Escape Travel open again for franchise expansion

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

The Flight Centre Travel Group has turned its focus to expanding the Escape Travel franchise model that was first launched in 2005. Chief operating officer Melanie Waters-Ryan said "We believe now is the ideal time to build on these foundations by expanding our offering."

Just eight of the network's outlets are currently franchised; the model was put on hold while the company focused on growing its leisure and corporate travel brands in Australia.

"Through franchising we can work with experienced external travel professionals to grow this network more rapidly and, at the same time, build on the platforms that are already in place.

"Already we are being approached by agents who are affiliated to other franchise groups," said Waters-Ryan.

"Franchisees will have access to Escape Travel's global product range and the advertising, branding and marketing structure that have underpinned FLT's growth."

Potential benefits include IT and support services, centralised air ticketing, training and development programs, group buying, and wages and incentive structures.

"For Escape Travel, franchising represents a great opportunity to grow the brand's presence, both in cities and in regional areas, where franchising represents an extremely cost effective means of expansion," said Waters-Ryan.

"The franchise model that is in place is working well, delivering benefits to existing franchisees and the company as a whole at a time when a significant change is underway in the Australian travel industry's franchise sector.

The Flight Centre Travel Group recently announced results for 2012/13 which showed a 7.7 percent global increase in total transaction value to $14.3 billion. The underlying profit before tax increased to $343.1 million, a boost of 18.2 percent. The Australian business increased turnover nine percent.