Flight Centre sees boom in international business travel

Group of multi-ethnic business people going on business trip carrying suitcases while walking through airport passageway.

Corporate travellers have returned to the skies in their droves as the lifting of travel restrictions across the globe has seen confidence return, particularly in the SME sector, with Flight Centre Business Travel’s (FCBT) personal service taking off between 01 February and 30 April 2022.

The SME specialist division of the Flight Centre Travel Group has seen international travel return in a strong way in the last three months, with overseas bookings now 40 per cent of total sales, that is a five per cent increase on the same dates prior to COVID in 2019 – albeit from a smaller volume.

The top three overseas destinations for business travellers were United States, United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates.

“We have a unique business model in that all our customers deal directly with travel managers, so they get a truly personalised service every time – something that SMEs emerging from the pandemic really value,” said FCBT GM Cameron Harris.

“We’ve won a lot of business in recent times simply because corporate businesses understand that it’s now easier to have an expert take care of everything for you, freeing them up to do what they do best, running and growing their businesses.

“Things are returning to normalcy around the world but there are still requirements that differ from country to country, and we have an internal team working around the clock to ensure we deliver timely and accurate information to all our customers.

“The appetite for SMEs to return to business travel is clear to see and in the month of April we were back to almost three quarters of our pre-COVID travel volume as corporates see the window of opportunity to get ahead, meet suppliers, and have face-to-face time with their colleagues.

“We proudly have more than 1,500 SME clients across Australia, have local booking offices across the country, and with our travel managers having on average seven years of experience between them, there’s never been a better time for SMEs to take advantage of our services.”

The return to international travel has been of particular importance to the Nomad Coffee Group, a business that imports coffee from over 15 different countries and has direct relationships with all farmers and growers.

“We work very closely with them all on our specific flavour profiles and quality we require for our business,” said Nomad Coffee Group CEO Craig Dickson.

“Generally, we visit all the farmers on an annual basis to assess the quality of the crop each year discuss our requirements and secure sustainable pricing. We are very excited to be able to return to this process after not being able to do so for two years.

“Veneziano Coffee Roasters is known as a market leader in Australia in the Specialty Coffee industry. To stay at the cutting edge, we have several international competitors and judges that participate in the World Coffee Events in both local and international coffee competitions.

“At these events, we’re able to witness the latest trends in the industry and network with like-minded roasters and producers from all over the world. We miss seeing our international coffee friends and we can’t wait to reconnect.”

Dickson said relations with producers were very important as they formed part of the extended Nomad Coffee Group family, enabling them to deliver exceptional coffee to their customers.

“We’re very excited to be back visiting them and working with them in person on their coffee farms. Zoom just doesn’t cut it, we need to touch, feel, smell, see, and connect in person,” he said.

“It’s exciting to get back to visiting all the international partners and friends that we have all over the globe. Our international connections have a major impact on how we continue to learn and grow as a business. The coffee industry is forever changing, and this enables us to stay at the cutting edge.”

Image: iStock/jacoblund

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