In a pre-close statement, Europe’s second largest travel operator revealed that 28% of UK bookings in the current financial year have been made online.
It also said that “total tour operator bookings to date through our main website, thomascook.com, [are] up year-on-year by 56%.”
A spokesperson said that the majority of these tour operator bookings were traditional packages holidays.
Its Northern Europe unit, made up of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, is seeing 48% of all bookings online.
The business remains committed to a multi-channel approach, with CEO Manny Fontenla-Novoa offering two reasons why the high street remains a viable distribution channel, despite the cost implications. “To be a successful tour operator, you need high street distribution to get access to early bookings, which is where you make most of your money.”
He added that it would be difficult for other tour operators to increase their capacity without a retail network to shift the added stock. “The businesses which are suffering out there, in the UK, are those without high street distribution” he told analysts.
He suggested that with the capacity already taken out by Thomas Cook and TUI, reinforced by XL’s collapse, meant that capacity in the UK market was “about right”.
When asked about the acquisition environment. Manny acknowledged that there were “opportunities out there” but said that Thomas Cook was only interested in “small, bolt-on” deals rather than any significant, although it is also still looking to build up its presence in Russia and China.