The break-up of Thomas Cook Germany is picking up pace with the planned sale of hotel subsidiary Sentido and travel agency franchise network Holiday Land to DER Touristik, and the possible takeover of Öger Tours and Bucher Reisen by a Turkish group.
The first buyers for parts of the insolvent tour operator group have been revealed just days after Cook's insolvency administrators announced that the company would probably have to be closed down on December 1 but disclosed that intensive talks were taking place for some of its subsidiary businesses.
DER Touristik announced that it has reached a financial agreement to take over the Holiday Land travel agency franchise network, including the franchise contracts, and that it also aims to acquire the Sentido hotel chain.
The company said it wants to offer the 355 Holiday Land franchise partners "a new, secure and financially successful home". The group already has one of the biggest travel agency networks in Germany with 2,400 branded branches as well as a separate franchise network (trading under the Derpart name).
Ingo Burmester, CEO DER Touristik Central Europe, said: "The acquisition of the successful Holiday Land brand strengthens our position in the German market. We focus strongly on the travel expertise of our sales network and on good quality products with high customer satisfaction. The purchase of Thomas Cook’s franchise business fits ideally into our growth strategy and is very highly important for us."
In addition, DER Touristik wants to take over the Sentido hotel franchise network, which currently comprises 27 4-star and 5-star hotels with a strong customer base in German-speaking markets. The Sentido hotels, which mostly target couples or families, have very high customer satisfaction levels and recommendation rates. The properties would be promoted through the group’s tour operator brands Dertour, Jahn Reisen and ITS as well as through its travel agencies.
Burmester explained: "Sentido is strong, well-profiled hotel brand with very high customer satisfaction and therefore an ideal complement to our hotel portfolio." DER Touristik's current hotel brands include LTI, Calimera, Primasol and Cooee.
The former Thomas Cook executive, who announced the acquisitions during his presentation of the summer 2020 programme, told journalists that DER was not interested in Cook's Sunconnect hotel brand but declined to comment on potential interest in the Smartline budget hotels.
In summer 2020, DER Touristik will offer about 300 former Cook hotels in total, including Iberostar, Aldiana, Casa Cook and Sentido properties, and expand its range of family holiday offers. Its prices will be stable for most major short-haul destinations, although holidays in Greece and Turkey will go up by 3-4% due to high demand. Burmester predicted Majorca will make a comeback for next summer thanks to “attractive prices”.
This year, DER Touristik has achieved a "single-digit" revenue increase, driven by demand for the Indian Ocean, Greece, Turkey, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean destinations.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook Germany subsidiary 'Bucher Reisen & Öger Tours GmbH', which combines two separate tour operator brands, could be taken over by Turkey-based Anex Group, according to fvw information.
The group, with turnover of about €2 billion, owns hotels and incoming agencies in Turkey, a leading tour operator in Russia and the small German company Anex Tour. Anex chief Neset Kockar already bought an 8% stake in Thomas Cook Group in July and announced that he wanted to play "an active role" in the planned restructuring of the British group.
Öger Tours is one of Germany's biggest tour operators for Turkey and also offers holidays in Egypt and other destinations in the region. Bucher Reisen mostly sells budget-priced holidays in other Mediterranean destinations and some long-haul destinations.
In a separate deal in the UK, China's Fosun Group has snapped up the rights to the 'Thomas Cook' brand as well as the Casa Cook and Cook’s Club hotel concepts for the bargain price of €12 million.