Thomas Cook’s first group-wide marketing push sparks 6% boost in UK bookings

Thomas Cook's first group-wide marketing campaign, which launched last November, has helped bookings in the UK leap six per cent for the 12 weeks to the end of December.

The activity followed an overhaul of the Thomas Cook marketing team earlier in the year, which saw e-commerce director Jamie Queen promoted to the top marketing position following the exit of Mike Hoban.

Centred on user generated content shot by holiday makers in various locations, the campaign aimed to bring together its European sub brands – Spies, Ving, Tjäreborg in Scandinavia – with its operation in the UK and Germany.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser, who took over from Harriet Green in November, said he was particularly pleased with the company’s performance in the UK. However, bookings were four per cent lower than last year in Continental Europe and down one per cent in Northern Europe.

But, he said bookings for summer 2015 are currently three per cent higher year-on-year for the group as a whole, and five per cent up in the UK.

“The quarter demonstrates the strong progress we continue to make in transforming Thomas Cook,” he said. “Although it's early days, our strategy for profitable growth through New Products and Winter Sun is delivering results. The trading environment in many of our markets continues to be tough, but we believe the measures we are taking to improve our businesses will continue to strengthen our competitive position.”

Elsewhere, Thomas Cook reported that gross profits on a like-for-like basis were flat at £327m. It also said that during the period it made £29m in cost savings, bringing its current programme of cost savings to £429m.

Moving forward, it will prioritise its digital business. Bookings on Thomascook.com were up 24 per cent in December alone, and 10 per cent for the quarter as a whole. Since Christmas, mobile and tablet traffic has overtaken desktop traffic and overall conversion rate has increased by 20 per cent.

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