Flight Centre invests in corporate-travel business

Travel retailer Flight Centre has made a 25 per cent investment in The Upside Travel Company, strengthening its presence in the global corporate travel sector.

Flight Centre, which is now the business’s largest shareholder, will gain access to its technology platform and software development resources, enabling it to fast track growth in the small-to-medium sized corporate sector.

“Upside is an emerging corporate travel business with an innovative customer offering that has the potential to disrupt traditional offerings in the SME sector in the future,” Graham Turner, Flight Centre’s managing director, said.

Turner said the business is taking steps to future proof its SME offerings, which it predominantly provides through its Corporate Traveller brand, while also creating a blended on and offline offering for customers.

Dean Smith, president of Flight Centre’s operations in the Americas, said the company planned to utilise Upside’s technology platform to grow Corporate Traveller’s digital offering.

“We’ve been impressed by the capability and flexibility of Upside’s technology and team to improve the business traveller experience,” Smith said.

For Upside, the deal will significant improve the business’s reach by giving it access to Flight Centre’s supplier relationships and global business.

“Flight Centre is the perfect partner for Upside as we get aggressive in serving small corporate clients,” Jay Walker, CEO of Upside, said.

“Not only does Flight Centre’s global scale, content and experience immediately make our product more complete and more credible, but [its] people and expertise also make us smarter, which is key as we accelerate into the future.”

The investment is the latest in a string of such moves by Flight Centre, which recently invested in Bangkok-based 30SecondsToFly, and the acquisition of travel companion app Sam :].

The enhanced Corporate Traveller option will initially only be available in the Americas, but will be pushed to the United Kingdom in the “medium-term”.

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