Thomas Cook today revealed a strategic alliance with Expedia.
The deal will see the online travel giant become the preferred provider of hotels for Thomas Cook’s city and domestic holiday business.
Expedia will also provide its booking platform to support all city break and hotel-only sales across Thomas Cook distribution channels in Europe.
The agreement will enable Thomas Cook to “significantly reduce” the cost and complexity of its city breaks and hotel-only business.
The multi-year deal will provide Thomas Cook customers with more than 60,000 additional hotels.
All will meet Thomas Cook’s standards for quality and value, as well as health and safety, according to the operator.
Expedia will use its technology to deliver bookings for city and domestic hotels, either on their own or as part of a city break dynamic package, through Thomas Cook websites, contact centres, stores and distribution to affiliated travel agents.
Thomas Cook also has the option to offer its core sun and beach package holidays on Expedia sites globally, broadening its distribution reach.
The agreement with Expedia will also help to reduce the complexity of Thomas Cook’s business, acting as a catalyst to “significantly simplify and streamline” operations across its 16 source markets.
This Expedia tie-in is seen is a major step forward in Thomas Cook’s group-wide transformation plan. It follows the announcement of a hotel sourcing deal with Webjet in August last year, covering the bulk of the operator’s complementary sun and beach hotel offering.
By completing this second stage in the reorganisation of its complementary hotels business, Thomas Cook will be able to focus on strengthening its core sun and beach holiday offering, while at the same time providing customers with a wider selection of hotels as well as an improved booking experience, according to the company.
Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser,] said: “The combination of Expedia’s portfolio of hotels and best-in-class online technology will transform Thomas Cook’s city breaks and hotel-only offer for customers while helping the business take an important step forward in delivering our strategy for profitable growth.
“Joining forces with a company that has the global reach and expertise of Expedia will allow Thomas Cook to further simplify our systems and processes.
“At the same time, this will free us up to focus on holidays to our own-brand and selected partner hotels in sun and beach locations where we know we can really make a difference to customers.
“I am confident this marks the first step in a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with Expedia.”
Expedia brand president Aman Bhutani said: “We’ve always had profound respect for the Thomas Cook brand and we believe that our coming together will enhance our abilities to help more people to get out and see the world, while enhancing each of our competitive positions in the European market.
“Expedia’s Global Partner Solutions business brings to life the ability to leverage the strength of our technology and operations for our partners, powering leading brands with private label booking engines, agent tools, web services and operations for all travel products, including lodging, flight, package, and car rental.”