Flight Centre Travel Group has moved to increase its online market share in Australia by introducing a new youth brand and removing online booking fees from its flagship website.
StudentUniverse Australia will launch with more than 40 airline partners, including unique partnerships with Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines and Air China.
In addition, StudentUniverse Australia will offer flights from more than 100 different airlines, allowing students to travel worldwide with exclusive discounts.
Graham “Skroo” Turner, managing director at Flight Centre, said both moves were geared towards delivering cheaper fares to travellers and were aligned with the company’s strategy of developing all sales channels to enhance the customer experience.
“Our websites and apps are important sales channels within our overall travel offerings and we’re seeing solid growth in both online transactions and interactions,” he said.
“By removing online booking fees from flightcentre.com.au, we are delivering better deals to travellers and ensuring our fares are more affordable than those that are available on many other prominent travel websites.
“StudentUniverse’s Australian launch will give young travellers the ability to access student and youth only deals online, rather than requiring them to book and validate these types of offers in-store.”
StudentUniverse was launched in the United States in 2000 and has grown to become a global player in the student travel sector.
The business, which offers exclusive flight and travel deals to the student and youth markets, expanded to the UK in 2013 before being acquired by Flight Centre in 2015.
StudentUniverse managing director Mike Cleary said Australia was the third-largest English-speaking market for international students behind the US and the UK, so the launch was a logical step in developing and expanding StudentUniverse’s services to a global market.
“We’re very excited about studentuniverse.com.au’s launch and our potential in Australia,” he said.
“Our technology and online booking experience are geared towards making travel easier and more convenient than ever for students, and youth and will continue to be the foundation of serving our customers.
“We look forward to bringing the online experience and exclusive deals our customers enjoy to this important region.”
The launch of StudentUniverse in Australia comes not long after Flight Centre announced it would rename its other youth brand, Student Flights, to Universal Traveller.