Qantas and Tourism Australia reunite with landmark $20m deal

Airline and promotional marketing body end the feud and reconnect with a multi-million deal that includes first-party data sharing

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce (left) with Tourism Australia MD, John O'Sullivan
Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce (left) with Tourism Australia MD, John O'Sullivan

Qantas and Tourism Australia have agreed to a data sharing arrangement as part of a landmark $20 million partnership announced today.

The three-year agreement will see both sides jointly invest in campaigns promoting Australian to international visitors, and extends across public relations, social media and trade activities with an emphasis on digital marketing.

It also includes an anonymised data sharing arrangement designed to help better target and reach customers that are seriously considering travelling to Australia. The data deal is similar to that struck by Tourism Australia with Qantas rival, Virgin Australia, as part of a $50m, five-year agreement again promoting the nation to business and leisure travellers.

Tourism Australia has earmarked first-party data sharing as key ingredient to its long-term success as Australia’s promotional body and according to its GM of digital, John Mackenney, the group is actively seeking such arrangements with an array of partners.

The partnership reflects a new era of engagement between the two organisations and comes more than three years after Qantas suspended dealings with the tourism agency. The decision was made over the involvement of its former chief and former Qantas CEO, Geoff Dixon, in a consortium allegedly seeking to make fundamental changes to the airline’s strategy and hinder its proposed partnership with Emirates.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said the deal was about continuing the momentum of the tourism boom and noted the airline has spent the past two years increasing capacity, improving technology and building alliances with global airlines in order to better support international travellers coming to Australia. Today, the airline carries 27 million passengers per year.

“Qantas has always been the biggest private sector supporter of Australian tourism and we will continue to focus on growing visitor numbers,” he said. “This new investment builds on the marketing we already do and our partnerships with state and territory governments to put Australia’s best foot forward.”

Over the past six months TA and Qantas have also been working on smaller-scale projects including destinations featured in the airline’s latest safety demonstration video.

Tourism Australia managing director, John O’Sullivan, said the deal just made sense given the nature of the two businesses.

“The shared resources this agreement brings together are considerable and we’re very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to grow international inbound traffic and increase regional dispersal,” he said.

“The plans we have around data sharing are particularly exciting, allowing us to be more efficient and effective with our advertising but also enabling us to provide customers with a much more relevant ad personalised online experience.”

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