Skift Travel News Blog

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

Business Travel

Flight Centre Appoints New Lead For U.S. Corporate Traveler Division

6 months ago

Flight Centre Travel Group has appointed John van den Heuvel as president of its Corporate Traveler USA Division, as the company places significant focus on growth in the region.

Van den Heuvel will lead the company’s newly opened Corporate Traveler’s headquarters in Bryant Park.

Before his appointment, Van den Heuvel was president of the group’s GOGO Vacations, overseeing its redesign as a digital-first seller of wholesale travel products, according to a Flight Centre statement.
He started his travel career with the Flight Centre Travel Group 21 years ago and initially joined the Corporate Traveler brand in 2008 before transitioning to the president of GOGO Vacations in 2015.

Flight Centre’s corporate division, including FCM and Corporate Traveler brands, reported $7 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending June 30, surpassing pre-Covid levels by 24%, and its leisure travel segment’s $6.4 billion in sales during the same timeframe.

Travel Agents

Nexion President Elected New ASTA Chair at Puerto Rico Convention

10 months ago

The American Society of Travel Advisors elected Nexion Travel Group President Jackie Friedman as its new chair for 2023-2024.

ASTA elected Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group, as its new chair. Source: Nexion Travel Group

Friedman replaced Marc Casto, who served as board chair for the past two years. Friedman’s post likewise has a two-year term.

“It’s an incredible honor to be the new chair for the ASTA Board of Directors,” said Friedman in a statement. “My sincere thanks go to Marc Casto for his leadership over the past two terms, and I am excited to work with this tremendous group of travel professionals.”

The changing of the guard took place at the trade group’s annual convention in Puerto Rico last week.

In a LinkedIn post, Casto, cited the growth of ASTA’s membership, as well as the passage of the Travel & Tourism Act, as among the the organization’s accomplishments during his tenure.

Casto was a long-time corporate travel executive, and currently is a senior vice president at Flight Centre.

“We have made extraordinary growth in our three goals of achieving 20,000 members by 2025, defining a path for net zero by 2030, and expanding ASTA’s influence and operations globally,” Casto wrote.

One challenge for travel agencies, many of which deal heavily with clients seeking luxury vacations, will be to see whether inflationary concerns weigh down their businesses. So far, by most accounts, the luxury space remains robust.

In addition to Friedman, ASTA elected the following officers, according to the group’s announcement:

  • Corporate Advisory Council Chair – Kathy Bedell, senior vice president, BCD Travel
    • Vice Chair/Secretary – Lee Thomaschief operating officer, Altour; president, Business Travel & The Travel Authority 
    • Treasurer – Kelly Bergin, CEO, Duglin Travel Group
    • Corporate Advisory Council Chair – Kathy Bedell, senior vice president, BCD Travel

    Business Travel

    Flight Centre’s Agency Supergroup Adds Business Specialists

    1 year ago

    Flight Centre Travel Group’s new invite-only agency member group has expanded.

    Link Travel Group, which Flight Centre owns the majority of — alongside Goldman Group and Spencer Group of Companies — launched in May this year. The joint venture aims to combine forces of individual agencies to leverage buying power, while providing access to its own product and distribution capabilities “at a time when considerable change is taking place.”

    In other words, staffing shortages persist, and airlines are gaining an upper hand in selling directly, meaning fewer kickbacks.

    Since May, the new group has added Reho Travel, Platinum Travel Management, Entourage Travel Group, Mobilise Travel, Mosman Travel and Mary Rossi Travel.

    However, this month it announced Eden Corporate Travel had joined, according to reports. Travel Beyond Group will join in 2023.

    Flight Centre has been on a roll of late, growing its corporate business, while last month it was forced to quash rumors of an acquisition.

    Its home base of Australia is also poised for recovery, after more than two years of tough trading conditions. Rival Corporate Travel Management even managed to make a profit this year.

    Business Travel

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

    2 years 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

    Flight Centre Has Profits in Sight, Thanks to Higher Airline Fares

    2 years ago

    Australia’s Flight Centre Travel Group has finally turned a corner, and on Monday updated its 2022 fiscal year market guidance after seeing a “solid rebound” in travel demand.

    The Australian based travel giant now predicts it will report a “healthy” fourth-quarter profit, for the three months up to June 30, 2022, on an underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (or EBITDA) basis.

    It also aims to break even in its second half, or the six months up to June 30, 2022.

    The update comes ahead of its full-year results being published on August 25.

    The group took drastic steps early on during the pandemic, closing some 800 retail stores in April 2020. Some 40 percent of those closures involved agencies based in Australia.

    “The scale of our recovery exceeded our initial expectations and meant that we should now exceed our preliminary full-year 2022 result target, with early trading results pointing to a breakeven second-half result and a healthy fourth quarter profit,” said managing director Graham Turner in a statement on Monday.

    However, it said it expects to report a full-year loss of between $125 million and $132 million for the 12 months to June 30, 2022.

    Overall, this would represents an 11.9 percent improvement on its initial 2022 market guidance

    In 2021, it made a loss of $234 million.

    Total transaction value for the year topped nearly $7 billion, more than two-and-a-half times seen in 2021, the company added, fueled by an uplift in demand and higher than normal ticket prices linked to a lack of airline capacity, particularly on international routes.