THE acquisition of a 51% stake in TripADeal by Qantas last month will have set tongues wagging across the industry, as the carrier continues to expand its operations across the travel spectrum. TripADeal’s offering of curated packages combined with a world-class online booking platform – and a rapid growth rate – proved irresistible for Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who highlighted TripADeal as a way to further expand the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program ecosystem.
“This is a great opportunity at the perfect time. Coming out of the pandemic, people want a holiday experience that is special but also tried and tested, and there is a huge shift to booking online,” he said. While the full terms of the all-cash purchase are not being disclosed, TripADeal cofounders Norm Black and Richard Johnston remain significant investors in the business, alongside BGH Capital, the private equity firm which took a stake in the company at a pre-COVID valuation in September 2020. However the agreement does provide a mechanism for Qantas to move to 100% ownership of the company in four years time, at an agreed multiple of TripADeal’s bookings at the time.
Black is enthusiastic about the opportunities which being aligned with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program will bring to TripADeal. “This is a business that needs eyeballs, and exposure to the 14 million strong QFF database is huge,” he told travelBulletin. “We’re going to take this thing to the moon,” he enthused, with Joyce and Johnston similarly extremely positive at the ability for all of TripADeal’s stakeholders to share in the ensuring growth. Joyce suggested that TripADeal would be able to triple its bookings over the next couple of years which would see it transacting well over half a billion dollars annually, based on pre-pandemic revenues.
The acquisition is being made under the Qantas Loyalty umbrella, which has performed very well during the pandemic and has been a significant contributor to the carrier’s overall survival. Joyce noted that despite the lack of flying over the last two years, members earned and burned large volumes of points on the ground and customer satisfaction actually reached record levels. “I don’t think any other airline loyalty program managed to do that,” he said.
Black and Johnston insist that despite its new majority owner, TripADeal will remain close to its roots, maintaining its headquarters in Byron Bay along with existing trade relationships. Packages will continue to feature a variety of airlines alongside Qantas and Jetstar, and the pair’s hands-on approach will continue. “This business is about making it easier for people to take amazing holidays essentially at the click of a button…it’s taken a decade for us to build the relationships direct with suppliers to be able to offer all the experiences we have, and the ability to now use Qantas Points for that is really going to drive our growth in the years ahead,” Johnston said.