Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser is inviting Greek hoteliers, investors and banks to join forces with the group for new investments in Greece’s hospitality sector.
CEO to one of the world’s leading travel enterprises and the number one holiday company operating out of Europe into Greece, Fankhauser was recently in the country for the grand opening of Thomas Cook’s new own-brand hotel concept named “Cook’s Club” in Hersonissos on Crete. The Cook’s Club Hersonissos is the first of the brand new concept and the latest development in the company’s chain of innovation (188 own-brand portfolio) in the hotel sector, as well as a testament and sign of Thomas Cook’s commitment to supporting Greek tourism.
The grand opening gave local hoteliers and investors the chance to see what they could achieve by doing business with the travel company.
One of 47 Thomas Cook own-brand hotels in Greece and labeled to belong to “a new generation of hotels”, the Cook’s Club has a concept that is based on five pillars: minimal design, modern food, latest cocktails, special music and a “great price” for customers.
Thomas Cook CEO’s message to Greek hoteliers, investors:
“These concepts are only the lighthouse of our own-brand hotel development together with many other high quality hotels with our partners and we want to grow in Greece… Our ambition is, with these concepts, to grow further into the future together with our partners and to make Greece a fantastic and even a better holiday destination that it ever has been with really new concepts… We urge partners to help us find opportunities like you see here in this Cook’s Club in Chersonissos.” – Peter Fankhauser
Thomas Cook is seeking established hotels in prime sun and beach locations throughout Greece that are in need of refurbishment to become one of its eight own-brand hotels. Seeking growth through ownership and management as well as continuing to expand through franchising, the company has extended an open invitation to Greek hoteliers to co-invest in its latest concept or even develop new ones.
“We are looking for partners – hotel partners, banks – who are willing to co-invest with us and to further develop our concept and our own-branded hotels, which have a major potential for Greece,” says Fankhauser.
This summer, Thomas Cook is opening 17 new hotels including the first Cook’s Club on Crete, the first Casa Cook branded hotel designed for families in Chania and a new Sunprime branded hotel on Kos.
Thomas Cook provides access to 20 million customers across 17 source markets and a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction that delivers memorable holidays year-after-year.
The company is growing loyalty to its own-brand hotels with a 51 percent increase in repeat bookings in the last two years.
Among its brands, Thomas Cook is seeing demand for its Sunwing Resorts in Greece and would like to expand the brand across the country with its large, family-sized rooms, high-quality accommodation and ample space for children to enjoy the many activities on offer.
Thomas Cook Hotel Investments fund
Thomas Cook is committed to invest to accelerate the growth in its own-brand hotel portfolio through its hotel fund – five seed assets valued at £150 million, of which two are in Greece – the long-standing family resort Sunwing Kallithea on Rhodes and the well-established Sunwing Makrigialos on Crete.
The fund, a joint venture between Thomas Cook Group and Swiss-based hotel property development company, LMEY Investments, aims to help accelerate the holiday company’s growth of its own-brand hotel portfolio.
The partnership combines Thomas Cook’s distribution network and expertise in managing hotels, with LMEY’s track record in identifying and refurbishing hotels. The joint venture is 50/50 owned by Thomas Cook and LMEY.
Thomas Cook Hotel Investments will focus on acquiring hotel properties across Thomas Cook’s key destination markets, such as Greece, to expand its portfolio of own-brand hotels, leveraging the addition of third-party capital over time. The venture is expected to provide Thomas Cook customers with an even greater choice of own-brand hotels that are unique to Thomas Cook, which achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and better margins than the portfolio average.
Thomas Cook taps into new segment of visitors
The opening of the first Cook’s Club in Greece follows the successful opening of the award-winning “Casa Cook” boutique lifestyle brand – that also launched first in Greece – on Rhodes and then on Kos.
“Whatever we are testing, we are testing it in Greece. The Casa Cook on Rhodes and Kos is a fabulous success, as the Cook’s Club on Crete will be a fabulous success also.” – Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser
According to figures from Thomas Cook, 94 percent of guests at the Casa Cook on Rhodes and 75 percent of customers at the Casa Cook on Kos, are totally new to Thomas Cook.
“That is a testament and proof that with our new concepts, we are tapping into a totally new segment of visitors… We are really surprising the market as we attract a new segment of customers, which are probably exactly the customers hoteliers would like to target here in Greece,” Fankhauser says.Concept: Simple design, good food, quality drinks, best music… all for a good price!
An 4-star adults-only hotel, the new Cook’s Club in Hersonissos, has a contemporary, minimal design within its 140 rooms, offers competitive prices and top notch, as well as innovative, services.
Even when entering the hotel, visitors can sense that they are about to experience something different, as they have to pass through a container first, an idea inspired by Remo Masala, Group Creative Director of Thomas Cook Group.
“When you enter a hotel, you must feel that you are entering into a different space,” says Masala, underlining how important it is for a hotel to differ from the outside area.
The target group of the new concept hotel are the so-called “ego” tourists, the new generation of tourists that seek new experiences, tastes and are keen to post their experiences on Instagram and other social media networks.
“We aim to help create content for our customers social media profiles… Instagram is the highest recommendation tool in the world,” says Masala, while explaining the hotel’s philosophy.
Cook’s Club also includes rooms that can fit up to six guests. As underlined by Masala, Cook’s Club is a “friends-friendly” hotel and invites travelers to bring their friends.
The hotel has two pools, flanked by the “Cantina” casual dining space serving international street food including vegan dishes and Greek favorites moussaka and gyros as well as breakfast until late into the night.
“The chef is the new DJ and food is now part of the culture and part of where you go… We bring the chefs out of the kitchen and let them build a relationship and prepare the orders in front of the customers and explain the food. This becomes a value and I think this is very important for the future of tourism.” – Remo Masala, Group Creative Director of Thomas Cook Group
The Cook’s Club includes the Captain Cook bar, an all-day resident DJ known for pumping up the volume in Berlin festivals (DJ Erwin), an escape room, a rage room and even a private disco club for small groups of people.
“I think that our job in the tourism industry is to create a source of inspiration and a destination that people can enjoy with all their senses where they are… Then they go back home and report about the place in a very positive way,” Masala said.
The new Cook’s Club is based on a partnership between Thomas Cook and “Zeus Hotels” of the Papakaliatis family, the hotel’s owner.
“We invite you to show the same boldness that Lefteris and Maria (Papakaliatis) have shown and decided to join forces with us and try this new concept that basically draws a new piece of the market.” – Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser
Zeus Hotels also cooperates with Thomas Cook for the SENTIDO Blue Sea Beach Hotel, the smartline The Village Resort & Waterpark and the smartline Neptuno Beach on Crete; and the smartline Cosmopolitan Resort on Rhodes.
With the first Cook’s Club opening in Greece, Thomas Cook aims to have 10 to 15 by Summer 2019.