Best in market airfares are critical to TMCs in the SME market – without these, they cannot compete with either larger or specialist agencies. Focus Travel Partnership’s programme provides the best corporate fares including private fares with over 60 airlines. Pre-Covid, the Focus Travel Partnership’s overall turnover was in excess of £1billion, over half of which was air sales – this positions us in the top five business travel organisations within the UK travel market,
This combined turnover allows us to negotiate the best terms and commercial deals with airlines on behalf of our whole network – we have an ethos of working as one voice to the airlines with all TMCs included irrelevant of their individual turnover. This has proved immensely successful in the past and is even more relevant now as airlines downsize both their account management teams as well as budgets. COVID-19 has handed airlines and the travel industry at large immense financial challenges, and our commercial portfolio is at the forefront of the minds of the Focus central team and those of our TMC Partners.
Focus’ commercial portfolio comes in many forms to our TMC Partners, including opportunities via our fares and supplier programme as well as via our business solutions opportunities, and these are so valuable to our Partners right now whilst we assist them navigate through uncertain times.
In addition, those TMCs who have specialist clients (eg marine, academic etc) can use the leverage of the Focus Partnership to command relevant fares from key airline partners to support those clients’ demands and win new business.
We continue to negotiate and manage these fares centrally for our Partners to assist both the airlines and our TMC Partners in their mutual recovery. Our programme covers both global airline groups as well as independent niche market carriers and we focus less on the number of airlines who we work with but more on the opportunity to support each individual airline to provide growth. We use a combination of market and airline specific intelligence, pre and post trip reporting via our inhouse Farecast reporting solution, as well as our close relationships with both our TMC Partners and our airline account managers to drive opportunities and success. Although commercial relationships generally focus on financial rewards, we look outside of this stereotype as there is so much more to relationships in general and our provision of central support on fare queries, resolution of issues and numerous other airline related topics supports both our TMC Partners’ needs whilst lessening the burden on airlines who are already being squeezed resource-wise in the current climate.
Although our negotiations and overall Focus relationships are managed centrally with suppliers, we encourage them to have direct interaction with relevant TMC Partners. For some airlines, one key benefit of working with Focus centrally is the coverage of their product across all 60 TMC Partners as their account management resource may be few in numbers or geographically limited – this is generally achieved via our central digital platform However, where the resource is available, we encourage the airline to meet and drive a strong relationship directly with our TMC Partners in order to understand their customer’s needs and trends as well as the TMC’s operational strengths.
In 2021, our overall supplier programme will continue to be enhanced via additional privately negotiated air fares, introduction of a rail programme as well as further development of the commercial opportunities available to our TMC Partners in technology driven business solutions