Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Business travellers targeted despite financial downturn

In spite on announcing a recent fall in profit at the end of last year due to softer sales from the global economic crisis, Flight Centre remains a fancied travel company on the Australian sharemarket

The company was a late entrant in selling inventory on-line and has a high profile retail network.

Flight Centre's planned investment in bricks and mortar off the main street with the focus on the corporate travel market is a bold move.

There will be many in the motel industry that would love to work with them.

Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

By Tamsyn Parker
Flight Centre will target bookings from small businesses with a new retail format, despite a drop in money being spent by business travellers.

The low-cost travel agency has opened its first Flight Centre Business Travel store in Albany and plans a further 10 to 12 stores throughout the country by June next year.

The move comes as travel spending is hit by the economic downturn. Business travel is one of the first areas to drop as corporates tighten their belts.

Figures from the Ministry of Tourism show domestic business travellers spent 17 per cent less in the year to September 2008. International business travellers to New Zealand spent 5.5 per cent less in the year to September.

But Flight Centre business travel operations manager Angie Dudley said it hoped to take advantage of business travellers wanting to travel on a budget.

"The reason that we are doing this is we see this as just the opportunity to work with corporates and show them how they can be saving money."

Unlike Flight Centre's traditional stores, the corporate ones will be based in industrial and office buildings rather than malls or retail strips.

"We are really hitting the regional areas because we believe local people like to support local businesses."
While Flight Centre already has a corporate travel division, Dudley said the new stores would focus on small and medium-sized businesses.

"We saw a gap in this market. A lot of people are trying to save costs and one of the highest costs to small business is travel."

Business people will be able to drop into the new stores and discuss their travel plans in person.
Flight Centre has been running the new corporate model in Australia for about a year and also operates it in Britain and South Africa.

Dudley expected the New Zealand format to perform well despite the downturn.

"We absolutely believe it will break even this year and even make money because we have kept it a very low cost model."

Stores will be rolled out in Greenlane, Tauranga and Hamilton over the next two months.

Source: Click HERE

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