Peter Fankhauser, chairman of the board of management of Thomas cook AG, announced the two operators' "biggest holiday program of all time". Prices remained stable on average, said fankhauser at the presentation of the 2012/2013 winter catalogs on monday in schwarzenberg, austria. For the long-distance destinations, they will increase by about three percent. Reason is the weaker euro compared to the dollar.
In addition, significantly more hotels can be booked through the group's tour operators that are not in the catalogs. For the winter season in spain and portugal alone, there are more than 1,000 additional hotels that can be booked online and through travel agency systems, said fankhauser. The company's main aim is to prevent more and more holidaymakers from booking their trips on the internet, bypassing the tour operators, and is thus declaring war on the booking portals.
In addition, there are significantly more discounts for early bookers. Thomas cook wants to secure further competitive advantages, especially in this highly competitive market. Around 30 percent of winter travel has already been booked in july and august, said michael tenzer, managing director of tourism. Competition is fierce in every month, but especially in this phase. At the same time, the company is expanding its luxury travel offerings, for which tenzer continues to see growing demand.
Peter fankhauser said that the long-haul segment had developed excellently in terms of bookings for the current summer season. There was double-digit growth there, he said. Overall, despite the euro crisis, bookings for the summer are two percent higher than the previous year, and sales have even increased by three percent.
Fankhauser recalled the "exhausting six months" following the presentation of the summer catalogs last october. At that time, many doubted the future of thomas cook as a company. The british group, which in germany includes the tour operators thomas cook, neckermann, bucher last minute and oger tours, had slipped deep into the red in the first half of the 2011/2012 financial year. By the end of march, the loss before taxes amounted to 713 million british pounds (891 million euros).
In the meantime, the company has reached an agreement with the banks that it will not have to repay the debt of 1.4 billion pounds (1.7 billion euros) until may 2015. Fankhauser said in schwarzenberg that the company had succeeded in re-establishing a long-term perspective. Now it is possible to concentrate again on the main task of selling travel. The german business is considered a positive exception in the group's balance sheet. The positive development of the previous year has continued in the current fiscal year, said Fankhauser.