Internet Business Soars as Flight Centre extends its Web

Flight Centre Limited has recorded a surge in online business over the past six months.

Latest statistics from independent web traffic monitor Hitwise for the period between April and October show that Flight Centre:

  • Consolidated its position as Australia’s leading travel agency site, while increasing its market share from 18.09% in April to 22.51% in October
  • Enjoyed strong growth in the broader travel market, moving from seventh in April to fourth in October in terms of overall visits to Australian travel sites

In the online travel agency sector, Flight Centre’s 22.51% market share placed it significantly ahead of its closest rivals, Webjet and lastminute.com.

In the broader online travel sector, flightcentre.com’s fourth ranking placed it behind only Virgin Blue, Qantas and mapping service Whereis Online.

Hitwise’s statistics for October also show that:

  • Flight Centre Limited’s online accommodation booking service, quickbeds.com, ranked 17th in the online travel sector
  • The company’s leisure online sites, escapetravel.com.au and studentflights.com, ranked 7th and 12th respectively in the agency sector.

Flight Centre Limited executive chairman Graham Turner said flightcentre.com.au’s surge in popularity coincided with the launch of the Search. Compare. Book. advertising campaign.

“This campaign kicked off in Queensland in April and was later extended throughout Australia to promote flightcentre.com’s ability to save customers time and money by offering Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue airfares on a single screen,” Mr Turner said.

“This high profile campaign has helped flight centre.com consolidate its position as Australia’s Number One agency site, while capturing a larger slice of the broader online travel market.

We expect further strong growth, particularly with the recent addition of enhanced accommodation offerings for our customers through Flight Centre Hotels.”

Flight Centre Hotels, which can be accessed online at www.flightcentre.com.au/hotels, offers customers accommodation specials at more than 20,000 resorts and hotels in Australia and overseas.

Offers include last-minute specials for customers travelling within the next 14 days and year-round rates for customers booking seven to 365 days in advance.

Mr Turner said flightcentre.com and the company’s stable of leisure online websites generated significant sales for the company, in addition to delivering enquiry to shops and providing travellers with general product information 24 hours a day.

“With flightcentre.com.au alone, we expect sales of $150m-$200m in the next 12 months,” he said.

“The internet is a very important adjunct to our sales network and means we are one of the few global players able to offer customers a choice of shop, web and telephone services.

Far from being a threat, the internet represents a growth opportunity for our company in the years ahead as we continue to improve the capabilities and the level of information for our customers.”