Deutsche Telekom — German telecom giant and T-Mobile’s parent company — has announced a deal with Airbnb that will see the peer-to-peer property rental app preinstalled on Android devices in 13 European markets.
Airbnb will be installed on Deutsche Telekom devices in Albania, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
Customers will also receive 30 euros ($35) worth of credit to spend on accommodation — but only if they register with Airbnb through Deutsche Telekom. This suggests that existing users won’t be entitled to the reward.
Airbnb has confirmed to VentureBeat that this new pan-European deal is a first for Airbnb with a mobile carrier anywhere in the world, and is a major legitimization of a service that has come under pressure from local authorities in many markets.
The crux of the problem has been that Airbnb hosts traditionally haven’t been subjected to the same taxes as official guesthouses or hotels. While many cities, including Amsterdam, already technically imposed levies on Airbnb hosts, the responsibility had fallen on the property owner to pay authorities themselves. In the U.S., San Francisco and Portland were among the first cities to force Airbnb to collect taxes at source, while in Europe Amsterdam was the first destination where Airbnb played the role of “tax collector.”
This deal is notable for another reason too. Back in 2012, Deutsche Telekom made a “multi-million dollar” investment in German startup 9flats, which is basically a local competitor to Airbnb. With this news announced today, it’s clear that Airbnb has managed to corner many markets around the world, including Europe.
“Airbnb is a pioneer and trailblazer in the sharing economy — the concept perfectly reflects our brand promise, ‘Life is for sharing’,” explained Niek-Jan van Damme, board member of Deutsche Telekom, in a press release.
With mobiles playing an increasingly pivotal role in ecommerce and the so-called “sharing economy,” this is a significant step for Airbnb. This also follows the news from December, which saw Uber preinstalled on Android phones subscribed to the Sprint network in the U.S.
This all feeds into a bigger trend we’re seeing from a myriad of tech companies — striking deals with mobile networks to have their apps preinstalled is the easiest way of gaining mind-share. It’s a tactic employed by companies such as Spotify and Dropbox, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work with the likes of Airbnb too. We can likely expect to see the San Francisco-based company reveal similar partnerships in other territories around the world in the coming year.
Deutsche Telekom customers in the aforementioned 13 countries can expect to see Airbnb preinstalled on their handsets from this spring.