Travel Agents

Flight Centre acquires Travel Partners in Australia

Hannah Edensor

Flight Centre Travel Group has gone and expanded its business yet again, this time taking on the mobile Australian agency market, acquiring Travel Partners.

Flight Centre has added the Sydney-based business to its growing portfolio, with Travel Partners boasting a strong sales force of home-based travel agents or mobile agents.

Travel Weekly understands that Flight Centre were looking to enter the home-working sphere, and given Flight Centre’s many acquisitions recently, it’s hardly a surprise.

Flight Centre’s most recent buy-out included two NZ agencies, a corporate and mobile agencybut is a significant move in the retail landscape in Australia, nonetheless.

The agreement, which is subject to conditions, is in line with the company’s strategic aim of developing its leisure network across six key channels globally.

These include Flight Centre’s burgeoning online platform, which generated $1 billion in total transaction value in the 2017 Financial Year, 24/7 contact centres, community shops, larger flagships stores in CBD locations, home and mobile-based agency models, and expos and events.

Managing Director Skroo Turner said the acquisition would provide the company with a low risk and low cost entry to Australia’s home-based agency sector.

“Travel Partners is an established business with a proven operational model in this sector and a strong and expanding network of travel experts and member agencies,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the Travel Partners team to help grow the business and to expand in this home-based sector, which is growing rapidly globally.”

Turner said in addition to delivering established revenue streams to Flight Centre, this home-based acquisition is expected to provide numerous benefits on a number of fronts, including:

  • Access to a new talent pool of highly experienced agents, including former Flight Centre employees who left to pursue home-based opportunities not previously available
  • Greater flexibility and new career paths for sales people, which should improve staff retention
  • Added convenience and choice for customers
  • Greater efficiencies, as this home-based model has a lower cost base than a traditional shop, and
  • New distribution channels for manufactured products, including unique airfares, packages and in-destination offerings.

Travel Partners generated about $70 million in total transaction value during the 2017 financial year.

The business includes a network of independently contracted home-based consultants or mobile agents, third party agencies (member agencies), and shops or “direct” businesses in Sydney (Kent Street and Padstow), Newcastle and Taree.

Founder Jeff Hakim and his team will continue to manage the business from its Kent St base.

Flight Centre has been very traditional and wedded to bricks-and-mortar business, but has recently branched out more, as seen in its many acquisitions.

These include DMCS – both in Asia and Mexico, a Canadian acquisition focused on high-end leisure, corporates and MICE industries, and hotel management operations.

Flight Centre said it “does not expect any significant further activity in the short to medium term, as it focuses on integrating the new businesses and realising strategic objectives”.

In short, this might be the last ‘BREAKING ACQUISITION’ story we run on FC for a little while.

 

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