BOOSTED by a strong financial performance worldwide, Flight Centre is now turning its attention to expanding its global travel retail network, as well as the introduction of a hybrid agency concept.
According to managing director Graham Turner, Flight Centre’s five-year plan includes a retail transformation that will marry its online capabilities, which now include transactional international airfares, with its global shop network.
“We will provide seamless 24/7 service for customers through our unique blend of web offerings, extended shop hours, call centres, mobile phone services and more after-hours sales teams. Customers will also be able to switch between sales channels – for example, starting a booking with an expert consultant in-store and completing it online at home.”
“The Internet’s strength allows instant gratification of customer travel needs – this is something we can now match both online and offline,” he said. “Rather than being a specialist as an online or offline travel agency, we want to create a new category – a blended travel agency – providing an (integrated) solution that will offer instant and deep access to our product (at all times).
Through its Web Shop, customers will be able to find a wide range of air and land products including accommodation.
While Flight Centre’s main reason for entering Asia was corporate travel, it now wants to also focus on offering leisure travel service in countries such as Singapore, China (via call centre), India and Hong Kong, where it opened its first retail outlet in the market this year (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 1, 2012). A third Flight Centre leisure shop will open in Singapore in the coming months.
Flight Centre posted a A$200 million (US$209 million) net profit, up 43.1 per cent, for the year ending June 30, 2012, with total transaction value rising 8.5 per cent to A$13.2 billion. Its 10 countries were profitable for the second consecutive year, with Australia, the UK, the US, Greater China, Singapore and Dubai delivering record profits.