Acquisitions: Flight Centre Ups DMC Business, Expands Into Hotels

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Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (FCTG) has announced two big acquisitions in Mexico and Asia.

FCTG has agreed to acquire 100 percent of the shares of Olympus Tours, a Mexico-based destination management company (DMC), and will be looking to close within the next 30 days. The move strengthens its in-destination offerings in key Americas markets such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, the company said.

This is FCTGs second DMC acquisition, which the company said complements the Asia-based Buffalo Tours business. FCTG said that both acquisitions will strengthen its expanding in-destination travel experiences network, which is the company's third core business pillar, alongside its leisure and corporate travel operations. The companys Australia-based headquarters has publicly flagged its intention to expand in the DMC sector through acquisitions and organic growth as part of a longer term plan to develop a global DMC.

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Dean Smith, president of FCTG, Americas, said that Olympus has been a partner for many years, and that the acquisition gives the company greater flexibility with customer offerings and the ability to create new products that can be sold through its global distribution channels.

From a business perspective, the move gives FCTG the opportunity to capture additional margin through vertical integration, the company said. Historically, FCTG said it has not captured a large share of customers in-destination spend. This acquisition increases possibilities and revenue streams notably, including the new ability to sell to other travel companies and providing DMC services to tour groups.

FCTG also announced the acquisition of Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia (BHMA), a Thailand-based regional operator of design and lifestyle leisure hotels and resorts. The deal marks FCTGs first investment in the hotel management sector. 

Managing director Graham Turner said of the acquisition, This is a logical first step into hotel management and will deliver numerous benefits. Through BHMA, we will gain access to a hotel operating platform that is scalable globally.

Turner also said that this business has been growing steadily since inception and is now taking on larger properties, which means it is aligned with FCTGs strategic aims.  The overarching expertise, in terms of people and processes, can be tapped into to expand FCTGs hotel management operations in Asia and into other key regions, including Australia, the South Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

The travel experiences network, which is headed by Brisbane-based executive Nick Lucock, now includes:

  • The Top Deck and Back-Roads touring businesses
  • The Buffalo Tours and Olympus Tours DMCs, which together generate in the order of $US100million in revenue annually. Services include transfers, excursions and day-trips, arrangements for meetings and incentive groups and land arrangements for cruises and other tour groups; and
  • The new hotel management business, which currently operates 14 properties in Thailand and has another 19 signed properties under development and due to open in Thailand and Vietnam

"Olympus will also deliver immediate benefits and, in the longer term, we will be able to draw on the team's proven expertise in this sector as we expand our DMC offering globally and particularly in key markets within the Americas, said Turner. "For example, we will now have a footprint for further expansion into mainland USA and Hawaii and into neighboring markets in the Caribbean and in South and Central America."

For existing customers and suppliers of Olympus Tours FCTG said it is business as usual with no disruption to the services provided in destination.

Visit www.fctgl.com

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