The Byron Bay start-up that inked a Qantas deal


He’s been surprised by how much Qantas’ vision for the business has aligned with his and fellow co-founder Johnston’s own, given large corporates can be “lethargic” and can be “quite slow to respond”.

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“That’s not the case at Qantas,” Black says. “You look at this big enormous business that is Qantas, but the key people at Qantas [are] really heavily engaged. They’ve got a really good culture of doing things which you wouldn’t think would be done at [that] level.

“That’s pretty exciting for a start-up guy and a founder to come across,” he said. “We feed on energy. Energy’s very infectious in these situations.”

With Qantas’ backing, the holiday booking site has overnight become significantly more attractive to the airline’s 14 million-strong frequent flyer member base, who can use their points to book travel packages and earn three points per dollar spent with the site.

The goal now is to “turbocharge [the] business for the next chapter”.

“We are the biggest online travel agent database in Australia now,” he says. “Now we’ve got the opportunity [to] open it up to a much greater audience. What better way to be able to earn and burn points?” Black said.

TripADeal founders Norm Black (far left) and Richard Johnston (middle) with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (second from left), Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth (second from right) and Ben Gray, BGH Capital (far right).

TripADeal founders Norm Black (far left) and Richard Johnston (middle) with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (second from left), Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth (second from right) and Ben Gray, BGH Capital (far right).Credit:Qantas/Brent Winstone

Joyce has outlined ambitions to triple TripADeal’s revenue in just as many years. In 2026, another conversation will be had about whether Qantas will acquire the remaining 49 per cent.

Even if this happens, the founders won’t be far away. “We will stay on in [some] capacity … to help guide the ship,” Black said. “We’re not going anywhere – we’re not just grabbing the king’s ransom and leaving the castle.”

At its heart, Black brings the deal’s significance back to what it means for their team in Byron Bay and says he’s proud to provide local employment opportunities for the community.

“We both consider ourselves country guys,” Black says of himself and co-founder Johnston. “Byron [Bay] might be a tourist’s Mecca, but it’s a country town.

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“We’re proud of where we live … If you told this story 10 years ago, that it was going to happen in Bryon Bay, of all places, they would have laughed at you.

“It’s quite humbling, to be honest with you.”



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Divyansh Singh

Talks about #technology #innovation #investing and #business.

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