With the future of travel agents increasingly becoming about complex bookings and personalised service, targeting clients with price can sometimes attract more of the budget end of the spectrum.
But Flight Centre is renowned for being price conscious and delivering the ‘best deal’ on the block.
There’s no hiding from the future of travel agents being service-centric rather than price-competitive, but speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, MD and founder Skroo Turner does not shirk from this ethos, confirming he’d never consider rebranding.
“The Flight Centre brand is price driven particularly for air but we have quite a few other brands – Travel Associates, Student Flights, Escape Travel – it’s more about specialist product and service rather than just price,” Turner stated.
“Flight Centre will be about volume and price but more about expertise. We’ve got to be providing customers with the right sort of expertise – the main thing is retaining novices.”
Meanwhile, Flight Centre will also expand its product offering.
“Land is higher margin but in the end, they go together – most won’t buy air without land – they’re joined at the hip,” Turner said.
“It’s about selling land product so we can make margin on that.”
Skroo’s other priorities include retaining novices in the industry (read here), and utilising competitors as drivers to creating better service.
“The people who are our friends are Helloworld and Magellan,” Turner told TW recently.
“Because the better they are at their job, the better we are, the better our industry is, and we’ll have better results.”
The business proposition is thus: not many people are buying airfares without anything on the ground.
“We will begin in specific areas more as a manufacturer of product – we are already doing it with Topdeck and Backroads Touring.
“As a distribution network we do want to have some of our own product – that’s something exciting – not just Australia or Europe but perhaps South America.”
As for alienating supplier partners, Turner is unambiguous.
“I think we’ve explained pretty well where we’re headed and they see our success in this as important to them,” he said.