Optus Business has announced that the Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (Flight Centre) has signed a five year deal worth AU$75 million. The deal will see Optus deliver several collaboration and communication services to the international travel company.
The release seems to focus on elements of the deal that will support the Flight Centre in Australia. As part of the new contract, Flight Centre will migrate to the Optus CCaaS (Call Centre as a Service) platform. This platform will assist the Travel Centre in its growth strategy. It will also enable the company to flex as demand changes through the various seasons. Flight Centre has 1,150 stores and 9,000 staff across Australia. The Optus CCaaS will go into the dedicated Travel Centre call centres but it is not clear if it will also go into all stores. It will enable customers to interact with staff using a variety of channels to give a seamless experience. The call centre solution will be rolled out over the next twelve months.
As Flight Centre looks to compete with online brands this is important. Melanie Waters-Ryan, Chief Operating Officer, Flight Centre commented: “With the rapid pace of change both within our industry and in technology, Flight Centre has had to consistently change and keep raising the bar and value to our customers. Key to our successful transformation is the shared desire with Optus to deliver superior experiences for our customers”.
Interestingly the release also mentions the delivery of global security. Whether this means that Optus will deliver security aspects across the whole of the Travel Centre network is unknown. With the company reaching AU$1 billion revenue in four of its tens regions last year there is a requirement for that. Those regions were USA, Canada, Europe and New Zealand, but the deal doesn’t cover these areas. The deal also includes mobile services and an expansion to the global network, though details are scant.
The question is whether Travel Centre need to leverage its global scale more with its communication partners. As it grows it will need to build global relationships with global companies. It is surprising that more was not made of the global reach of Optus in this announcement.
Travel Centre is going through a digitalisation process at the moment. This investment is part of that initiative. Last July the Travel Centre appointed Atle Skalleberg, the new chief digital officer. That was the start of a new phase in the company’s digital transformation process. It is likely that this deal is part of that transformation.
While the call centre improves their competitiveness, there is nothing ground breaking about this announcement. It seems more operational improvement than transformation. Waters-Ryan commented “Building on our successful partnership with Optus, we are delighted to be investing in our critical technology platforms and capability to deliver a great service for our customers in Australia, in the retail stores, online and contact centres.”
For Optus this is a significant deal. It highlights that building Optus are capable not just of delivering communications solutions but of extending relationships. John Paitaridis, Managing Director, Optus Business commented: “As Australian organisations address the challenges of disruption, our ongoing strategic relationship between Optus and Flight Centre highlights the importance of partnership and collaboration in tackling evolving customer expectations in an ever-changing technology landscape.”
Whether that relationship extends substantially outside of Australia isn’t clear though. Whether Flight Centre is leveraging the wider SingTel network to deliver a global network reach isn’t clear.