News and Insights

FINN Partners Announces Key Leadership Changes: Amy Skelding Promoted to Managing Partner and UK Travel Lead; Debbie Flynn Expands Role as Global Travel Practice Leader

February 12, 2024

NEW YORK, NY – FINN Partners, the global independent, full-service marketing and communications agency, is thrilled to announce the promotion of Amy Skelding, formerly senior partner in the UK travel practice, to managing partner, UK Travel. Amy, who has been a significant part of the agency’s UK travel practice for over 10 years, will take responsibility for growth and development in the UK, whilst Debbie Flynn, who has been leading the UK team and also leading FINN’s Global Travel Practice, changes her remit to focus on global business development, driving more cross-sector, cross-regional, integrated solutions for clients across the US, Europe and Asia in response to market demand, and fueling new business opportunities in emerging growth regions including India and the Middle East.

With these changes, FINN Partners reaffirms its commitment to being at the forefront of the travel industry, promoting growth, talent and leadership development.

Skelding’s elevation from senior partner to managing partner and UK Travel lead is a testament to her exceptional growth trajectory at FINN Partners—she joined the agency as an account director in 2012. From auspicious beginnings as a 10-year-old travel presenter on BBC Radio 4, now counting almost 20 years of travel PR experience under her belt, Amy has a wealth of expertise in broadcast, traditional and digital media. Her strategic mindset and ability to seamlessly blend creativity with data-driven insights have been instrumental in achieving remarkable results for her clients. Her ability to navigate the intersection of creativity and strategy has earned her a reputation as a leader in the travel PR space: in 2013 she was named one of TTG’s “Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders” and in 2023 was named a TTG “Travel Pride Champion.” Her passion and commitment to sustainable tourism has been instrumental in driving meaningful change and success in the industry.

In her new role, Amy will lead FINN Partners’ UK Travel PR practice, delivering trusted strategic counsel and working closely with the firm’s robust Representation team to deliver breakthrough integrated campaigns across the spectrum of travel needs, from arts and aviation to cruises, destinations, economic development, food and beverage, hotels, lifestyle brands, MICE, responsible tourism and wellness, as well driving UK business development efforts.

As Skelding steps into her new role, she brings a wealth of experience, creativity, and a proven track record of success. She is off to a good start, having closed her first win of 2024, building on a successful 2023, during which the UK Travel practice added 20 new clients, including destinations such Tourism Ireland, Tuscany, Virginia Beach and Greater Palm Springs, and hospitality brands such as Rixos and Iberostar Hotels and Resorts.

Said Chantal-Bowman Boyles, Managing Partner, EMEA, “Amy is an exceptional and dynamic PR pro with a genuine passion for travel and a relentless focus on promoting growth and development throughout the team.  Since she joined us, I have been impressed with her positive, proactive approach to new business development, her ability to develop winning strategies for clients, and her dedication to upholding and promoting the FINN values of collaboration, working hard and playing nice, and being a best place to work. I’m excited to see her flourish as a key business leader and strategic partner to our clients. The transition is not just a change in roles but also a reflection of FINN Partners’ dedication to fostering talent and leadership from within. We are proud to be a nurturing ground for talent, where individuals are empowered to reach their full potential and make a meaningful impact on our agency and clients’ businesses.”

Amy’s well-deserved promotion creates the space for Debbie Flynn, renowned across the global travel industry for her deep expertise in travel communication, and extensive international network, to devote all of her time to the role of Global Travel Practice Lead, a role she took on in the autumn of 2020. Since then, she has successfully stewarded exponential growth of the practice—from post-Covid recovery to three strategic acquisitions to strengthen the firm’s offerings, including boutique luxury and hospitality PR firm Hawkins International, creative travel and lifestyle communications agency Maverick Creative, and Hawaii-based integrated marketing agency Anthology Marketing Group. FINN’s Global Travel practice now boasts $20+MM in revenues, an impressive roster of more than 100 clients on three continents, and numerous industry accolades including the #1 Travel/Economic Development Agency by O’Dwyer’s, 6x winner of Agency of the Year by Travel Marketing AwardsPR Agency of the Year by TravMedia Awards and Best PR & Representation Agency by TTG’s Travel Industry Awards. Building on this momentum, Flynn’s focus will expand to marketing and thought leadership to strengthen the company’s global presence and grow the agency’s roster of integrated travel clients in need of bespoke solutions tailored to their increasingly complex needs.

Said Peter Finn, CEO and founding partner, “Debbie is the perfect person to lead this next phase of travel growth for FINN. She brings 30 years of industry experience along with a deep understanding of how travel PR and destination marketing has evolved. Where sector expertise was once enough, now clients are grappling with complex forces—from disrupted business models to changing consumer behaviour to geopolitical conflict. They need a trusted agency partner with expertise across the 360-degree travel ecosystem, who can help them navigate the landscape and provide the full spectrum of integrated services, whether research and analytics, digital marketing or in collaboration with our consumer lifestyle, sustainability, wellness, public affairs or crisis experts. The breadth and depth of our travel practice in unmatched, and she’ll ensure that we are visible leaders, well-positioned to capitalize on this growing market need.”

TAGS: Travel & Tourism