Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Business Travel

Flight Centre Travel Group Plays Down Rumors It’s Buying U.S. Agency Altour

3 months ago

Flight Centre Travel Group has rebuked “media M&A speculation” that it is poised to buy U.S. travel management company Altour.

“Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT or Company) is aware of media speculation in The Australian newspaper claiming FLT is considering the potential acquisition of a corporate travel business in the USA,” it said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Aug. 30.

“While it is company policy to not respond to media speculation, the company has had, and continues to have, various discussions with a number of parties regarding strategic opportunities.”

Last week the group boasted its FCM Travel division was the only global alternative to the legacy travel management companies. However, the intention to consider acquisition opportunities to complement organic growth was outlined in the company’s recent results, where it reported a loss of $127 million for 2022.

A U.S. division would make sense to expand its footprint. Australia’s Corporate Travel Management, for example, said it reaped the benefits of its own U.S. acquisition, Travel and Transport, in its most recent results that saw it record a full-year profit of $41.4 million.

Altour is part of the Internova Travel Group, which is owned by Certares, which is also an investor in American Express Global Business Travel, via a group of investors it leads. Amex GBT listed on the New York Stock Exchange in May this year.

Skift contacted Internova for comment.

Business Travel

TripActions Secures One of Its Biggest Clients Yet With Unilever Win

4 months ago

There’s a reshuffle taking place, as corporate travel agencies battle it out against each other for business coming out of the pandemic. Now TripActions claims it has secured one of its biggest enterprise customers to date, poaching the consumer goods giant from a major rival.

The startup said it has been selected by London-headquartered Unilever, which has nearly 150,000 employees in 77 countries, to “modernize and optimize” its travel program.

Rival American Express Global Business Travel recently revealed it had secured JP Morgan as a new client, while the CEO of Australia’s CTM claimed it had returned to profit thanks in part to winning customers from its rivals.

TripActions said its selection was linked to Unilever’s “future-fit” program, which is designed to help its employees “adapt to the impact of evolving technologies and ways of working.”

Unilelver, which has 400 brands, also wanted to make its employees more aware of their carbon emissions when traveling, TripActions claimed.

“Unilever is committed to ensuring that our employees are empowered with the right technology and lean processes that help them to thrive in this highly digital future of work,” said Mithlesh Singh, Unilever’s global travel process, employee experience and transformation manager.

Business Travel

Corp Travel Agency CTM Finally Returns to Yearly Profit

4 months ago

Australia’s Corporate Travel Management has managed to convert the recovery in global business trips into a small profit, after more than two years of tough trading conditions.

It was boosted in particular by winning large accounts off rival agencies, according to CEO Jamie Pherous, and three pandemic-era acquisitions, the most recent being 1000 Mile Travel Group, an all-share transaction worth $1.3 million carried out last month.

The Brisbane-headquartered agency reported a 2022 full-year profit of $41.4 million on an underlying earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization (or EBITDA) basis. That’s for the 12 months up to June 30, 2022, and follows total transaction value of $3.51 billion — more than three times the $1.12 billion recorded in 2021. Revenue was $269.1 million.

In 2021 it made a loss of $5 million, on an EBITDA basis.

New Wins

Speaking during an earnings call on Tuesday, Pherous said new clients were contributing to its results, with those clients having moved from its competitors, rather than previously having had unmanaged travel programs.

“We’re winning a lot of business and most of it’s off peers,” he said. “A lot of peers are in difficult positions and can’t reinvest in technology or people at the moment.”

In its 2022 first half, which covers the six months to Dec. 31, 2021, it won $3.27 billion of new corporate business. That amount equates to how much those companies spent on travel during 2019.

“We’re one of the very few (agencies) that can demonstrate we can convert recovering activity into revenue and profit before tax,” he added.

The CTM boss also played down any concerns over staffing levels. It recruited 950 employees in the 12 months, and more than doubled staff in its recently acquired Helloworld division from 125 to 285 people.

Pherous also said that CTM had an “out of the box” recruitment strategy.

“We’re finding people from outside the industry, and put them through our academy. Our senior executives talk about their youth and exuberance,” he said. “We’re nearly at the resources we need. We think it’s critical, we’re not in that race to barter and bargain for staff.”

Business Travel

Australian Corp Travel Agency CTM Notches Up Yet Another Acquisition to Expand in U.S.

5 months ago

Australia’s Corporate Travel Management has bought 1000 Mile Travel Group in an all-share transaction.

Terms of the deal were not fully disclosed, but on Friday CTM issued 106,336 fully paid ordinary shares to Zazi Pty Ltd, in its capacity as trustee of the Zazi Investment Trust, as part consideration for the acquisition of 1000 Mile Travel Group.

This element values the deal at more than $1.3 million.

Founded in 2015, 1000 Mile Travel Group is a network of independent travel experts who handle corporate, group, cruise and leisure bookings.

CTM said the acquisition will help it expand its “independent consultant footprint” in the small and medium enterprise market in Australia, the UK and North America a region where it’s been heavily investing over the past two years.

CTM snapped up U.S.-based Travel and Transport for $195 million in September 2020, months after acquiring Texas-based Corporate Travel Planners.

Closer to home it recently bought Melbourne-based Helloworld Corporate for $127 million.

The deal comes at a time when travel management companies are desperately seeking to recruit more consultants to cope with renewed demand for business trips.

“Our business was established to meet the needs of the independent corporate travel business owner market, and our business model has grown from strength to strength,” said Ben Ross, 1000 Mile Travel founder and managing director. “That model has never been more in demand than it is in the post-pandemic environment, and we’re excited to take the next step of our growth journey with CTM.”

CTM founder and managing director Jamie Pherous added the agency was “well-placed to expand the 1000 Mile Travel model into our largest markets of North America and the UK.”

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