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Thomas Cook says digital technology helped it serve customers better in the first half of its financial year

Thomas Cook today said digital technology was helping it to serve its customers better, as it reported first-half figures.

It said its OneWeb platform, which will underpin all of its trading sites worldwide and has so far gone live in markets including the UK and the Netherlands, has already resulted in improved bookings and conversions: in the first half of its financial year online bookings grew by 12%, while conversion increased by 20%.

Mobile, it said, presented it with a “significant opportunity to deepen our relationship with our customers”. In the first half, bookings via tablet and smartphone grew by 65% on last year, while its mobile app that acts as a companion on booked holidays, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times and used an average of six times per download. Its Travelguide app, available in Germany, has been downloaded almost 300,000 times since it was launched in November 2012.

In store, a virtual reality experience delivered through Oculus Rift technology, now enables customers visiting selected stores in three countries to view own-brand hotels through the immersive experience. This is now being expanded to cover more hotels.

The update came as the travel company, an IRUK Top100 company, today reported revenue of £2.7bn in the six months to March 31, some 8.9% down on the same time last year. Pre-tax losses of £303m had improved by 17% from losses of £366m last time.

The company said it was also using digital to improve its own working methods. Holiday promotional materials in a single digital content repository can be used in both online and offline publications and delivered via all sales channels, giving customers up-to-date offers and holidays. Staff in resorts are also now equipped with tablet computers to automate administrative work and give them more time to serve customers.

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