highlights the rapidly growing movement toward the personalized and unique experiences available through the Airbnb community,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO. “People around the world are experiencing a different way to travel through Airbnb. We’re focused on connecting people with the hospitality of locals, welcoming travelers into their communities so they can truly belong anywhere. There are just a handful of global brands who understand that travel is now changing for the better. Qantas is one of those brands.”
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