Flight Centre Travel Group has expanded its Australian leisure business with the 100 per cent acquisition of Gold Coast-based Ignite Travel Group.
Flight Centre previously held a 49 per cent stake in Ignite, and the two parties have agreed to bring forward the purchase of Ignite’s Australian and New Zealand business to capitalise on its “readymade” holiday package model.
This will allow full deployment and integration of Ignite’s product suite through Flight Centre’s leisure network, beyond the recently launched ‘Flight Centre Exclusives’ range, to include My Holiday Centre brands such as MyFiji, MyHawaii and MyCruises.
Ignite, which was founded in 2005, will continue to operate under Flight Centre’s ‘Emerging Brands’ division, and will remain a separate entity on the Gold Coast under the stewardship of CEO Ryan Thomas.
Flight Centre is hoping this latest acquisition will provide a much-needed boost to its Australian leisure business, which has been struggling of late.
Flight Centre managing director Graham “Skroo” Turner said: “Ignite has been hugely successful, growing sales more than 40 per cent per annum for the past two years, and we are excited by its future potential in Australia and overseas.”
“Full ownership of the business will allow for streamlined integration of Ignite’s innovative products and will deliver new offerings and choices to our customers.
“The acquisition will also allow Ignite to expand internationally, with its founder and managing director, Randal Deer, set to work with us in a 50/50 joint venture partnership to develop the company’s unique models and desired international markets.”
In addition, Deer will also take on a new strategic product development role within Flight Centre.
“Expanding our presence through the Flight Centre network will not only benefit our travel partners, but will also help attract a new customer segment to [Flight Centre] and to bring this new product range to other markets internationally,” Deer said.
“Additionally, I’m particularly happy that Ignite will remain a separate ongoing entity, allowing for its unique culture of innovation in the industry to continue as well as keeping its independent relationships with partners and suppliers, which is important for its ongoing success.”
Ignite turned over more than $180 million last financial year across its three business models which specialise in the promotion and distribution of leisure inventory such as hotel rooms, airline seats and cruise cabins.
The terms of the acquisition are currently confidential, with Flight Centre to use existing debt facilities to fund the deal.