Flight Centre Travel Group is embarking on a major five-year plan to boost its operations in Singapore.
Speaking to Travel Daily this week, Suyin Lee, the group’s managing director for Singapore, revealed that the group plans to expand its headcount from 160 to approximately 400 Singapore-based staff over the next five years.
It will also open a significant number of new retail outlets, growing from the four existing Singapore-based Flight Centre travel shops to between 10 and 12 in five years’ time. The number of corporate travel teams for the Flight Centre Business Travel and FCm Travel Solutions brands will also increase from 12 to 35, including a new focus on the MICE sector and SME business.
And this expansion comes despite a recent tightening of Singapore’s labour laws, which came into force in July this year. Ms Lee admitted that the laws had “put the brakes on” the company’s growth somewhat, by forcing it to hire and train up an increasing number of university and college graduates.
“We’re finding the labour market really competitive,” Ms Lee said. “Wages are being inflated but skill levels aren’t necessarily improving.”
But despite this, Ms Lee added that Flight Centre Travel Group still has “one of the highest [staff] retention rates in Singapore.”
In terms of customer offerings, the group is undertaking two major projects designed to bring it closer to its clients. Firstly, the company is developing a new range of branded products designed to turn the company from a travel agency into a wider travel retailer.
The group’s own Red Label Fares and Red Label Holidays, as well as its own hotel products, are intended to drive more revenues to the company, rather than simply selling third party products.
“We want to focus on key customer segments, and be able to manufacture and market products for these segments,” Ms Lee said. “We need to differentiate ourselves and carve out clear propositions for our customers.”
Part of this project will also see FCm Travel Solutions conduct further research into the needs of its customers, especially business travellers, in an effort to meet their requirements more effectively.
And these projects are expected to allow Flight Centre Travel Group to continue the rapid growth it has experienced in Singapore since it entered the market four years ago.
“Singapore is an incredibly exciting market with huge opportunities,” said Ms Lee. “There aren’t many places where you can [enter the market and] move into the top 10 within the space of four years.”
And with the company’s five-year plan now in place, Flight Centre Travel Group is expected to move even higher up Singapore’s travel charts in future.