Author Archives: Skroo Turner

About Skroo Turner

Graham 'Skroo' Turner was raised near Stanthorpe, and trained as a veterinary surgeon. In 1973, he and two mates bought a couple of double-decker buses in England and began a holiday travel company, Top Deck Travel.

Five minutes with Skroo…. Rob Flint

rob corp image june 2012Read on to get the low-down from my Executive Taskforce about what makes Flight Centre tick.

Rob Flint, Executive General Manager – Global Corporate Operations

How long have you been with Flight Centre?

23 years

Could you tell me about your Flight Centre journey? How did you come to work for the company and how did you progress through the ranks?

Early in my career I lived in Europe, working for an Australian-owned, coach-based travel business. We were in direct competition with Top Deck, targeting the young and adventure travel market. Of course, Skroo owned Top Deck, so even though I never met him at that time, that was when I first learned about the business that went on to become Flight Centre.

The Travel Shop of the Future

Over recent months, the Flight Centre brand and stores have been tweaked, and in some instances overhauled, to bring them in-line with our customer expectations and to ensure we’re talking to our market.

Queen St Brisbane

We’re currently re-designing our look and feel of the Flight Centre Airfare Expert stores in Australia to make them more modern, welcoming and visually appealing. We’ve also opened two Hyperstores in Australia in Perth and Queen St Mall in Brisbane. These stores house all the Flight Centre brands including Round the World Experts, Business Travel, Groups Travel, Airfare Experts and more, so our customers can come in-store and get the best possible service and value for all their travel needs.

We’ve also recently made some tweaks to the brand, including bringing on board a new Captain. We’ve had some varied feedback about the Captain so far… An example of our new Captain is below and I welcome feedback.


The Hyperstore Concept for Flight Centre UK

HyperstoreThe Hyperstore is the model of the future and is designed to overcome the inherent weaknesses in a single shop model. The Hyperstore will deliver consistent customer experience through strong high traffic locations, extended opening hours, higher staff numbers which means greater expertise, increased leadership and more prominent branding and merchandising due to the size of the single location.

Across the UK we have 10 Flight Centre Brand Hyperstores, employing 168 consultants and by 2017 we’ll have replaced more boutique retail shops and over 665 consultants will work within the Hyperstores.

Flagships will be used to drive the FCB product growth strategy. So for example FCB will use Flagships to spearhead the sales of Cruise, Adventure & Long Haul Holidays. There will be dedicated branding and marketing in the windows and in-store which may use other niche brands to promote our expertise in these products/services/destinations.

The Hyperstores will hold regular coordinated events that enable and encourage customers to visit our stores. These will be nationally and locally marketed and will be aligned with national marketing campaigns.

A recent interview with Leading Company “Apple picking days: Flight Centre’s Graham Turner on his path to leadership” Source: Leading Company

m_m_graham-turner-flight-centre“The people around me all believed, and we were in the right place at the right time, and we were all really focused on us growing and becoming a large operation. We were pretty ambitious.”

While some people are content running a small business, Turner always had bigger plans. Flight Centre is now in 11 countries and is led by a team of 12 key people.

“I can’t run it all from here… Now I’m really just there as a bit of a figure head.”
Before being a leader, Turner says you have to “really think about it”.

“A lot of people aspire to leadership without thinking about it much. Some people have the genes to want to lead and have the ability to lead a business, but generally the majority of people weren’t meant to lead.

“You can learn to become better at your strengths and lessen your weaknesses, but that’s really a learning experience over a long period of time. If leadership is stressful for you, then it’s probably not something you should be doing.”

Click here to view the article.

Peter Wataman – 5 minutes with Skroo…

WatamanMy series of Q&As with Flight Centre’s Senior Leaders continues…

How long have you been with Flight Centre?
Nine years

What is your current role?
Chief Information Officer

Could you tell me about your Flight Centre journey? How did you come to work for the company and how did you progress through the ranks?
I was appointed as Flight Centre’s IT Leader in 2004. At that time, technology was very much buried as a back-end business. It was a difficult role because the perception of technology within the company was that it was a necessary evil. Existing systems didn’t work the way they needed to, and it was clear there was no inspiration. We needed to transform IT into a key enabler for the business, and change the negative perceptions.

Flight Centre RSA awarded the Best Medium Sized Company to Work For and The Best Company to work for in the Tourism sector.

TrophyJanine Salame, Managing Director Flight Centre South Africa writes ”Wow. We are truly humbled and proud of our entire family in Flight Centre South Africa. It was announced today at the Deloittes Awards Ceremony that we are officially the Best Medium Sized Company to Work for in South Africa as well as The Best Company to work for in the Tourism sector.”

Janine attributes this award to: “For the past 2 years we have been really driving the following mantra:

“Our Customers love what we do and Our People do what they love”

We continue to keep our ear on the ground and as a Swot team we are dedicated to develop, deploy and discipline the right strategies that will growth the business and grow our people.
We stick to the basic fundamentals of the Flight Centre business model and we committed to keep it consistent month on month: Buzz nights, Staff conference’s, Planning days and our 101′s and communication platforms.

Our open door policy suites us well and our staff can address any Swot member at any time.
We are confident that we have the right incentives and recognition platforms to drive the right behaviour within all our Brands.

We are also focused on the Right people in the right roles within the entire organisation. And our new recruits are recruited on the bases of culture fit, sales potential and natural progression of growth.

Our recruiters clearly understand the brands they recruit for and have a great understanding of the Flight Centre culture and drivers within the organisation.

We have a Swot team who are fully dedicated to the development of our people and we run different leadership sessions, of which each executive is involved in sharing and developing the talent within the organisation.”

Update from a recent trip to the Republic of South Africa

RSA store

New Hyde Park Shopping Centre Store

Chris Galanty from the UK, CFO Andrew Flannery and I visited RSA Head Office, Hyde Park shop and the Sandton Shopping Centre in South Africa last week. We were hosted by the Flight Centre Limited Managing Director, Janine Salame. My general impression is one of good feelings, good morale and a generally high level of competency. A very experienced senior team, well lead and getting good results in Rand.

One major and quite pleasing difference from my last visit is that our People are now 26% African compared with maybe 1% some years ago and this % is rising fast. The major secret seems to be an African recruiter who can recruit successfully not only for sales and business success but also for cultural alignment with our company.


News: Flight Centre Name Change

Following a change in its board of directors, Flight Centre has announced plans to change its Flight-Centrename.

Flight Centre will become Flight Centre Travel Group in order to highlight diversity and growth in corporate travel and niche leisure travel sectors, the company said in a statement to the ASX.

Flight Centre Limited is the parent company to over 30 different brands.

Read more at:

Five minutes with Skroo – Michael Murphy

My series of Q&As with Flight Centre’s Executive Taskforce continues…

Michael Murphy, Emerging Business Leader

Michael Murphy
How long have you been with Flight Centre?

17 years

Tell me about your Flight Centre journey.

I started at the Chermside Flight Centre store in Brisbane in 1996 and then went to Vancouver, Canada for 6 years with the company. My beautiful wife made me apply for the job because I was at home too much during a mid-career hiatus. I was spending too much time watching rugby, sleeping in and partying. She works at Royal Brisbane Hospital and was treating a Flight Centre Team Leader who had broken her leg in Greece. They got chatting about FCL and what a great company it was. The Team leader said I should apply, as FCL look for people with no experience or talent……so I applied and for some reason they hired me. Read More >>

Five minutes with Skroo….

Read on to get the low-down from my Executive Taskforce about what makes Flight Centre tick…cbowman

Colin Bowman, Executive General Manager of Global Marketing

How long have you been with Flight Centre?

I’m just about to celebrate 9 years with the company.

What was your professional background before coming on board with Flight Centre?

I’ve had a variety of marketing roles with some of Australia’s most iconic brands, including Kraft, Décor and Ansett. I also worked as a management consultant for many years with Andersen Consulting, PwC and BDO. I’ve been lucky enough to work in many industries including pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing and publishing.