Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel agency, is to expand its own-brand hotel portfolio in a new partnership with Swiss-based group LMEY Investments.
As part of the deal, Thomas Cook has bought a 42% stake in German-based tour operator and hotel company Aldiana from LMEY.
Aldiana currently operates eight club resorts in Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Tunisia and Austria, with plans to open another four resorts over the next two years.
Aldiana will sit alongside Thomas Cook's six existing proprietary hotel brands, bolstering Thomas Cook's own-brand hotel portfolio with a popular club offering and broadening its reach to new customers.
Thomas Cook and LMEY will also team up to create a joint hotel investment platform to boost the growth of Thomas Cook's own-brand hotels portfolio.
The news comes as Thomas Cook announced an 11% increase in holiday bookings over the summer, with 91% of capacity sold.
Demand for Turkey and Egypt continued to rise, despite fears over terrorism, Volume was up 13% in continental Europe, while northern Europe showed a 5% increase – with the UK up 8%.
Boost for sector
Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said the figures would go some way to boosting confidence in the travel and tourism sector.
“The group’s update does not seem to suggest that consumers were putting off their holidays in the face of falling real incomes and, looking ahead, consumers are still making bookings as winter bookings are up 6%,” he said.
“Consumers, it seems, will not miss out on holidays, and they cannot forego food spending, so the pressure is falling on the general retail sector, and we have seen poor numbers from those companies.
“We believe that the group’s numbers should be a positive reflection for the sector and TUI, which is our preferred stock.”
Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser commented: “Thomas Cook has enjoyed a good summer. Customers from across our markets have shown a strong appetite for our holidays, picking a wide range of destinations in their search for the sun, with Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus proving particularly popular.
“I'm also delighted about the progress we've made strategically. The alliance with Expedia announced earlier this month will allow us to cut the complexity in our business and focus on our core holiday offering.”
He said the new partnership with LMEY “gives us a platform from which to accelerate the growth of our own-brand hotels business”.