March 14, 2013

Thomas Cook counts on hotels to challenge Expedia online


A stronger online presence for Thomas Cook would be a “counterweight” to the likes of Expedia, said a restructuring expert, as the company revealed the travel giant's strategy for the future. More competition may help hotels by driving down OTA booking fees - if they sign up with Thomas Cook, that is.

Thomas Cook has unveiled its long-awaited plans for the business, involving selling non-core assets to raise up to £150 million, and said its new growth strategy focused on elements such as web innovation and an “integrated IT platform”.

Commenting on the news, Graeme Smith, partner at advisory and restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, said: “A stronger online Thomas Cook will be a counterweight to the online travel agents (OTAs) such as Expedia and Hotels.com.

“More competition may help hotels by driving down OTA booking fees, which have been able to grow to up to 30% of the room rate, but this could take time.

“Rather than wait for this, hoteliers need to take greater control of their room sales by growing direct bookings and teaming up with companies and tour operators directly.”

Get the full story at Travolution

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