Thomas Cook’s bookings for this season are up with 79 percent of its Summer 2018 program sold, a similar level to last year, the tour operator’s CEO, Peter Fankhauser, said on Tuesday.
“Total bookings are up 11 percent, supported by strong customer demand for Turkey, Egypt and Greece,” Fankhauser said in a statement referring to the Group’s third quarter results.
According to Fankhauser, summer bookings are also fueled by strong growth in its Group Airline, in line with the planned increase in capacity, particularly in Germany.
“This has helped to offset a slowdown in package holiday bookings in recent weeks with customers across our European markets delaying decisions about their summer holidays as they enjoy the record temperatures at home,” he added.
Since the Group’s last update in May, tour operator bookings have been impacted by the sustained period of hot weather across Europe during June and July, which has led to a delay in customer bookings, restricting the tour operator’s ability to drive margins in the ‘lates’ market.
The tour operator’s trading statement for the April-June 2018 period, showed that pricing across all segments is higher than last year, but average selling prices are 3 percent lower overall, reflecting a higher mix of short/medium-haul destinations.
However, Group revenue increased by 10 percent to £2,479 million in the third quarter, driven by strong customer demand for holidays to Turkey and North Africa.
“We have grown revenue strongly in the third quarter as more customers chose Thomas Cook for their holidays. I’m pleased to see that the improvements we’ve made to our holidays are paying off through strong growth in both new and retained customers, at 12 percent and 5 percent respectively so far this year.”
For the Group Airline, overall bookings are 15 percent ahead, in line with capacity increases. Bookings to short and medium-haul destinations are up by 18 percent, largely mirroring demand for Turkey, Egypt and Greece, while long-haul bookings are down 1 percent, reflecting a reduction in capacity.
Moreover, Fankhauser said that he was pleased by the strong strategic progress Thomas Cook has continued to make in the past few months, including the successful opening of the new Cook’s Club brand in Greece and the launch of the Expedia alliance for customers in the UK and Scandinavia.
“We are confident this will lead to further profitable growth over the medium term,” he said.
Regarding the Winter 2018/19 season, Thomas Cook reported a good start with 31 percent of the program currently sold, 2 percent higher than this time last year.