Stage and Screen Travel Services, the entertainment and sports travel management brand of Flight Centre Travel Group, has won a five-year contract to provide travel management to SANZAR – a joint venture between the rugby unions of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, commencing 1 October 2015.

In one of the most significant sports travel contracts awarded in Australia, Stage and Screen will manage travel for the body charged with running two of the world’s pre-eminent rugby competitions - Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship.

The contract includes end-to-end travel management for all games played within the Super Rugby competition between February and August, as well as The Rugby Championship including the prestigious Bledisloe Cup. Stage and Screen will oversee travel logistics for all teams including players, coaches, management and support crews from across SANZAR’s key regions.

Stage and Screen’s 20 years of experience in moving elite athletes around the world and managing group travel combined with innovative technology-based solutions were key factors in the win, according to the company’s general manager Tiziano Galipo.

“We have a broad portfolio of high profile sports clients and have worked on everything from international tours to large scale international events such as the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, one of the largest sporting events in Australasia,” Mr Galipo said.

“Through our wealth of experience we understand the very different needs of elite sports people and we focus on ensuring their travel is seamless and trouble-free, even when there are last-minute changes. At the group level, Stage and Screen is also very skilled in managing complex travel logistics with multinational itineraries and large volumes of excess baggage. We’ve got worldwide relationships with travel suppliers with whom we can negotiate directly for the benefit of our clients.”

Mr Galipo said Stage and Screen’s customised service approach would deliver dedicated, personal service and local travel management support for all SANZAR teams.

“Under our service model, each team across SANZAR's key regions will have a dedicated Stage and Screen travel manager. This will ensure the team managers and players have a single point of contact for all of their travel needs which includes 24/7 support when and wherever required.

“As part of our unique service model for SANZAR, Stage and Screen has appointed a 'Travel Relationship Manager' (TRM) who is an experienced corporate travel leader and rugby devotee. The TRM will be on site with SANZAR each week to ensure hands-on service and effective communication among all stakeholders,” Mr Galipo said.

“Our personal service approach will be supported by Stage and Screen’s advanced travel technologies, including an online booking tool and automated reporting, which will bring greater efficiencies to SANZAR’s travel management as a whole.”

SANZAR Interim Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Morris, said Stage and Screen’s experience and service commitment would ultimately help SANZAR’s competitors perform at their best.

“Rugby is a sport that’s loved and watched with a passion across the world and we must ensure our players are in the best possible condition for every game. 

“Logistics are a significant part of this, particularly in one of the world's most challenging and travel-intensive competitions so it’s critical that our teams’ travel experience is as seamless as possible. This means the right flight schedules, high quality and secure accommodation in a convenient location and reliable ground transport. Every aspect of travel needs to run smoothly so our teams can be physically and mentally prepared for each match.

“Through their vast experience, Stage and Screen has demonstrated it can manage all of SANZAR’s unique requirements, from the logistics of large group multinational travel to the individual menu preference of each player. SANZAR is confident that our teams’ travel management will be in very capable hands and we look forward to a long and rewarding partnership together.

"We also wish to acknowledge Paul Hodgson and the team at Sports Travel Management (STM) who have been SANZAR's travel management partners since 1996. More recently with the global backing of Carlson Wagonlit (CWT), Paul and his team have made an amazing contribution to Super Rugby and International Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Working in one of the most travel-intensive environments in world sport, Paul and his team have helped set the platform for our competitions success with excellent planning and delivery of detailed travel plans and by forging long-term relationships with teams, airlines and accommodation partners.

"We wish Paul and the team all the very best and thank them for their outstanding support for the past 20 years."