Hopping Around the Planet

Australia’s Flight Centre Travel Group leverages ITB Berlin in the search for exciting new product

Natalie Gosselin, Product Manager & Team Leader, Global Product, Flight Centre Travel Group, in Sydney, Australia, has a responsibility for contracting hotels and ground handling options for the group’s global wholesale leisure businesses. We asked her to tell us what she’s looking for at ITB Berlin this year.

At ITB Berlin, I’m looking to discuss opportunities with my existing hotel contacts, but also source new, exciting product to add into our range. I’m also keen this year to explore new destinations for us to sell.

You are particularly interested in luxury locations. Why do you think the luxury market is growing as quickly as it is?

The average customer these days has higher and higher expectations for their holiday getaways and as an industry I think we’ve risen to the challenge of providing them with great product at better than ever prices. People are willing to take maybe one less trip a year but to go that little bit extra in terms of price to stay somewhere really cool and exciting.

What trends are you noting in terms of demand?

I work specifically in the Asia space, and we’re seeing increased interest in “new” destinations that once were seen as niche or simply too hard – for example Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan and more recently India and Nepal are back on a lot of people’s radar.

How important is ITB Berlin as a source of business and inspiration for you, and why?

I really enjoy ITB Berlin for many reasons. It’s great to see so much product under one roof, including destinations I may never get to – as a self-confessed travel junkie this is not helping me reduce my bucket list of go to destinations in any way. Professionally however I find that the suppliers are there to have serious conversations and do business – the time of year is great also as I’m formulating my contracting and destination plans. The atmosphere of the event is also thrilling – there’s a definite buzz in the halls and the excitement is contagious