Flight Centre targets youth travellers and further online growth

Universal Traveller brand set for take off

Universal Traveller brand set for take-off

The Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) company unveiled plans to launch a new brand, Universal Traveller (UT), to predominantly target travellers aged between 18 and 35.

FLT managing director Graham Turner said UT would effectively expand on the company’s previous Student Flights offering in Australia by offering tailored and exclusive products to a broader range of travellers.

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“This is an exciting brand enhancement for our people, our customers and our suppliers and is geared towards increasing our share of this large market sector,” Mr Turner said.

“Student Flights, the brand that we have traditionally used to target this demographic, was launched in Australia in the mid-1990s as a dedicated flight offering for students and backpackers.

“Since then, the customer base and product offering have significantly evolved, but this evolution into a full-service agency – with world-class offerings for younger travellers across a number of key product ranges – was not reflected in the brand name.

“This was hampering its growth potential.

“We believe Universal Traveller more accurately reflects the brand’s specialisation and will resonate with the broader customer base of students, backpackers and young professionals that its core products are targeted at and will appeal to.”

Through UT, FLT will continue to offer the student and youth fares that Student Flights is famous for, along with other exclusive and tailored products among six core product categories.

These categories are:

  • Flights – including the exclusive Black Market range of discounted and flexible fares for students and under-30s.
  • FIT (fully independent traveller)
  • Touring, particularly Topdeck and Contiki
  • Adventure – including small groups and expedition
  • Festivals; and
  • Ancillary, which includes tailored insurance and interest-free offers

The 52 Student Flights shops in Australia will be rebranded to UT from early in the 2019/20 fiscal year. The Student Flights colours, style and Never Stop Travelling marketing tagline will be maintained in the new branding.

FLT plans to expand the Universal Traveller shop network in the future, predominantly within the youth precincts in major shopping centres.

The UT launch is the latest in a series of enhancements to FLT’s youth offerings in recent years.

Further news, the company, which operates a number of dedicated online travel agency (OTA) brands and leisure travel websites and apps, has moved to increase its online market-share in Australia by:

  • Introducing StudentUniverse to target the youth and student market: StudentUniverse, which currently operates in the United States and United Kingdom, will soon launch in Australia and will operate alongside UT as a dedicated online business targeting students and the broader youth sector.
  • Removing online booking fees from the flagship flightcentre.com.au website

FLT managing director Graham Turner said both moves were geared towards delivering cheaper fares to travellers and were aligned with the company’s strategy of developing all sales channels to enhance the customer experience.

“Our websites and apps are important sales channels within our overall travel offerings and we’re seeing solid growth in both online transactions and interactions,” he said.

“By removing online booking fees from flightcentre.com.au, we are delivering better deals to travellers and ensuring our fares are more affordable than those that are available on many other prominent travel websites.

“StudentUniverse’s Australian launch will give young travellers the ability to access student and youth only deals online, rather than requiring them to book and validate these types of offers in-store.”

StudentUniverse was launched in the United States in 2000 and has grown to become a leading global player in the student travel sector.

The business, which offers exclusive flight and travel deals to the student and youth markets, expanded into the United Kingdom in 2013 and was acquired by FLT in 2015.

StudentUniverse managing director Mike Cleary said Australia was the third-largest English-speaking market for international students behind the US and the UK, so the launch was a logical step in developing and expanding StudentUniverse’s services to a global market.

“We’re very excited about studentuniverse.com.au’s launch and our potential in Australia,” Mr Cleary said.

“Our technology and online booking experience are geared towards making travel easier and more convenient than ever for students and youth and will continue to be the foundation of serving our customers.

“We look forward to bringing the online experience and exclusive deals our customers enjoy to this important region.”

StudentUniverse Australia will launch with more than 40 airline partners, including unique partnerships with Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines and Air China.

In addition, StudentUniverse Australia will offer flights from more than 100 different airlines, allowing students to travel worldwide with exclusive discounts.

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