After recently reporting a return to profitability for its corporate division in March, Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX: FLT) has today joined two Sydney-based companies to launch a joint venture aimed at bringing together "carefully selected" independent travel businesses to provide new offerings via travel supply, technology and operations.
Teaming up with Goldman Travel Corporation and the Spencer Group of Companies, Flight Centre will have a 60 per cent interest in the new JV called Link Travel Group, an invitation-only members’ group that will work with highly regarded independents in the Australian premium leisure and corporate travel sector.
Goldman Travel joint managing director Anthony Goldman and Spencer Group of Companies founder Penny Spencer will sit on Link's board of directors, alongside FLT’s Danielle Galloway, the executive general manager of the company’s premium brands, and other yet-to-be-appointed directors.
Former Magellan Travel Group and Helloworld Business travel executive Scott Darlow has been appointed as an independent general manager to oversee the business’s day-to-day operations, while an additional advisory board will also be created.
"Link will create change in the Australian travel industry. Our combined goal is to shape the future of travel by uniting the industry’s progressive thinkers," says Galloway.
"As invitation-only partners, businesses will benefit by leveraging Australia's largest travel agency group, while maintaining their own powerful brand identity and independence. We look forward to welcoming members to our exclusive Link Travel Group.
"We are also delighted to have secured Scott as our inaugural general manager. He is highly regarded nationally by both suppliers and agents alike and with high level experience across multiple agency business models, he knows which ones work the best for all parties."
Spencer says the JV comes as the world is reopening and the travel industry, particularly the premium sector, is starting to see meaningful signs of recovery after a very challenging two years.
"Our goal is to help travel businesses realise their commercial ambitions by offering highly attractive commercial returns, technology, support and strong leadership in the market," she says.
"Membership of Link Travel Group will help our people capitalise on opportunities in the post-COVID world, while also helping them adapt to the changes that are taking place in our industry, particularly in terms of supply."
Goldman says Link Travel Group represents the coming together of high-profile players to create a new way forward for travel companies around Australia, highlighting the JV has been built on the pillars of transparency, integrity, prosperity, connection, and collaboration.
"While we will link agencies to deliver compelling financial rewards, that is only the beginning of the journey. The future is about access to world class technology, innovative business solutions and workflow improvement tools, which we will deliver," he says.
"It’s also about working with recognised specialists in the industry to create better ways of doing business.
"Access to strong hotel and tour programs for the corporate and leisure markets, online booking tools for advisors and consumers, online travel advisory tools, advanced airline booking channels and relationship management programs are some of the instant benefits that are available to our members."
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