Sydney Hotel Launches with World First Airbnb Partnership

The Little Albion Guest House, which officially opened its doors today, has joined forces with Airbnb to be the first hotel available for booking as a single listing on the global travel platform. The luxurious new 35-room guest house is located in the hip Sydney suburb of Surry Hills and from today will be available to be booked in its entirety priced from $15,000 and as individual rooms (

Delightfully intimate, devastatingly gorgeous, genuinely original and refreshingly unpretentious, Little Albion is the embodiment of the local guest house experience reimagined for the modern luxury traveller. Designed and developed by pioneers of the boutique hotel category 8HOTELS and Builder / Designer Connie Alessi. The concept came about after researching hotels through the ages.

From the very first kind, the ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn dating back to the eighth century AD) to the modern big box hotels of the 80’s, followed by the explosion of boutique offerings and finally through to the innovation of the game-changing Airbnb platform. From here, they saw a clear evolution of the consumer journey and landed squarely on what both corporate and leisure guests genuinely want from their ‘home away from home’ – the luxury and comfort of a hotel teamed with the ease and familiarity of an Airbnb.

Paul Fischmann, Founder and CEO of 8Hotels says, “With Little Albion we sought to redefine the modern hotel by catering to the needs of today’s luxury travellers, who want the authenticity of a local experience, alongside world class boutique hotel service and amenities and the ease of booking it through Airbnb. Little Albion Guest House was developed with the same attention to detail that a home owner has in creating their dream home, resulting in a truly one of a kind property, just like the homes you find on Airbnb. We’re big supporters of the Airbnb platform and are excited to be partnering with them.”

Earlier this year, Airbnb announced the introduction of new searchable property types on the platform, including B&Bs and boutique hotels, aimed at bringing the benefits of local and authentic travel to everyone. This partnership forms part of Airbnb’s roadmap and is aimed bringing the transformative benefits of local, personal and authentic travel to every type of traveller.

Sam McDonagh, Country Manager for Airbnb in Australia and New Zealand says, “We want Airbnb to be for everyone, including hospitality providers that offer unique spaces and personalised hospitality. The Little Albion Guest House is a great example of a local boutique hotel that is opening its doors to travellers from around Australia and the world, offering guests more than just a bed for the night. Boutique hotels and B&Bs have long used Airbnb, and we are dedicated to continuing to work with hospitality providers across Australia that excel at offering the best guest experiences and live our mission of belonging.”

In line with Airbnb’s vision of belonging anywhere and giving guests the opportunity to live like a local, Little Albion Guest House will have a dedicated team of hosts led by boutique hotel guru and Surry Hills resident, Wendy Morris, who will be on hand around the clock to offer individualised service. Boasting an enviable art collection, impeccable interiors and bespoke finishing, many designed and crafted by the hoteliers themselves, Little Albion is a design lover’s dream.

The guest house will also feature an honour bar stocked with top shelf beverages and gourmet nibbles where guests are encouraged to help themselves as they would at home. Head to the rooftop and discover a stunning garden oasis with alfresco seating, outdoor shower and northerly aspect with views over Surry Hills and the city of Sydney.

For bookings or to find out more visit

Source: The Little Albion Guest House

The world's first taxi that you pay by singing introduced in Finland

Fortum Singalong Shuttle is a taxi service that only accepts singing as payment. The emission-free rides are operated on electric cars. Singalong Shuttle will be introduced in Finland in early July at Ruisrock festival.

What if you could pay your ride by singing? Fortum Singalong Shuttle combines rideshares with Carpool Karaoke – and is purely run on electric cars. It is the world’s first taxi that you pay by singing. Singalong Shuttle will operate at Ruisrock festival in Finland 6-8th of July.

Singalong Shuttle is provided by clean-energy company Fortum, who wants to engage its customers and the society to join the change for a cleaner world. The company offers a wide range of clean energy solutions and encourages its customers to live a more sustainable life. Fortum is also actively developing sophisticated EV charging solutions. Fortum Charge & Drive EV charging network is the largest one in the Nordics with over 2000 chargers across the area.

“With Singalong Shuttle we want to show people in a joyful way how comfortable and easy it is to drive an electric car,” says Fortum’s Brand Manager Jussi Mälkiä. “The silent electric cars make it possible to enjoy singing without background noise and emissions,” he continues.

Source: Fortum

Snow-tripping news: international IKON PASS partners with Thredbo

Ikon Pass, the new standard in season passes, announces Thredbo as its newest partner, now offering access to nearly 26,000 hectares (more than 64,000 acres) at 27 premier mountain destinations across the globe. The Ikon Pass is available for purchase at and through selected travel partners.

In addition to access to 26 destinations in North America, all Ikon Pass holders can enjoy skiing and riding throughout Thredbo’s 2018 winter season. Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Thredbo on the Ikon Pass with no black-out dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, with selected black-out dates.

Thredbo, Australia’s premier snow destination, offers an incredible snow experience with its impressive mountain accessing 480 hectares of varied terrain and its 672 vertical meters providing the country’s longest snow runs, combined with its picturesque alpine village at the base of the mountain which creates a vibrant après atmosphere.

“As we continue to curate partners for the Ikon Pass, we look for destinations that share our passion for the mountains and are dedicated to creating enduring memories for their guests. Thredbo fits right in and we are thrilled to welcome the leading destination in the Southern Hemisphere to the Ikon Pass community,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer of Alterra Mountain Company.

“Australia is full of passionate skiers and riders who can now take advantage of an endless winter with the Ikon Pass as they hit the slopes of Thredbo throughout their winter, before experiencing more iconic destinations in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Thredbo joins a group of North American industry leaders that make up the Ikon Pass – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Sugarbush Resort. Each demonstrates integrity, character and independence that is reflected in their mountains and guests.

“Thredbo is thrilled to join the Ikon Pass as its Australian partner and we feel privileged to be the first Southern Hemisphere destination offered to pass holders,” said Jordan Rodgers, General Manager, Thredbo. “The Ikon Pass is a sensational option for skiers and snowboarders who love to travel to incredible mountain experiences and we look forward to providing Ikon Pass holders access to Australia’s premier snow destination.”


To provide the best experience possible, two pass products are available for purchase, the Ikon Pass and the Ikon Base Pass, with varying levels of access and benefits.

IKON PASS: Offering unlimited access to 12 destinations plus 7-days and 7-days combined at 14 destinations with no black-out dates, for $999 USD Adult (approximately $1,345 AUD).

Unlimited: Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort, June Mountain, Stratton, Snowshoe Mountain, Tremblant, and Blue Mountain

7-Days: Thredbo, Deer Valley Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Big Sky Resort, Killington Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Sugarbush Resort

7-Days Combined:
Aspen Snowmass: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk
SkiBig3: Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay
Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Loon Mountain

More Benefits
10 Friends & Family lift tickets offering 25% off of the window rate at any Ikon Pass destination (excluding CMH), with no blackout dates
Free one-year $50-value membership to Protect Our Winters that includes POW die cut stickers, 20% off POW store merchandise, a monthly POW newsletter, and a subscription to the biweekly email newsletter, “The Line”
Additional destination benefits and discounts are available at

IKON BASE PASS: Offering unlimited access to 10 destinations plus 5-days and 5-days combined at 16 destinations with blackout periods at North American and Australian destinations, for $699 USD Adult (approximately $940 AUD).

Unlimited: Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (holiday restrictions), Mammoth Mountain (holiday restrictions), Big Bear Mountain Resort, June Mountain, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Snowshoe Mountain

5-Days: Thredbo, Steamboat, Deer Valley Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Big Sky Resort, Stratton, Killington Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Sugarbush Resort
5-Days Combined Aspen Snowmass: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk
AltaSnowbird SkiBig3: Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay
Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Loon Mountain

BLACKOUT DATES: Dec. 26 – 31, 2018; Jan. 19 – 20, 2019; and Feb. 16 – 17, 2019
Thredbo Black-Out Dates: July 7-22, 2018

More Benefits
8 Friends & Family lift tickets, good for 25% off the window rate at any Ikon Pass destination (excluding CMH), with select blackout dates
Free one-year membership to Protect Our Winters ($50-value) that includes POW die-cut stickers, 20% off POW store merchandise, a monthly POW newsletter, and a subscription to the biweekly email newsletter, “The Line” additional destination benefits and discounts are available at

Source: Ikon Pass

Qantas Announces Shortlist Of Regional Cities For New Pilot Academy

The Qantas Group has today released a shortlist of the nine regional cities in the running to be home to the new Qantas Group Pilot Academy.

The Academy, due to open its doors in 2019, is part of the Qantas Group’s plans to build a long-term talent pipeline for its airlines and meet the increasing need for skilled aviators in one of the world’s fastest growing industries. Estimates suggest the global airline industry needs more than 640,000 more pilots over the next 20 years – 40 per cent of them in the Asia Pacific region.

Last month, regional cities and state governments were invited to coordinate their applications, putting forward their best case to be the home of the new Pilot Academy. Criteria included access to uncongested airspace, a certain number of clear weather days per year and infrastructure to support and accommodate up to 100 students in the first year of operation.

More than 60 regional cities put forward a proposal and nine regional cities across Australia, strongly supported by State and Territory Governments, have now been selected to move to the next phase of the process:

  • Alice Springs, Northern Territory
  • Bendigo, Victoria
  • Busselton, Western Australia
  • Dubbo, New South Wales
  • Launceston, Tasmania
  • Mackay, Queensland
  • Tamworth, New South Wales
  • Toowoomba, Queensland
  • Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

The Qantas Group Pilot Academy management team will visit these nine cities in coming weeks and meet with community leaders, suppliers and airport operators to further evaluate the feasibility of each location.

A final decision on the Academy’s location is expected to be made in the third quarter of this year.

Qantas Group Pilot Academy Executive Manager, Wes Nobelius, thanked all the regional cities and state and territory governments for their time and interest.

“The way that communities have come together to develop some outstanding proposals has been fantastic. From ideas around scholarships to a community photo shoot in Mackay and a video message from the children of Dubbo, we’ve been really impressed with the quality of responses and the level of support on offer,” said Mr Nobelius.

“Narrowing down the possible locations from more than 60 to just nine wasn’t easy. It will be harder still to whittle this down to just one.”

Mr Nobelius said cities could still be in contention to host a second academy if the demand for pilots was strong enough – including training foreign students on behalf of airlines overseas.

“We think there could be enough demand from the broader industry for us to train up to 500 pilots a year, and to do that we’re likely to need two separate academies because of the practical realities of trying to do that much training in a single location.

“Training on this scale represents a commercial opportunity for Qantas but it’s also about contributing to a talent pipeline that we rely on for more senior pilots down the track. These graduates might fly for other airlines, join the defence force or be part of services like the Royal Flying Doctors.

“The applications from cities that we’ve seen through this process show regional cities have the capacity to help make Australia a regional hub for pilot training, and the potential benefit that could bring for local economies is huge,” he added.

Figures released by Qantas last month show that the national carrier contributed more than $5 billion to the economy in regional Australia in FY17 and supported more than 40,000 jobs.

The Qantas Group is in separate discussions with several training providers and will be releasing a formal tender process in coming weeks.

More than 14,000 aspiring pilots have so far registered their interest in the Academy via (opens in new window). The Qantas Group has today sent a survey to these potential students to find out more about their interest in the Academy. The national carrier is encouraging more women to consider a career in aviation, which globally stands at just 3 per cent. Around 16 per cent of people registering interest in the Academy are female.

Source: Qantas

Tahiti sounds (very) nice . . .

Tahiti Tourisme has announced the launch of a dedicated portal for guesthouses across the Islands of Tahiti, providing travelers with not only alternate accommodation options but also the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in Tahitian culture.

The portal provides a comprehensive listing of guesthouses across the Islands, with the ability to search by location and to take a peek inside an array of homes that could be where you lay your head next, plus facilitating direct contact with the property. From stunning multi-family lodges to basic beach bungalows for two, the range of guesthouses creates a wealth of alternate accommodation options.

Already well regarded as a luxury destination, Tahiti’s lesser known guesthouses – or pensions – make for a very affordable holiday and the most perfect embodiment of local hospitality you could ask for. As most guesthouses are usually traditional Polynesian fare in locations that are not yet too well known, the surrounds are often incredibly scenic and staying in this style of accommodation not only opens the door to authentic Tahitian hospitality, but also parts of the islands that travellers may not otherwise venture to.

Staying in a small family-run guesthouse is an opportunity for total immersion in the daily life of a Polynesian family, and in addition to the home-stay-style accommodation, hosts provide the opportunity to share, see, understand, feel and experience life in the islands as if you were a family member returning home. Examples of shared activities include fishing in the lagoon with your hosts; discovering local products and cuisine, or hiking the mountains with the family’s children in search of waterfalls and pools to swim in.

Different styles of guesthouses can be found on almost all of the Islands, and cater to the needs of tourists looking for something other than a resort. Bed and breakfast guesthouses include furnished rooms or bungalows (four rooms at most) that are located adjacent to the family home, and come equipped with private or shared bathrooms.

The overnight stay includes breakfast served in your room or in a common area, which could be the family dining room. Farés or “family residences” are guesthouses that include furnished bungalows (nine units at most), located near the family home and are equipped with private bathrooms and facilities for cooking and relaxing. They have a front desk, a common area reserved to guests and, if desired, they will provide daily housekeeping.

The welcoming and spontaneous warmth of a Polynesian family synonymous with a guesthouse stay is a unique experience that combines tourism in search of authenticity with friendliness, quiet and intimacy, discovery and open space. Staying in a guesthouse is also a way to play a role in safeguarding and protecting local heritage and the environment.

And far from an expensive holiday, you may find yourself budgeting to stay forever! (Well, at least a few more days than you initially planned.)

Source: Tahiti Tourisme