Focus group appoints former BTA Chief Exec

By Andy Hoskins, published 10/01/20

The newly independent Focus Travel Partnership (FTP) has appointed industry stalwart Adrian Parkes as its Non-Executive Chairman.

The former Chief Executive of the Business Travel Association (BTA) has worked for several airlines and travel management companies and joins FTP as it ramps up activity as a limited company independent of the Advantage Travel Partnership.

“I have first-hand knowledge of the considerable strength and reputation of Focus and have known them from their first beginnings in 1999 when as British Midland we were one of the first airlines to support Focus,” says Parkes.

"They have an impressive reputation for driving new technology in the sector and they are an organisation that is resource light, flexible and forward thinking.

"The relationships it has built with suppliers delivers extremely well for both parties and with strong representation across the UK, they have become an important voice on industry-wide issues.”

The 20-year-old organisation has over 60 small and mid-market TMC members with a combined buying power valued at £1billion, enabling it to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements with suppliers.

FTP Managing Director, Abby Penston, adds: "Adrian joins our already phenomenal in-house team, and together with the extensive talent of our members, we plan to create and maintain a formidable brand, recognised in and out of the business travel community.”

The consortium has also joined the BTA and named Travelport as its preferred GDS partner. It has additionally unveiled new branding and identified six qualities it encapsulates: influential, expertise, integrity, partnership, strategic and dynamic.

Looking ahead to 2020, Penston says its objectives are to grow membership (members must also be Advantage partners), increase operational efficiencies and enhance its profile in the industry.

“Its important for us to have our own identity and support our TMC members,” says Penston. "We are leaders in the SME marketplace but have been a bit of a secret for a while.

“The new brand will ensure our members have an identity as part of our family,” she adds.

“We are looking to grow our membership but we want a certain calibre – they have to be the right size, have good references and be fit for purpose. We can’t take on any potential liability.”

Penston continues: “We are targeting five [new members] this year but even if it is one, it will be one that is right for us, and we’ll be happy with that."

The partnership will roll-out several technology developments in 2020 including enhancements to its Farecast and Farefinder tools.

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