Thomas Cook Insolvency

Travel Forums General Talk Thomas Cook Insolvency

1. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1378 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Are there any members here who have been stranded or inconvenienced by today's news that Thomas Cook has gone under? Not a great ending for a company that's been around in various guises since 1841. :(:(:(

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1741 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I think this was inevitable.

The rise of independent travel will have stolen Thomas Cook's lunch. While other players in the same market have altered their products to try to adapt (eg Thomson going into cruises) it seems Thomas Cook have kept their dwindling set of package tour customers. Added to this they kept a lot of high street stores, and I think this is a huge overhead when many people will have been booking even their package tours online.

The only surprise to me is that they found mugs to fund a losing business model for so long. China are apparently the majority shareholder.

I've heard people blaming the weak pound / high euro but to me that's just a cyclical effect that this sort of business should expect, like the Tunisian shootings a couple of years ago were an event that affected tour operators. These things may be the reason it happened just now, but it's been brewing for a long time.

I imagine that the remaining tour operators will do well in the short term due to getting a bigger slice of the pie. Longer term, how much demand will there be for package tours compared to doing it yourself cheaper? If I were a travel agent today, I'd be moving into a specialism like selling cruises, or adventure tours.

3. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1378 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

I think this was inevitable.

Yep! One report states that the 2019 Thomas Cook travel brochure looks very similar to the 1999 brochure - they really didn't move with the times. Although, asking around at work recently, many of my colleagues (who are supposed to be tech-savvy) still deal with travel agents rather than sorting out their holidays themselves. Flight Centre still seems to be going strong down here and there are plenty of their shops on the high streets.

Apparently there are 600 000 Thomas Cook customers stranded abroad, 150 000 of them British - it's going to cost a small fortune of someone's money to get them all back home. I'm just hoping there isn't too much hardship for the innocent customer although there are some tales that weddings abroad have been affected.

And, for the sake of history, Thomas Cook & Son (the original company) had an office in Auckland in 1888. According to Anthony Coleman in his book Millennium, John Mason Cook (who actually led some tours to the Middle East in the late 1800s) was described as "the second-greatest man in Egypt". Bit of a shame! :(:(

4. Posted by ToddP (Moderator 224 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

It was a good brand and good concept. Shame the management could not keep the business strong and financially viable. I had a great pleasure working for Thomas Cook for 6 years.

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1741 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Yes there are clearly some people who want the convenience of a package. And some companies have moved forward and retail things successfully on slimmer margins by doing things such as some online selling, or using their shop staff as a pool to handle telesales too.

I think Thomas Cook also suffered from being a disliked brand. They seemed to churn through sub-brands, which I thought was a strategy to retain customers. Eg you have a poor experience with JMC, so in a few years when you're faced with Condor or Airtours you don't make the connection. They appeared to chase the lower end of package tour business, so I imagine unhappy customers goes with that territory.

I think any sparkle from their provenance at the dawn of tourism had long since worn off.

6. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 788 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

While I don't know the ins and outs of what went wrong for Thomas Cook I don't think tour companies or travel agents are disappearing anytime soon. A travel agency company in Australia that still has physical shops still came up number one in profits beating all the online only TAs. A lot of that has to do with how the company restructured and a refocusing on a different customer base. There is less focusing on tours and more on flight and accommodation packages. If there is one thing I have noticed about tour companies is there is more focus on experiences rather than sightseeing. There is a lot of small companies popping up now offering unique itineraries and experience or adventure tours so if anything it seems to me the industry is actually getting bigger and more diverse.