Travel Agents

“There are some silver linings”: Skroo on Flight Centre’s tough COVID-induced business decisions

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) supremo Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner says there is some truth to the view that recent changes to the company’s business model were already needed prior to COVID-19.

Speaking at Travel DAZE 2020 last Friday, Turner spoke candidly about the tough business decisions that FCTG has been forced to make during the pandemic, including redundancies, retail store closures, the sale of the company’s Melbourne office and the closure of multiple brands.

“We’ve gone here in Australia from 950 locations in leisure to somewhere around the 400 mark,” he said.

“It still means that we’ve got plenty of locations to service our customers. We believe we can get back to most of that pre-COVID level with those number of locations, particularly with more of a focus on the online travel call centres, as well as independent contractors, as well as our frontline shops.

“The ones we’ve kept are obviously the best-positioned ones; the larger ones that can take more of our frontline people as well. And, obviously, we have technology that we can put into play much more easily during much less volume of business during this time.

“So, there are some silver linings in being able to change the mix of our models a little bit.”

Turner said FCTG’s corporate travel division will be a lot more about productivity and the technology platforms that the company has been developing and fast-tracking for implementation since COVID-19 hit.

FCTG is expecting business to get back to 70 to 80 per cent of pre-COVID levels by June 2023, before achieving a full recovery by around June 2025.

“So, we’re basically looking at this as a five-year plan,” Turner said.

“I’d say we’ve made most of the major decisions we’ve had to.

“The main thing in the future we hope is to be able to bring back more people that were originally stood down but are now being made redundant so they can get on with their lives and get another job until we’re ready to take them back, indeed if they will come back at that stage.”

Turner also tackled questions about FCTG’s handling of refunds, international travel, the future of agents, and lessons he’s learned during the pandemic.

You can watch his Travel DAZE session in full, on demand HERE.

 

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Steaks on a plane: TikTok prankster appears to cook steak on aircraft toilet

How does one cook a steak using an airline toilet? Well, you’re just going to have to click on the article and find out, aren’t you?

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Joyce “optimistic” about recovery as Qantas renews trade partnerships

The national carrier revealed it has signed off on new multi-year agreements with 10 of the top 12 agencies, so if your boss was raging this morning, assume you work for one of the two that missed out.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Australia responds to the UK’s emergency approval of Pfizer vaccine

While the UK might be getting the jab as early as next week, the Australian government is holding fast to its original roll-out schedule.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Thailand to stay closed until at least March next year

The country’s Tourism Minister has thrown aside any hope for a comeback during the 2020-2021 peak season. Not that Aussie travellers are under the illusion of travelling overseas during the summer anyway.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG opens two Sydney hotels in one day

The hotel giant’s regional VP of development has been run off his feet lately by all the property openings, so much so that the soles of his shoes are now in need of repair.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin launches 12-hour school holiday sales blitz with more than 60,000 cheap fares

The airline has been on an absolute tear since coming out of administration, having increased its flights, gifted free thongs and now offering heaps of cheap fares.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean Group extends local cruise pause yet again

We haven’t been counting, but we’re pretty sure this is the 1,543,044th time we have reported on an extension of the cruise pause.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

South Australia’s COVID-19 scare scores TravelManagers agent client referrals

South Australia’s recent COVID scare was deja vu for many agents. And, for TravelManagers’ Emma Ross, her hard work has paid off in spades.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Luxury Escapes rejoins AFTA

It appears a trend of online travel companies joining the federation is beginning to emerge.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu launches first-ever tours in Australia and New Zealand

Australia’s China experts are trying their hand at domestic and close-to-home trips with this new collection that promises to showcase local icons.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Dream of 2021: The wonders of Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve await

by Sponsored by Promperu

The year that was may have been one to forget. But, when the time comes, the wonders of South America will be awaiting the arrival of international travellers.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Is Ola about to say adiós to Australia?

Ola’s local boss has left, and it has closed its driver centres “until further notice”. No wonder there’s speculation around the ridesharing company’s future Down Under.

Share

CommentComments