Focus Travel Partnership has appointed Adrian Parkes as its new non-executive chairman after becoming a limited company at the end of 2019.

Parkes was previously chief executive of the Business Travel Association (BTA) and has held prior senior roles at companies such as bmi, Etihad Airways and Portman.

Meanwhile, Focus announced today it had also joined the BTA as the first new member of 2020.

Focus was established 20 years ago and it claims its current membership of 60 TMCs has a buying power of £1 billion. In November, it appointed a new managing director, Abby Penston, and also became a limited company.

Parkes said: “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. 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.”

Penston added: “I am tremendously excited to be working with Adrian, as I know he will support partners in growing their profitability and effectively expand our partnership base. 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.”

Speaking at a media breakfast announcing a raft of updates for Focus Travel Partnership, Penston said the decision to become a limited company – but still part of the Advantage Travel Partnership family – came after the organisation grew and developed its value proposition for members. “We found ourselves having to explain what Focus is when we met new people, so our goal now is to raise awareness of exactly what it is we do and what we can offer.”

Focus Travel Partnership said it has plans to continue development of its technology offering, with former KDS consulting manager Pascal Benn joining as business solutions manager in October 2019. Penston said its 2019 technology roadshow was “the most successful to date” and that future solutions will continue to be driven by feedback gathered through the organisation’s technology panel.

The BTA is the representative association for the business travel industry, following its rebrand in July last year from the GTMC. It claims 32 million annual transactions were made by its members in 2019, resulting in turnover in excess of £10 billion.

Clive Wratten, its chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Focus Travel Partnership as our newest member. As a leading business travel consortium and one with 60 TMCs within its organisation, Focus is a significant and welcome addition to our membership, and one which now takes our representation of business travel spend in the UK to well over ninety per cent.

“This also marks the start of an exciting new year for the BTA and an important decade of evolution for business travel. In the year ahead, we’re looking forward to collaborating with all our members to drive the sustainable development of business travel and to showcase the vital role it plays in the economy.”

Penston commented: “Our membership ensures the BTA benefits will be extended to all our 60 members, whether that is through lobbying, networking, or accessing industry intelligence. This is critical to ensuring our members continue to develop strong business strategies to help them thrive.”

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