We're no longer a travel agent, says FLT

We're no longer a travel agent, says FLT
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Flight Centre has revealed more details of its ambition to become known as a travel retailer, rather than a travel agent, as it claimed the two descriptions are “very different”.

The retailer has internally dubbed the transformation as its “Killer Theme” and runs alongside seven strategic goals it believes will form the foundations for growth.

Sourcing exclusive product, developing its own specialist brands and modernising shops all form part of the drive, Flight Centre said.

Writing in its annual report, chief operating officer Melanie Waters-Ryan said the aim is to “transition from a travel agent to a world class retailer of travel products”.

“Being a world class retailer means we are the brand or business people identify with and go to. It is very different from being an agent, a middle man, a dealer for someone else’s product,” she said.

Among the objectives is to “make, combine and source” exclusive products rather than “simply selling suppliers’ products”.

It must be “our product, not just someone else’s”, Waters-Ryan said.

“FLT’s brands must have something unique that distinguishes them from suppliers and competitors, product that is different and interesting and not readily available elsewhere.”

Flight Centre said work is continuing to evolve its brands so they “truly specialise” with “regimented” systems in place to ensure each brand can illustrate how and why they are unique.

Flight Centre’s “blended model” concept – where consumers can switch between booking channels – also forms part of the blueprint, Waters-Ryan said.

Meanwhile, managing director Graham Turner said trading in July and August was ahead of last year as the company strives to grow profits by 8% to 12% this financial year.

He again played down the impact of the weakening dollar, claiming preliminary sales from its recent Discover the Americas expos were up on last year, an indication that the US was “maintaining popularity”.

“The company believes flights prices, overall affordability and consumer confidence, particularly job certainty, are more likely to influence Australia’s outbound market,” Turner said.

He added that acquisitions that can be vertically integrated may be pursued. Hotel management arrangements, joint ventures, destination management companies and tour operators were among the opportunities, Turner said.

The annual report also detailed director’s salaries and benefits. Turner collected a package worth $883,304 while Waters-Ryan picked up $2.24m.

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