Thomas Cook

Germany goes up-market with new premium brand

Thomas Cook Germany is targeting the growing premium holidays market with a new brand for winter 2016/17.

Europe’s second-largest tourism group is re-naming its premium tour operator from ‘Thomas Cook’ to ‘Thomas Cook Signature’ to end confusion between the corporate and tour operator names and position the brand more clearly. “We’ve sharpened the profile of our main brands Neckermann Reisen and Thomas Cook, and differentiated them more clearly from each other in products as well,” explained Germany managing director Stefanie Berk at yesterday’s presentation of the winter 2016/17 programme in South Africa.

Thomas Cook Signature will offer up-market holidays in four- and five-star hotels, with extras such as seat reservations on certain airlines. Next winter, it will offer about 1,500 hotels and more than 200 tours, with Mozambique, Myanmar and Martinique as new destinations.

In parallel, the new ‘Signature Finest Selection’ product line will offer luxury holidays in five-star hotels upwards with extras such as first-class rail travel to and from the departure airport and private transfers at the destination. There will be a strong focus on long-haul destinations.

“It’s especially important for us to offer a consistent premium travel experience,” commented Kirsten Feld-Türkis, who is responsible for all Thomas Cook Group premium products. The two managers explained that the German premium market, currently totalling about 10 million trips a year, is forecast to grow strongly in the coming years while the middle market is expected to continue stagnating at about 60 million trips.

The mass market brand Neckermann Reisen will be positioned more clearly in future as an ‘all-round’ tour operator, especially for families, offering hotels from two to five stars.

Overall, Thomas Cook has expanded its long-haul programme for winter 2016/17 with 330 more hotels and 33 new tours, especially in southern Africa, the Maldives, Thailand, North America and the Caribbean. Among short-haul destinations, Andalusia is being promoted as an all-year destination, and capacity has been expanded in Portugal and on Madeira as alternatives to North Africa.

The company is keeping short- and medium-haul prices generally stable next winter, with slight increases for Majorca (+3%) and the Canary Islands (+1%) and reductions for Egypt (-2%), Turkey (-5%) and Tunisia (-15%). Among long-haul destinations, the Caribbean will be generally slightly more expensive while South Africa and Thailand will be cheaper.