Flight Centre looks to tap business travel market

By David Flynn, October 7 2014

Australia’s largest leisure travel agency is extending its scope to small business via a specialised service known as Flight Centre Business Travel.

Targetting businesses with an annual travel spend of between $50,000 and $300,000 per year, Flight Centre says its small business spin-off offers lower and more flexible fares than booking direct with an airline, with the benefit of a single travel manager for each customer.

“We found that Flight Centre was naturally capturing some of that market but we weren’t maximising it” explains Jess Anscombe, from Flight Centre Business Travel Australia.

“So we’re now really focussing on giving business customers a much better offering within our city stores, with with a more corporate offering rather than a retail one.”

Flight Centre Business Travel consultants work in a ‘back of house’ basis inside Flight Centre’s retail stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Anscombe says.

“By the end of this year we’ll have 80 FCBT teams and almost 400 consultants across Australia.”

The FCBT model sees a consultant assigned to each small business to serve as their travel manager.

“It’s almost like an extension of your team, a person that will know your people and your preferences, and understand your frequent flyer policy,” Anscombe says.

Flight Centre hopes to dissuade small businesses from booking their own travel, convincing them to outsource this task in the same way that they might currently outsource book-keeping and technology for example.

“There’s a large saving in time, we also have access to some exclusive prices on airfares and hotels plus we can also do things like do things like hold seats” Anscombe says.

“Internationally we will, as a rule, have lower fares than an airline offers online, especially in the premium cabins, although on a domestic basis our prices tend to be similar to what you see online.”

“But even when we have the same fares as an airline they can be more flexible, for example you may have free date changes when you book through FCBT whereas with the airline you’d have to pay.”

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 216

I've always booked airlines direct and hotel offers are all over the place, so why would one book with Flight Centre, sorry I don't get it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 May 2011

Total posts 29

You obviously have the time to do it, so keep doing it.

There is no way that I, nor my team would want to look after our own travel bookings. For our business, the service fee charged is great value and our travel manager is wonderful.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 253

So will Flight Centre Business be different to FCM? Or will Flight Centre operate two corporate/business focused agencies simultaneously?

09 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

Well, three actually... FCm, Corporate Traveller, FCBT. 

"“Internationally we will, as a rule, have lower fares than an airline offers online, especially in the premium cabins, although on a domestic basis our prices tend to be similar to what you see online.”

lower fares + Booking fees = Same fare as airlines = Poor logic

"But even when we have the same fares as an airline they can be more flexible, for example you may have free date changes when you book through FCBT whereas with the airline you’d have to pay.”

If an airline is smart it will control fare rules and any discounts travel agents make is considered an ex gratia payment hit to retain custom. Either way it sounds really dumb.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

If they want to tap into the business travel sector the first thing they'd need to do is improve the professionalism of their staff.  The staff at my local branch are exceedingly poor ambassadors of the company both in terms of their appearance/disposition and their work ethic.

04 Aug 2014

Total posts 38

Book a ticket directly from airlines' website is always much easier. The price is probably gonna be the same as you can find in these travel agents, bu they charge for extra fee. 

Besides, it's lots of trouble if you want to change date or applying for upgrade. 

08 Oct 2014

Total posts 1

The difference between Flight Centre and Flight Centre Business Travel, is our ability to tailor our services to the needs of a diverse range of small businesses. We strive to deliver successful solutions for your business travel, saving you both time and money.

We have dedicated travel managers, the best of leisure and corporate travel, deliverable savings, 24/7 emergency support and no lock-in contracts.

Find out more at  >> https://www.flightcentre.com.au/experts/business-travel


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