Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has unveiled a new digital ecosystem to help independent travel agents run their businesses smoothly.
FCTG Independent will roll out the new platform, called Home, across its three Australian brands: Travel Partners, Travel Associates at Home and Flight Centre Independent.
Created in early 2020, FCTG Independent was established in response to the huge potential presented by the independent business model in a post-COVID world.
Home is touted as a tailored and intuitive solution to help stoke the return of travel with comprehensive support, tools, and necessary connections that enable business growth for member agencies and mobile consultants globally.
The platform is designed to save time by placing all the tools an independent agent needs in one place so they can focus on doing what they do best: delivering exceptional service to their clients and driving revenue.
According to Astrid Richardson, FCTG Independent’s Australian GM, her team has worked tirelessly on Home over the past 18 months to deliver a solution that will serve the brand’s growing network of 300 independent agencies and mobile consultants across Australia.
“We admire and applaud the devotion and ambition of independent travel agents and want to help them thrive with the backing of Australia’s largest travel agency group,” Richardson said.
“No longer will travel consultants have to waste hours searching for supplier details, navigating complex systems, comparing prices or worrying about new regulations and requirements.”
The development comes just days after Flight Centre responded to claims that its retail network was “losing relevance”.
Brian Han, a market analyst for Morningstar, told the Sydney Morning Herald Flight Centre’s leisure business faced a long-term decline as consumers increasingly turn to online and direct bookings.
Han said Flight Centre’s retail network was losing relevance after almost half its roughly 1,000 brick and mortar stores closed in 2020.
A spokesperson for Flight Centre told Travel Weekly leisure would continue to play a “crucial role” in the company’s future.
“While we made some changes during the pandemic, we have maintained a very strong leisure network that incorporates multiple channels for customers,” the spokesperson said.
“This network is underpinned by an extensive retail shop footprint that remains highly accessible and it also includes websites, call centres and a growing stable of independent contractors.”
The spokesperson said Flight Centre expected these new channels to capture a greater share of its earnings, with online now generating about 20 per cent of bookings, which is more than double the eight per cent the company saw before the pandemic.