The investigation into the collapse of travel giant Thomas Cook will rumble on for many months to come. I desperately feel for the staff that learnt their fates when they woke and saw the news that ‘Thomas Cook’ had been liquidated.
Beside being the oldest tour/travel company in the UK it had many arms to it’s business and it had bought up some other big names such as Co-op Travel and Going Places. This left two players on the high street – Cooks and TUI. The long suffering UK high streets are going to continue to struggle and town centres are displaying many shop front closures that the need to visit is waning. Not much is being talked about by the media about the travel agencies that have closed and focusing mainly about flights and hotels. Thomas Cook also were heavily into sporting packages and worked with many football and rugby events worldwide and I bet that tickets for future Olympic Games have already been affected by the sudden demise of Cooks.
The fallout is going to be very wide and will impact many aspects of the travel industry as well as landlords of over 500 properties across the United Kingdom. Hoteliers are worrying about outstanding invoices and are challenging some Thomas Cook customers staying in their units to pay extra whilst they are resident. There is talk of some hotels and tourist regions having to close due to the impact of the loss of this oldest of travel providers.
Surely the loss of a regular flight schedule to some of the most popular American airports is going to have impact stateside as well. Thomas Cook Airlines flew to Las Vegas, Miami (seasonally), New York City, Orlando, Seattle (seasonally) and Los Angeles. I would assume that the airport staff were part of Swissport services and outsourced at many of these airports so hopefully there will be redeployment of ground staff with no redundancies.
The rotation into Seattle and Miami would mainly be to support the cruise industry. P&O Cruises have already said that anyone who has booked a cruise that includes a flight with Thomas Cook Airlines their cruise is safe. This is because P&O charter the flight for their cruises so will source another provider to cover the gaps.
There were many parts of the travel industry that used Thomas Cook services one way or another and alternative arrangements have to be found and this ultimately will impact prices upwards for all components that make up a holiday.
Press reports blame the company for not being future ready and being behind the curve but what about what the customer wants? The Fat Cats at the top of the tree got their bonus payments but why was there a £1.5 billion black hole in the accounts. The heads at the top crack their whips whilst the little people doing all the work got scant reward. I think that the corporate world needs to have a look in the mirror at itself. They all bang on about ‘putting the customer at the heart of everything we do’ but reality is that it is what the higher ups want, the customer is just a statistic on a spread sheet to put a tick on a KPI to satisfy shareholders and investors.