Flight Centre-owned travel management company (TMC), FCm Travel, has entered into a unique partnership with IBM Corporation to distribute its channel loyalty programme worldwide.

IBM”s loyalty programme, Know Your IBM (KYI), is an internal rewards scheme for product distributors, who collect points from the amount of IBM products they sell which can then be redeemed for a variety of goods, including holidays, TVs and iPods.

Established in 2004 in Australia and New Zealand by Flight Centre-owned events company CiEvents, KYI was designed to boost education and sales performance of IBM resellers and distributors. Its success led to its implementation across Asia Pacific, where return on investment for IBM has reached 103%.

However, as CiEvents is an Australian subsidiary, Flight Centre had to look to another of its companies when IBM wanted to take the loyalty programme global. FCm was therefore awarded the business, which includes 80 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

CiEvents general manager relationship marketing, Dr David Cox, explained the deal was a first for a TMC: ”FCm is not only creating a niche service for its business, but one that provides a new revenue stream unrelated to travel. This represents a vast shift from the traditional role of travel agencies around the world and could potentially spark a new focus for TMCs in the future.”

A spokesperson for FCm was unable to outline how much the deal was worth, adding: ”The possibilities for this programme are huge. Although there are a minimum number of sellers in a country required to make the programme worthwhile, the profits are as much as anyone wants to sell or redeem IBM products.”

Whilst FCm offices in these countries are responsible for the local management of rewards and customer/reseller support, the strategic side of the programme ” including points management and logistics ” is run through the central Australian CiEvents office. The Australian company will also provide websites for the different countries, whereby loyalty programme customers can check and redeem their points.

The one exception to this rule is in the UK, where CiEvents has a small operation through which the loyalty programme will be run.

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