Alan Spence (b. 1947) is the British businessman who founded Britannic Travel, a successful business travel operator which later became FCm Travel Solutions.
Alan was born in Kingston-upon-Thames and started his working life aged 16 as a junior shipping clerk with a freight company in the City. After four years, he decided he knew enough about freight and had enough industry contacts to set up on his own, so he borrowed £50 from his father and set up Britannic Shipping Services. He worked from an office in Epsom building the freight business for several years, and then, in 1971, set his sights on the booming package holiday industry as a route to diversification. He established Britannic Travel, operating from the shop frontage below his freight forwarding offices. It was however the corporate side of the business which grew and grew, and by 1989, 85% of Britannic Travel’s turnover was generated from business travel.
In 1994, Britannic Travel sold off the last of its leisure travel agencies to concentrate fully on the corporate sector. It acquired the licence to trade as TQ3 Travel Solutions in 2001, and in 2003 Alan sold Britannic Travel to the Australian Flight Centre group for £45m. Recognising Alan’s expertise, Flight Centre kept him on as managing director of the New Malden-based operation and he helped the group to a record £8.3m profit on £29.6m sales in 2006–07. In 2006, now operating as FCm Travel Solutions, the business was named Best Business Travel Management Company in the Business Travel World magazine’s annual awards. Alan remained in charge until early 2008, when he retired.
Alan was the elected chairman of the Guild of Business Travel Agents (now the Guild of Travel Management Companies) in 1989 and 1990.
Alan was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2006