FCTG restores Cruiseabout in Australia

New dedicated cruise offices and wholesale division under development

FCTG’s former Cruiseabout branding

Flight Centre Travel Group is reviving its cruise brand, Cruiseabout, with new standalone offices and a dedicated wholesale cruise division for FCTG branded retail arms, as well as the wider Australian marketplace.

Cruiseabout was consolidated into the Flight Centre and Travel Associates retail brands five years ago under a rebrand strategy that was focused on three core leisure “super networks”.

The resurrection of the cruise brand will see the launch of a modernised version of Cruiseabout that will “signal a distinctive offering in market for Australian cruisers,” said James Kavanagh, CEO of Leisure Brands, Flight Centre Travel Group.

“We’re able to offer a modernised and refreshed retail cruise brand to customers who have been missing out for years now. Our model, with its national footprint, Australian based-call centre and online booking functionality all serviced by specialst cruise experts, will be the only one of its kind in Australia,” Kavanagh said.

LATTE can reveal the brand’s relaunch already includes what appears to be a ‘holding’ website of cruiseaboutdeals.com which teases early details of the reborn Cruiseabout brand.

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Citing CLIA’s 2023 Industry Report, FCTG said the global industry is on track to carry approximately 31 million passengers in 2023, growing to 39 million by 2027.

“The global cruise industry is thriving once more, rebounding faster than international departures and arrivals,” he said.

James Kavanagh, Global Leisure Travel CEO, Flight Centre Travel Group

“We know from research that cruise has a high return rate for travellers with 85% of cruisers intent to cruise again and globally, there is approximately 4 million worth of brand new cruise customers predicted to cruise over the next 18 months.

“We want to be part of the cruise industry’s growth story with our revived offering,” Kavanagh said.

The Cruiseabout brand aims to capitalise on this growth and complements FCTG’s diverse portfolio of leisure brands, including Flight Centre, Travel Associates, Scott Dunn, MyCruise and its fast-growing FCTG Independent division, all of which offer their own distinct product range in this growing segment.

Primarily focused on the Fly-Cruise segment, Cruiseabout will offer tactical cruise deals and exclusive rates as well as exclusive product with key suppliers, all leveraged under the FCTG group position and global supply network.

A former Cruiseabout storefront

“Our cruise customers – whether they book online, over the phone or through a cruise expert in-store – will have access to FCTG’s entire range of cruise options, as well as competitive bundled deals on airfares, hotels, tours and more, which is unrivalled in the Australian marketplace,” said Kavanagh.

Customers will have access to deals via three core channels including centrally located concept stores, online’ bookability’ and a Gold Coast-based call centre.

Alongside the launch of the customer-facing Cruiseabout brand, FCTG will also establish a dedicated cruise wholesaler to support the complex wholesale requirements of cruise packages.

The Cruiseabout relaunch includes what appears to be a temporary website of cruiseaboutdeals.com

Greg Parker, FCTG’s CEO of Supply, said the wholesale offering would service the needs of FCTG brands as well as external independent agencies via exclusive pricing of unique bundled packages.

“We’re designing a new-age trade B2B model to allow best-to-market product packaging and bundling that promotes added value for our partners and customers alike.

“We can offer exclusive pricing and product across airfares, charters, groups, nets and commits, and bundle these together with hotels, transfers and tours for an unrivalled partnering model,” Parker said.

The wholesaler will also offer products and promotions on white-label products and B2B sites.

Cruiseabout’s Call Centre and online booking capabilities will launch towards the end of this year, with a retail shop to follow in early 2024. Recruiting for roles across the retail network, call centre and wholesale division will commence shortly.

The FCTG website is promoting career opportunities at Cruiseabout here.

Creative Cruising recruiting for new GM

Meanwhile, the launch of a dedicated wholesale Cruiseabout business coincides with the integration this month of Express Travel Group and its cruise wholesaler, Creative Cruising, into the Helloworld ecosystem following its acquisition.

Interestingly, Creative Cruising is searching for a new General Manager, LATTE can reveal, and three other positions including an Operations Supervisor, Inside Sales & Marketing Executive and Cruise Reservations Agent. Before the merger, Caroline Hitchen had been General Manager of Creative Cruising for 4.5 years and with the brand for 5.5 years.

According to the job listing shared on LinkedIn, the roles are part of a “revamp of the team to meet the voracious Australian appetite for cruise”.

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