Airbnb and Sydney Opera House tout two year partnership

By Alison Lowe | 26 October 2015
Opera House CEO Louise Herron & Airbnb Country Manager Sam McDonagh are joined by Airbnb Superhosts Margaret Burton (far left) & Amelia Procter (far right).
The Sydney Opera House is looking to appeal to a new generation of travellers through a two-year tie-up with disruptive global travel brand, Airbnb.

The deal means Airbnb will fund free, behind-the-scenes tours of the iconic destination to the Sydney Opera House for thousands of Airbnb “superhosts” – those local and international Airbnb hosts who consistently receive top ratings from guests staying in their Airbnb-listed homes.

A tourism icon on a par with the Eiffel tower or the Egyptian pyramids, the opera house receives over 8.2 million visitors a year but only one in five go inside to take a tour. Airbnb and the opera house expect their tie-up to boost these figures by emphasising that “this is the people's house.”

“The Opera House is keen to appeal to Airbnb's demographic, and for everyone to belong there. Together, we can help open up the Opera House – the symbol of modern Australia – to new global communities, highlight Sydney as a destination, and support the Opera House’s flourishing contemporary music and environmental programs,” Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh told AdNews.

He called the partnership “one of the most important relationships we've entered into here in Australia.”

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said there's so much more to the Sydney icon than many realise.

“As a company, Airbnb connects people around the world. Together, we can help open up the Opera House to new global communities, while highlighting Sydney as a destination to visitors at home and abroad.”

Calling the tour offer the “first stage” of the tie-up with the opera house, Airbnb is staying tight-lipped on what the rest of the promotion might entail, with the free tour offering just the first of a number of activations that will result.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Airbnb is also set to support the Opera House’s year-round contemporary music and environmental programs.

The promotion has been announced in the same week as Airbnb welcomed its two millionth guest in Australia. In Sydney alone, there were 30,000 homes by March of this year whose owners had listed them as available for rent to visitors through Airbnb, according to the ABC.

One sector that may not be too pleased about the association between the brand and the Sydney icon is the hotel sector. Worldwide there has been growing concerns expressed by the industry about the extent to which Airbnb is eating into its market share and profits as it continues to disrupt the market for travel accommodation.

McDonagh told AdNews the tie-up with the Sydney Opera House is a sign of forward thinking on the part of the Sydney Opera House Trust and the NSW government "in embracing the sharing economy in Australia.”

Airbnb launched  its first global ad in Australia in November 2014. It also arrived on Australian TV for the first time in April of this year.

In other brand stunts this year it added Ramsay Street to its listings and boosted support of Sydney's Mardi Gras.

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