The latest Flight Centre acquisition of Aussie home-based agency Travel Partners has caused quite a stir in the industry.
And now industry big cheese – not to mention Chairman of TravelManagers and Director of House of Travel – Barry Mayo, says FC’s latest move is a welcome bout of competition.
“The home-based model is a rapidly growing market segment and with Flight Centre’s recent acquisition of the Travel Managers Group in New Zealand (which is not associated in any way with Australia’s TravelManagers home-based personal travel manager network), it’s of little surprise that Flight Centre has now entered this arena in the Australian market with its purchase of Travel Partners.
“TravelManagers welcomes competition as it can assist with people understanding the value of our personal travel managers and it keeps us on our toes as a company.”
Earlier this week, Travel Counsellors’ Managing Director, Fred van Eijk, cautioned that the acquisition mightn’t work so well, and believes home-based agencies don’t belong in big corporate companies.
And Mayo’s comments are somewhat aligned with this view, insisting TravelManagers’ focus is wholly on supporting their agents.
“TravelManagers sole focus is on mobile consulting and with our personal travel managers having an average of 21 years’ industry experience, we will continue to do what we do best.
“Our personal travel managers will still receive the most complete and in-depth support, as our new recruits do from day one that is unrivalled in the industry.
“With our continued investment in technology and in our people, along with the knowledge and experience we have gained in this specialist segment over the past twelve years, we are completely confident TravelManagers will remain Australia’s market leader in home-based consulting.”
But Skroo Turner was none too worried, telling TW that he wants to grow Flight Centre “reasonably rapidly” whilst believing that they “haven’t grown dramatically”.
The comment is ironic given the company has made six major acquisitions in less than five weeks.
TravelManagers was founded by Jeff Hakim who since left and founded Flight Centre’s newest baby, Travel Partners, and remains there in a managing capacity following the buy-out.