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Thomas Cook says its focus on digital investment is rewarded with double-digit online growth

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Thomas Cook says a focus on digital investment has led to double digital growth in online bookings in key markets including the UK.

The multichannel travel agent said it had made substantial progress in enabling customers to access its services through different channels in 2014, launching the Thomas Cook OneWeb international web platform, investing in digital stores, consolidating systems and launching mobile apps to complement the online and in-store experience.

It said in the markets where it had focused digital investment, it had achieved double digit online growth. In the three months after OneWeb launched, consolidating legacy systems into a single digital platform, in May 2014, 14% more customers booked on Mobile and tablet bookings rose by a combined 74%. In Central Europe, bookings on and rose by 17%.

Some 38% of customers booked their holidays online in 2014, up from 34% in 2012. “As we roll out OneWeb across the group, market by market, and become a more efficient digital business, we expect that the growth of our web penetration will accelerate and that our stretching web target of up to 50% will be achieved over time,” the company said in today’s statement.

The update came as Thomas Cook reported revenue of £8.5bn in the year to September 30, down on the £9.3bn reported the previous year. The fall in income reflected the slimming down of the Thomas Cook Group through business disposals. Earnings before interest and tax came in at £54m, up from £13m last time. The digital change is part of a wider transformation programme that has now run for two years.

Chief executive Harriet Green, who announced she would hand over the role to chief operating officer Peter Fankhauser with immediate effect, said: “The transformation of Thomas Cook into a company with a market capitalisation of just under £2 billion and a share price of over 130 pence is one I have been proud to lead. I always said that I would move on to another company with fresh challenges once my work was complete. That time is now.”

Frank Meysman, chairman of Thomas Cook said: “Harriet has had a highly positive impact on this company. We emerge from her transformation stronger, with a clear strategy, world-class leadership team, updated brand, and a renewed focus on the customer. The succession plan she devised will now take effect and the new chief executive, Peter, will drive the company forward as we focus on winning the commercial battle against other operators.”

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