Flight Centre Travel Group has merged its two SME-focused divisions – Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) and Corporate Traveller – and has announced a major investment in technology for the newly-expanded business.
It said although the pair have evolved as separate business divisions over the last 15 to 20 years, there were “too many synergies”.
FCBT customers and staff will begin to transition to Corporate Traveller on June 1.
“Like all companies and brands in the travel industry, FCBT has been affected by Covid-19,” said Steve Norris, Managing Director EMEA, Flight Centre Travel Group.
“However, the decision to merge FCBT with Corporate Traveller was not as a direct result of the pandemic. Covid-19 has brought to the forefront the need to make the best investment decisions by our people and our customers.
“Having a single SME brand for our investments will lead to a better customer experience instead of spreading investment across two separate brands servicing similar customer types.”
FCBT regional offices in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds have closed but staff will be incorporated into the Corporate Traveller offices located in each of these cities.
Norris said redundancies have been “unfortunately necessary due to the downturn in trade and expected recovery timeframes” but the remaining 135 FCBT employees will move across to Corporate Traveller.
Established in the UK in 2005, FCBT was set up to meet the increasing demand from customers of Flight Centre’s leisure agencies for personal local business travel services.
In the UK, FCBT has around 2000 SME customers ranging from individual business owners to larger companies who typically spend £50,000 to £1m per annum on corporate travel.
Corporate Traveller launched in the UK in 1999 and provides dedicated business travel services to 2,500 SME customers with an annual business travel spend of £50,000 to £4m. It has 240 staff at 15 locations nationwide.
Andy Hegley, UK General Manager Corporate Traveller, said: “This new direction also means that former FCBT customers will have access to innovative new technology that is being developed by Corporate Traveller, but they will still receive the same personal service from their usual FCBT travel expert.”
Customers handled by FCBT in Ireland will be managed by Flight Centre’s global travel management company, FCM, in Dublin.
FCBT has also merged with Corporate Traveller in Canada and South Africa but FCBT continues to operate in Australia and New Zealand.