Flight Centre Travel Group began their Australia wide 2018 ‘World Travel Expo’ series last weekend in Brisbane and Perth with early booking numbers looking very positive.

The Australian travel industry tends to regard the Flight Centre Expo season as a bit of a new year ‘crystal ball’ as to where customer sentiment may end up for everyone in the months to come.

Whilst for punters at this time of year, the Christmas festivities are already a distant memory, the kids are back at school (thank goodness) and it’s time to start actioning those new year travel plans and goals from all of the dreaming, research and heated debates on ‘where to go’ that went on in the summer holidays.

This year, the annual free event is back with a bang and has a new ‘World Travel Expo’ name, a refreshed look and feel and an enhanced marketing strategy with additional supplier partners onboard to up the ante for 2018 and entice more interest in bringing the ‘Your ticket to amazing deals’ tagline to life.

The new look 'World Travel Expo'

The new look ‘World Travel Expo’

The first of the year’s events kicked off in Brisbane and Perth last weekend with Flight Centre reporting a high level of confidence and desire to book and “fantastic” deals on offer, to continue the universal travel industry rally cry that ‘There has never been a better time to travel”.

The good news for everyone it seems, is that already this year, many of those punters have shifted from the often previous non-committal, tyre kicking notion of “Let’s just pop down later to have a looksie and grab some pretty brochures and free stuff,” to “Let’s get down there super early and book ourselves a deal.”

Speaking exclusively to KARRYON, Darren Wright, GM P.A.C.E Leisure Australia, Flight Centre Travel Group said;

“Demand for this season’s World Travel Expo’s has been huge. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane being our biggest events with over 150,000 eager travellers expected to attend. Last weeks Brisbane and Perth events were both up in attendance year on year with overall bookings very strong.”

Darren Wright, GM P.A.C.E Leisure Australia, Flight Centre Travel Group

World Travel Expo Brisbane

World Travel Expo Brisbane

Wright attributed the range of fantastic Expo deals from all of their supporting partners as well as changing customer behaviour around booking closer to travel as key reasons for this year’s success.

“The deals on offer are some of the best ever with flights as low as $855 return to the USA from Brisbane and Perth to London return from $949 as well as 20% off many Coach Touring and Small Group Journey products”.

Wright went on to say, “We’re seeing customers become less airline loyal than they used to be and are now often happier to book a cheaper flight on an airline they’ve never flown with before. They’re also holding out longer to book than they used to for a better deal, including the traditional ‘long-term’ planning baby boomers who are seemingly shortening their booking times from the previous average of 18 months out down to 6-10 months from travel.”

Student Flights Marketing Manager, Laura Allman says that a new, differentiated marketing approach as well as the Expo’s new ‘World Travel Expo’ name and look and feel has also helped drive increased interest and demand for the events.

“We’ve dialled up our approach considerably this year and are using a variety of channels to advertise the events in different regions. From increased radio to new, targeted ideas across Social Media and TV, we’ve already seen a big lift in the enquiry this year for event tickets.”

Student Flights Marketing Manager, Laura Allman

The Brisbane event also showcased Live Facebook ‘deal broadcasts’ featuring the Flight Centre Captain himself and host (and Flight Centre Agent) Greer Gardiner from the ’48hr Destination’ TV series that the group produced in-house.

In terms of which destinations are in hot demand right now, Allman went on to say that;

“All of the usual suspects including the U.S.A, London, Bali and Phuket are selling well with newer players such as Japan, Greece and Iceland also high on people’s wish lists.”

This coming weekend see’s the World Travel Expo roll into Sydney as well as Townsville, with Melbourne (17/18 Feb), Adelaide (24/25 Feb), Cairns and Canberra (25 Feb), the Gold Coast (4 Mar and (11 Mar) to follow.

Flight Centre will also hold in-store ‘World Travel Expo’s’ for regional stores in the coming months.

For more information, visit www.travelexpo.net.au

Are you seeing increased demand for travel in 2018? Share your thoughts below.