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Thomas Cook tweets instant deals to bargainhunters

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Thomas Cook is using Twitter to share deals with bargainhunters quickly.

Deal seekers can now tweet their favourite holiday destination to @TCOffers in order to be tweeted back seconds later with a link to a Thomas Cook holiday offer. They can mention up to three destinations in the same tweet, and three offers will be sent back in three different tweets.

“Harnessing digital technology for exciting new applications like ‘@TCOffers’ helps our customers get information in seconds about our latest holiday destinations and offers, wherever and whenever; sitting on the bus, in the local café or together as a family at home,” said Harriet Green, chief executive of Thomas Cook Group. “Holidays to go!’ is just one of so many exciting new innovations we are bringing to fruition at Thomas Cook. If you have an idea of what country, city or resort to which you would like to travel, ‘Holidays to go!’ does your holiday search for you, going through 1,000’s of holiday selections in seconds. It is just like having a travel agent sitting with you at your tablet, smart phone or desktop computer. We were the first major high street travel agency in the UK to offer online bookings and now the first travel operator to create this technology, harnessing the power of Twitter to make it easier than ever for our customers to find their dream holiday.”

The new service is powered by a bespoke interactive system, which includes an auto correct function in case there’s a typo in the destination name. Thomas Cook promises that tweets are answered in real time, with a link to a dedicated search results page.

Saran Subramanian, group head of analytics for Thomas Cook Group, explained how it works. “@TCOffers is a great example of how to utilize the big data opportunity that the social media world provides, and converts it into something that is valuable to the business and provides customers with different sales options, @TC Offers is driven by one of the world’s most powerful and popular programming languages, Python, which directly connects to the Twitter API and extracts all the incoming Tweets. Running on the servers that are hosted in the cloud environment, @TCOffers conducts text analysis of the incoming tweets and replies back with the link to the best holiday deals in real-time.”

Why introduce the service?

According to Thomas Cook’s group head of social media, Jonathan Roberts, “Our customers don’t always have time to search for holidays so we have made it very easy for them. People simply tweet something like holiday deals to Florida, mentioning @TCOffers in their tweet and in a matter of seconds they will get a tweet back with a link to our latest holiday deals to Florida. You don’t even have to follow @TCOffers to get your reply.”

Our view: This seems like a nifty solution for those who don’t have the time or inclination to look for a deal. We tested the service and got messages straight back with links to relevant deals. Being able to specify dates as well as destinations would be a handy add-on.

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