Evidence of the latest threat to the Canadian retail travel sector is probably right in your own wallet. It’s your Costco membership card.
TORONTO — It’ll be a meeting of the minds next week in Toronto, when Flight Centre Independent Agents from nearly every province convene for FCI’s Annual Cross-Canada Meetup.
Taking place on April 13-14 at Flight Centre’s flagship Travel Centre in downtown Toronto, this year’s Meetup will feature the launch of new booking tools, new marketing and social media initiatives, and a new fee model that gives agents the ability to customize and better control their program expenses. The weekend will also feature the inaugural independent Partner Appreciation Awards, during which supplier partners chosen by FCI agents will be recognized for their work.
“Our partners are extremely important to us at FCI,” said FCI General Manager Lee Zanello. “With Flight Centre’s Preferred Partnerships, not just in Canada but globally, we know they help us offer our agents the most extensive and supportive network in the country. I cannot wait to show our appreciation for all that they do with these upcoming awards.”
As FCI turns 10 years old this month, the weekend will also celebrate the January launch of sister U.S.-based brand, Independent by Liberty Travel.
“Independent by Liberty Travel has exceeded all of our initial expectations in the first few months,” says Flight Centre Vice President for the Independent Agent Brands in North America, Cameron McLeod. “There is a fantastic camaraderie between our Canadian and US businesses with Canada guiding the way with their 10 years of experience and the US able to contribute heavily with strong supplier relations and technology and systems innovations. It’s a fantastic time for Independent Agents to come on board with the company on both sides of the border.”
Flight Centre has three distinct Independent offerings working with individual Independent contractors, small agencies who appreciate the backend support and earning potential offered by a Global brand, and partners who have unique and specific requirements from a host agency.
“Our size and strength in the Canadian travel industry gives us the resources to work directly with each agent or agency on an individual basis,” Zanello says. “We aren’t cookie-cutter and we work hard to ensure we have a host solution that is flexible enough to fit pretty much any arrangement.”
Add to that a company culture that doesn’t take itself too seriously, she adds, “and you get opportunities like this that help people realize they are not just a part of our business, they are a part of our family.”
Flight Centre Independent is Flight Centre’s host-agency solution for Independent Contractors and has agents in nearly every province and territory in Canada. It operates as part of the larger Flight Centre Leisure business.