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GTMC to focus on regional infrastructure as Brexit looms

Adrian Parkes, CEO of GTMC

Adrian Parkes, the chief executive of the GTMC, said he plans to focus on capacity and infrastructure across the UK’s regions.

This month, the organisation announced Birmingham airport had joined the GTMC as an industry partner – making it the first airport outside London to do so.

“A very active side is our engagement with infrastructure. With the airport, we can champion infrastructure more. Our focus, and strategy, is about regions. We need extra capacity post-Brexit,” Parkes told BBT at the Business Travel Show.

“We talk to all airports anyway, in terms of infrastructure, and the relevant MPs. But on a regional level, we are focusing on the imbalance [in the UK]. HS2 is also really important, and HS3 as much as anything in terms of economic value.”

On Monday, the GTMC also announced a new meetings and events strategy group. Parkes said: “TMCs are becoming experts in staging events, marketing them, registration, venue finding – the end-to-end journey. It’s a natural fit in terms of growth. TMCs are also buying companies in this area – it’s a natural extension.” He cited American Express Global Travel Management’s June 2016 acquisition of international event management agency Banks Sadler as an example of this.

The first meetings and events group gathering was held last week, Parkes added. “It was well attended, and we covered aspects like benchmarking and quality.”

Following the announcement by American Express GBT planned to acquire HRG, Parkes said the industry could expect to see more deals taking place.

“Consolidation has been happening for a number of years, as are new players coming into the market. We’ve seen domestic consolidation, with Gray Dawes acquiring several smaller TMCs for example, but now there’s more global consolidation.”

Parkes also said that overall there would be a great focus on technology in the near future, citing topics such as the NDC environment, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

“Technology is a focus. There’s a bit of a gap in understanding in terms of what value will it bring to a TMC. The GTMC looks at what role technology plays in helping productivity. The area of mobile booking is slower than in the consumer sector, for example.”

Parkes joined the GTMC seven months ago, and praised his predecessor Paul Wait.

“I’ve known the GTMC for a long time, in particular through my time at Etihad, so nothing came as a surprise. It’s been kept in good hands by Paul for a number of years,” he said.

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