Thomas Cook tests app for UK market amid aims to unlock international efficiencies

Thomas Cook tests app for UK market amid aims to unlock international efficiencies

Thomas Cook Group is testing a digital holiday ‘companion app’ ahead of its introduction in the UK.

The app, described as a “gateway to your holiday,” gives customers mobile access to a range of services.

These include access to bookings, balance payments, holiday information, booking excursions and tax free shopping.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive, revealed that the app was being prepared for launch in the UK soon, forming part of Cook’s enhanced omni-channel development scheme.

A development hub for mobile has been created by the company in Stockholm as part of the technology strategy, described by Fankhauser as a “key growth area” for the group.

The companion app has achieved more than 100,000 downloads since being introduced initially in northern Europe at the end of last year. The app has been used on average six times per download.

Separately, resort staff have been equipped with tablets, automating much of their administrative work and enabling them to dedicate more time to serving holidaymakers.

Fankhauser also outlined how Cook was moving towards a new operating model to remove duplication from the different geographical markets it operates in to “unlock further significant efficiency benefits”.

Cook will also “actively look” to develop more partnerships to accelerate its strategy along the lines of its joint venture with Club Med’s Chinese owner Fosun.

The partnership will see Cook manage and operate an initial 30 hotels in key holiday destinations, with several acquisitions due to be competed by the end of the year.

The partners are setting up a business in Shanghai to service the Chinese domestic, inbound and outbound travel sectors from the autumn.

Meanwhile Cook and Club Med are evaluating “collaboration opportunities” between the two companies in all common source markets.

The aim is to build on an existing arrangement in France, where Cook is Club Med’s largest third party distributor.

The group also revealed that an £800 million financing facility had been secured to run until May 2019. This replaces £470 million of facilities until May 2017.

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