Flight Centre Travel Group’s Luxury Travel Collection was officially launched in Sydney this week when seven foundation agencies publicly joined the Member Portfolio and were celebrated at a cocktail reception at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.
The portfolio of independent brands includes Bicton Travel, Claremont Travel and Cruise, Destination HQ, Dream Maker Travel, Emma Whiting Travel and Cruise, Travel Experts, and Home Travel Company.
The Luxury Travel Collection (LTC) emerged last year following the acquisition of Scott Dunn in the UK, signalling FCTG’s strategy to make a stronger play at the high-net-worth traveller, and then the purchase of Luxperience from Diversified Communications Australia.
Scott Dunn and Flight Centre’s homegrown luxury brand, Travel Associates, were the first retail businesses within the overarching division, accompanied by Luxperience and FCTG’s consumer-facing, The Luxury Travel Event.
Last June, LATTE revealed the next move for the Luxury Travel Collection was the Member Portfolio, headed up by Nikki Glading as General Manager, and overseen by Travel Associates’ GM for AU/NZ, Rachel Kingswell.
“Tonight, we are celebrating an amazing group of hand-selected independent members that have joined our purpose-built luxury house, based on common vision and luxury credentials. Our goal is to continue listening to the needs of our brands and our clients and ensure that we build the right foundations for future growth,” Glading said at the celebration event.
Danielle Galloway, Global Managing Director of Luxury Leisure for FCTG was transparent about the inspiration for the rapid growth of the Luxury Travel Collection, attributing the brand’s development to that of French company, LVMH, the world leader in luxury.
LVMH, or Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, has a multinational portfolio of 75 prestigious brands, including a number in the travelsphere such as Belmond, Cheval Blanc, Bulgari (which operates a collection of hotels) and Starboard (which operates luxury retail outlets on cruise ships).
“Our team’s research identified how LVMH has brought together distinctive brands which all differ with their own uniqueness, all of which are a powerhouse in the luxury space,” Galloway said.
“LVMH was the inspiration to do something similar in the travel space, to become a “luxury house of travel,” she said.
“We’re on our pathway, not just locally, but also globally.”
Galloway confirmed the Luxury Travel Collection was already looking abroad for new growth.
“We’ll quickly expand the luxury house into New Zealand, the US and also Canada,” she said.
Further, the growth path for the Luxury Travel Collection will extend beyond additional members, with Galloway confirming “it will also be from additional acquisitions” and other partnerships. That strategy was foreshadowed by James Kavanagh, Global CEO of Leisure for FCTG who revealed to LATTE in November the growth may be domestic or international and may come from outside travel.
Galloway said loyalty will also be a crucial vertical for the luxury house, confirming LTC will expand into the loyalty market. “There will be a great opportunity and [loyalty] will be right at the epicentre of what we do at the Luxury Travel House,” she said.
“The epicentre of what we’re creating in the house, and what was important to all the team, is that we made sure that it was different in the marketplace, so we could enter each marketplace with that distinction and difference.”
“At the centre was the consumer and the independents. Core to our investment and how we will grow our luxury travel house.”
The global luxury travel boss said feedback highlighted the importance of the end-to-end booking process, having a tailored bespoke product gallery and “exceptional events, which are key to our clients and members”. That includes the luxury consumer event on the Gold Coast this month building on the success of the Sydney showcase.
Productivity and technology investments and acquisitions dedicated to the luxury space are also on the pathway.
And partnerships remain paramount to the success of the Luxury Travel Collection.
“We want to lead the way in the luxury space and to bring some really exciting things at the forefront of that which will lure some high-net-worth customers into our community.”
“We’re not the only ones growing though. All of you are growing as well in this incredibly strong partnership,” Galloway added.
Tuesday night’s event was a celebration for the seven members to join the luxury house.
“They are distinctive in every way and run incredible businesses, and are a perfect fit for the luxury house.
The foundation brands combined are selling more than $1 billion in luxury sales.
Luxury Travel Collection partnered with Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises for Tuesday’s event.