New LTC Member Portfolio agencies in the wings

Three "big" travel agencies set to join FCTG's Luxury Travel Collection

At least three well-known Australian travel agencies are on the verge of joining Flight Centre Travel Group’s Luxury Travel Collection Member Portfolio (LTCMP), with one as early as next month, LATTE can exclusively reveal. What is more, the LTC Member Portfolio will also extend its reach into New Zealand this year.

Speaking exclusively with LATTE last weekend on the Gold Coast during the LTC Luxury Product Showcase, Rachel Kingswell, Director of LTC Independent Portfolio and GM, Travel Associates AU/NZ foreshadowed a trio of “big new clients” in Australia would align with LTCMP by the end of the year, some of which in the next few weeks.

Currently with some 400 members in the Luxury Travel Collection (be that within the Travel Associates as wholly-owned, franchises or home-based and Luxury Travel Collection Member Portfolio), Kingswell says the network will total more than 500 by the end of the calendar year.

Inaugural LTC Member Portfolio agency attendees: Nicole Grant, Destination HQ; Gemma Smith, Claremont Cruise & Travel Centre; Cath McDiarmid and Mandy Finlayson, Emma Whiting Travel; Byron Horne, Bicton Travel; Hilary Weir, Dream Maker Travel; and Nikki Glading, GM LTC Member Portfolio.

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The LTC Member Portfolio will also welcome its first overseas agency in March, with the name yet to be revealed.

“New Zealand will be the next market that we move into very quickly. There is a strong opportunity that we’ll aim to seize as there’s no one else in that space,” she said.

Given the rapid growth of FCTG’s luxury advisor network, LATTE queried if a standalone annual celebration similar to that of Global Ball for the ‘red and white’ brand may be on the cards. Kingswell said an event isn’t scheduled for 2024 “but it is definitely on the radar for next year… it’s definitely in the pipeline.”

“[FCTG’s] Independent network had a very successful celebration event and more people are asking for the same in the luxury network,” she said.

FCTG Luxury Collections Michelle Keatinge, Shannon Fogarty, Danielle Galloway, Rachel Kingswell and Anna Burgdorf

Independent growth is huge, Danielle Galloway, Global Managing Director of the Luxury Leisure Division FCTG said.

“We are rapidly growing across all markets now,” Galloway said, referring to the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. She said there have been some “significant wins” coming through from independent contractors.

“We’ve got a $600 million pipeline of close wins in the US. Canada has a really strong pipeline, New Zealand has a strong pipeline.”

Capitalising on that growth, Flight Centre Travel Group today unveiled one global brand for its independent network called Envoyage, with the North American markets adopting the new identity immediately.

Galloway forecasts overseas independent markets will quickly overtake Australia.

“I do see that those regions are going to be our key markets in terms of being our highest independent portfolio, whereas at the moment the Australian landscape has been because we’ve been managing it locally, however that’s not a true reflection of what the potential is.”

FCTG's new branding for its global Independent network, Envoyage

Beyond the independent contractor market, travel agencies in North America are FCTG’s “biggest focus” right now. “There is still a great opportunity for us to bring in contractors or agents, but the focus is agencies.”

Quizzed if there had been any consideration in the past year towards launching the Luxury Travel Collections’s other retail agency, Scott Dunn, in Australia, Galloway said the focus for that ultra-luxury brand is pinpointed on the US market.

New leadership and sales teams have been implemented in Scott Dunn’s US offices, “so that’s the priority right now. Getting the US right. So no immediate plans to bring it into Australia,” Galloway told LATTE.

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