Pressure easing for FCTG consultants, says CFO

'We don't want our people working all hours to meet the customer's demands'

Image credit: Yan Krukau/Pexels

Adam Campbell, Global CFO of Flight Centre Travel Group says the heavy workload and long hours bestowed on the retail heavyweight’s top-selling travel advisors post-COVID is continuing to ease.

Commenting on consultant productivity during last week’s investors call with media following the buyout of the UK’s luxury travel specialist Scott Dunn, Campbell admitted the onus on its frontline sellers even six months ago was “probably completely unsustainable”.

For context, and in the luxury space, since July 2022 FCTG’s premium leisure brand Travel Associates has welcomed the return of 30 travel advisors and recruited a further 17 brand-new travel executives to its ranks. Additionally, four Travel Associates businesses have completed renovations and two new locations are earmarked to open in the next six months.

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Campbell identified three drivers for the increased productivity on FLT’s leisure business as the travel giant continues its COVID recovery; firstly, investments during the pandemic “to make life easier” for consultants; second, the retention of “best of the best” high-performing consultants; and third, he said those consultants were “frankly, just so busy keeping up with demand that it was almost an enforced productivity increase.”

“And it was the third element that we weren’t happy [with] and knew wasn’t going to be sustainable.”

“We don’t want our people working all hours to meet the customer’s demands,” the Chief Financial Officer said.

“It’s an absolute credit to our consultants that they do that. They will put their customers before all else which is absolutely fantastic, but we don’t see that as being sustainable going forward,” Campbell added.

Adam Campbell, CFO, Flight Centre Travel Group.

“So we have started to see that ease back now. We’ve been actively recruiting through our shop networks.

“We’ve probably still got a little way to go but we’re a lot closer than we were six months ago in terms of having the right level of people in our shops, so our current productivity, I think would be sustainable in this space,” he said.

Credit: Yan Krukau/Pexels

Scott Dunn CEO remarks

Separately but related to Flight Centre Travel Group, in an interview in the UK following last week’s $211 million deal to buy Scott Dunn, CEO Sonia Davies, confirmed the sale was a “good news travel story”. She commented that the luxury travel company hadn’t actively been looking to be acquired, confirming Flight Centre Travel Group was one of a few businesses that were keen to buy.

Davies said Scott Dunn was drawn to FCTG’s history “steeped in travel” and its passion for travel. She highlighted the Australian company’s vision would “help accelerate our expansion globally”.

On the subject of current trends in the luxury space, Davies said Dunn’s customers cannot get enough of wildlife (great migration, whale migration) and culinary (Japan, South Africa and Costa Rica). The hottest seller at the moment for the UK-based company’s clients (in the UK, USA and Singapore) was the Galapagos and Ecuador.

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