Travel technology.

WHY IT RATES: The products were demonstrated at the Business Travel Show in London and will help bring new travel technologies to the market. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer

Flight Centre Travel Group announced two new investments in its “Labs” program that will help bolster its capabilities to incubate and bring to market emerging travel technologies to its corporate brands.

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These two additions further increase the initiatives portfolio in key areas such as mobile and artificial intelligence (“AI”) and increase the program’s footprint to the technology development hubs of Barcelona and Bangkok.

Sam :], the award-winning mobile app already used by many of FLT’s corporate brands in several markets, has been fully acquired. FLT secured an initial 25 percent holding in Sam :] in 2017 when it acquired its holding in Paris-based 3Mundi. As a result of the deal, FLT has now become the sole owner and licensor of the product and will continue to drive the product roadmap to meet the needs of its corporate customers globally.

“We’re thrilled to bring the Sam :] team fully into the Flight Centre family,” said John Morhous, chief experience officer, FCTG Corporate Brands. “We’ve worked closely with the team and product for many years now and look forward to continuing to drive mobile innovation through the platform”.

Sam :] is currently used within FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveler, Campus Travel and Stage and Screen Travel, across 40-plus FLT markets.

In addition, FLT has increased its investment in 30SecondsToFly and its Claire product. FLT will have two-year exclusive use of Claire in the large global TMC category, and the product will be fully integrated into Sam :] to provide AI-powered chat and booking capability for customers. The investment will increase FLT’s stake in 30SecondsToFly to approximately 10 percent.

“Having worked with Flight Centre for a few years after their first investment, we know that they are an excellent investor and we’re very pleased that they have led our latest financing round. FLT has given us great help in building technology for TMCs and they fully support our plan to scale into the TMC market and establish Claire as the new standard for TMC call center automation. We are looking forward to implementing our technology for more of their customers.” said Riccardo Vittoria, CEO of 30SecondsToFly.

FLT demonstrated its latest iteration of these technologies during the Business Travel Show in London, on February 21-22, 2019. The show featured the launch of the Sam :] platform for the Corporate Traveler brand within the UK, with the Claire booking engine directly embedded into the platform.

SOURCE: Flight Centre press release.