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Thomas Cook pledges to put customers first through digital as it reports first full-year profit in five years

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Thomas Cook today pledged to put customers first in the wake of the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd in Corfu nine years ago, and also pointed to its omnichannel development as it reported its first profits in five years.

The holiday operator says it will continue to invest both online and in the store experience in order “to give customers access whenever and however they want,” and has introduced customer satisfaction as a new measure of success.

Thomas Cook says it aims to use omnichannel to strengthen its relationships with customers, ensuring that they can get in touch however and whenever they want to. It says online and offline sales channels will be more efficient and effective, while optimised websites will enable it to offer more personalised services to customers. Such measures, it says, will also help to drive sales.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: “The past year has also presented considerable challenges for Thomas Cook as we confronted the mistakes that were made following the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd in Corfu nine years ago. I am clear that we need to learn from the tragedy and do things differently in the future. Last week, we launched the Safer Tourism Foundation together with the children’s mother, Sharon Wood.

“But we also recognise that change needs to come from within Thomas Cook, putting our customers first in everything that we do. That is why we have introduced customer satisfaction as a new internal measure of success and why we are rolling out a 24-hour hotel satisfaction promise for key hotels across the group. It is also why we are putting a renewed focus on the quality of our holiday offering and pushing hard to further develop our online and retail channels.

The update came as the multichannel travel business turned over £7.8bn in the year to September 30, 9.3% down from the £8.6m reported at the same time last year. But at the bottom line it moved back into profit for the first time in five years, reporting a £19m profit, improved from a loss of £115m last time.

Thomas Cook said conversion had risen for every type of device, with desktop up by 10%, tablet by 16% and mobile by 67% on the same time last year. Use of the internet to book rose to 40%, from 38% at the same time last year. A mobile app released during the year in the UK and Scandinavian markets enables shoppers to search, manage bookings, pay balances, book excursions and additional products while also finding out more about their destination.

Over the years Thomas Cook has improved its digital offering through the introduction of a OneWeb service and has introduced screens and even virtual reality to stores.

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