As the role of the travel agent – and the agencies themselves – evolve with every new technology or disruptor, Flight Centre is leading the charge as one business who refuses to rest on its laurels.
From acquiring several travel companies in the space of a couple of months in 2017, to growing and developing its offerings to keep things more in-house, Flight Centre is on a mission, and promises it won’t slow down anytime soon.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, founder and Managing Director, Skroo Turner, said growth is a big priority.
“Over the next 10 years we want to grow our market share in the intermediary space, as well as grow some of our own manufactured product range like Topdeck and other DMC’s,” he said.
“We’ll be putting more of our own manufactured product together into various packages with raw material provided by our various preferred suppliers.
“More and more of our products sold will be somewhat more complex, more high end and we will be developing more in our complex product and luxury brand space as well as mainstream product in brands like Flight Centre.”
This comes off a recent speech Skroo gave at the company’s AGM, which saw him narrow down on Flight Centre-owned products as a way of capturing travellers in every part of the travel experience.
The company has created the in-destination travel experiences network as a key future profit driver by investing in tour operators, specifically Topdeck and Back-Roads; its DMCs, Buffalo in Asia and Olympus in Mexico; and its new hotel management business, BHMA.
Skroo said his goals for Flight Centre were to achieve “greater control over the customer experience”, effectively by offering more of the overall travel products under the one Flight Centre umbrella.
Another strategic objective is to “create unique products that we can distribute via our global sales team” in addition to the “vertical integration of external B2B and B2C sales of in-destination products”.
These focuses, Skroo believes, will boost the Flight Centre Travel Group’s Total Transaction Value by seven per cent in the next three years.
Speaking to Fairfax, Skroo had a similar comment, in which he confirmed it’s all about the “vertical experience”.
“You deal with the customer in-store and then they go on your products as well.
“Still, 80 to 90 per cent of our business will be on other suppliers’ product, but because we’ve got the distribution network, it is quite important that we sell our own product as well.”
And as for the ever present threat of OTAs, Skroo didn’t appear to be too concerned, a trend we’ve seen with him before.
“OTAs have been around now for 20 years and they do OK with the more commoditised products,” Skroo told TW.
“The challenges will probably be with the suppliers – airlines, tour operators, cruises and hotels – trying to get customers direct.”