2021/22 business year
The FTI GROUP is broadly positioned with various brands and subsidiaries. It consists of FTI Touristik, the last-minute operator 5vorFlug, the car rental broker driveFTI, the Destination Management Company Meeting Point International (operating in more than 40 locations worldwide) and BigXtra, a tour operator for promotional products. Under the umbrella of the hospitality company Meeting Point Hotels the GROUP’s hotel brands thrive: Labranda Hotels & Resorts, Design Plus Hotels, the Kairaba Hotels & Resorts, Lemon & Soul Hotels, Club Sei as well as the Meeting Point managed Hotels. Also, the FTI GROUP has consolidated its franchise systems in its subsidiary Touristik Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (TVG) with the brands sonnenklar.TV Reisebuero, 5vorflug and Flugboerse.
The tour operator manages its product portfolio in over 10,000 partner travel agencies in Germany. Other important distribution channels are the travel shopping channel sonnenklar.TV and the online B2B provider for hotel bookings, Youtravel. The consolidator FTI Ticketshop is responsible for scheduled flight ticket sales.
In Austria FTI is represented by a subsidiary in Linz, while FTI Touristik AG is located in Basel, Switzerland. The French tour operator FTI Voyages has been part of the FTI Group since 2012. In 2016 the group has entered the Dutch market with FTI Reizen. Eight service center, such as erf24 and travianet, handle bookings from the FTI GROUP and external customers. Headquartered in Munich, the FTI GROUP employs 11,000 staff worldwide.
FTI’s tour operator arm offers holidays in 120+ countries. The Group’s subsidiary, Meeting Point International operates in 17 countries.
In order to overcome the unprecedented crisis in tourism caused by Covid-19, the FTI GROUP has taken various measures since 2020 to strengthen the position of the company for the post-pandemic period. The stabilisation packages focus on the core business, leaner structures in the operative sector and the initiation of a multi-year transition process as well as a broad-based liquidity hedge. To this end the FTI GROUP accepted offers made available to the industry by the German federal government.
The tour operator group is currently profiting from the resources granted by the German Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) in the form of a silent partnership and three loans to accelerate its transformation and, for example, to advance digitalisation processes.
In order to advance digitalisation, the FTI GROUP focused on several major projects. These included the cloud migration of the FTI GROUP email servers, which was completed at the end of 2020 and the global rollout of the Arkadia merchandise management system for more automation and efficiency in the Destination Management Company Segment. An equally important project was the likewise global rollout of Atcore as software for the automation of hotel contracts and better Time2Market performance in data exchange with the i5 booking system. Another milestone was the conversion of multilingual travel information for 136 countries from printed customer documents to pdfs or links with the help of the cmi24 content management system - to name just a few. The modernisation steps of workflows and IT landscapes that have already been implemented and are still planned create synergies, increase efficiency and enable resource-saving work. They hence contribute to cost reductions and greater competitiveness in all areas of the company.
The FTI GROUP presents itself as particularly innovative with the introduction of the eMag in January 2021. The group is the first major tour operator to largely dispense with printed seasonal and annual catalogues, demonstrating its contemporary understanding of the customer and reaffirming its commitment to more sustainability and climate neutrality. This measure saves paper in large quantities, as up to now around 1.6 billion catalogue pages were produced per season in Germany alone, but also avoids the corresponding emissions from printing to delivery. Instead, the FTI GROUP provides with the eMag a digital medium with daily updated data, numerous additional information and features, picture galleries, video material, useful cross-links and much more for travel agencies and customers.
The eMag is thus a showcase project, decisive as part of the digital transformation as from an ecological point of view. In the same spirit, the FTI GROUP is also driving forward the Green Travel Transformation of the GTI in cooperation with other industry representatives. After researching and qualitatively validating all globally circulating sustainability certificates for hotel facilities, a uniform label was implemented in 2020 in the most widely used booking system in Germany, Amadeus/Bistro, in order to better include sustainable hotels in travel advice.
The FTI GROUP continues to uphold its ecological and social responsibility in the course of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, even in challenging times: the FTI main location in Munich for example has been awarded a LEED certification as particularly sustainable. The group also demonstrates a passionate commitment to biodiversity with the active adoption of several bee sponsorships and a social engagement to local charity projects. With the help of the WSF funds granted, the Group continues to pursue its corporate policy in this regard. For example, in addition to the aforementioned major projects eMag and Green Travel Transformation, an automatically calculated offset contribution per tonne of CO2 has gone to myclimate for every WINDROSE Finest Travel booking since 2021. A mobile working policy introduced in 2021 and a licence for MS Teams implemented for all employees also reduce travel distances and the need for business trips, thus contributing to the reduction of emissions. Further projects under the banner of ecological and digital transformation are being planned.
(Status: August 2021)
The FTI GROUP continued the digitalisation strategy that was already initiated in 2020. After the transfer of the email servers to cloud solutions was completed in 2020/21, the migration of the filing drives used in the company started in 2021/22. In addition, the Group primarily relied on Robotic Process Automation to realise manual work through automated data processing throughout Human Resources, Customer Service, the Flight Segment, eCommerce, Tour Operating, the Service Centres, the globally represented Destination Management Companies, RedSea24 in Egypt and Youtravel in the UK. The processes include, for example, check logics, comparisons and validation logarithms in invoice processing, prepared data exports for product feeds, relief mechanisms in B2B communication or the automation of various scheduled flight processes in the booking systems commonly used in the German speaking region.
The FTI GROUP also focused on upgrading its communication tools for the benefit of its employees: the relaunch of the Group's intranet took place in the summer of 2022, and at the same time the management announced an expanded mobile working policy. In this context, the Group purchased around 450 new laptops in addition to the existing ones in order to enable all employees to work flexibly regardless of their location and with the appropriate equipment.
At the same time, the group invested in security: leading cyber security software with automated endpoint threat detection and response technology, and a VPN client protected by security software guarantee secure working. The FTI Payment website was also upgraded with the latest fraud detection and protection technology.
Along with these investments in the digitalisation of the company, which have an immediate impact on the everyday life of the employees and the success of the company, the group also pays attention to looking further into the future. For example, it is investigating how blockchain technology can be used in tourism. Besides that, in early summer 2022 the Group signed a cooperation agreement with UnternehmerTUM, the award-winning start-up incubator of the elite TU Munich University, to develop AI projects via the Munich Urban Colab.
Karl Markgraf has been responsible for the management, further development and protection of the digital system worlds of the FTI GROUP since July 2022. He was appointed Chief Information Officer of the Group and joins the company from TeamViewer, where as CIO and COO he was responsible for the IT landscape, IT security, digitalisation, eCommerce and procurement processes, quality management including certifications and global technical support over the last four years.
The FTI GROUP also remains committed to sustainability and even strengthened its personnel in July 2022: Caroline Steimle has since been responsible for the group's sustainability activities as Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. Before joining the FTI GROUP, the CSR manager worked for more than three years at the German Committee for UNICEF e.V. and before that as co-director of Futouris e.V., a sustainability initiative known throughout the industry. Until the end of the current business year, the focus will be on the establishment of a CSR department and the development and coordination of a holistic FTI GROUP sustainability strategy.
Along with this, the company is striving to have the FTI GROUP's own hotels awarded Travelife For Accommodation as one of the world's most renowned certificates for sustainability. The cooperation between the approximately 50 accommodations from the group and Travelife was already decided in April 2022. As a result, the properties will go through elaborate documentation and optimisation processes as well as individual audits by the end of the tourist season in order to achieve "Gold Certified" status by the end of the financial year.
In the area of destination management, individual environmental and climate initiatives were also launched in summer 2022. Employee workshops, improved waste disposal concepts at the agency locations and clean-up campaigns with employees were implemented among other things.
In Tour Operating, the FTI GROUP offers webinars and e-learning about sustainability for sales partners in Germany and Austria. In addition, the Group is undertaking a test on the topic of CO2 offsetting with its tour operator WINDROSE Finest Travel: The luxury holiday provider has been automatically offsetting trips in the individual and group travel sector in cooperation with myclimate.org since January 2021 up to and including October 2022. The results of the test will be incorporated into the further development of the strategy.
(Status: August 2022)