The boss of the new Thomas Cook OTA has said he “would not rule out” a presence in “destination malls” to “bring the product to life”.
Asked about customer service during TTG’s Debate today: Are the glory days over for OTAs?, Alan French said: “We would aim to be able to offer good advice – as much of it digitally as possible, but with somebody at the end of the phone or chat line in the short term.
“Looking forward, we’ve got the right number of people to deal with most eventualities, and are able to help people through the process.
“Everyone’s got an individual set of circumstances, that will require people dealing with a customer. I think we can do that digitally for quite a long way and when we can’t do that we’ve got enough people and enough technology to connect them to customers.”
Asked by TTG editor Sophie Griffiths whether the new Cook would ever open on the UK high street, French said: “I think the high street agency business we will leave to other people.
“We’re seeing a long term trend away from the high street, and I think that’s exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.”
He added though: “I wouldn’t rule out destination malls and stores to try and bring product to life, but not as a distribution channel, more as a marketing mechanism.
“I think the high street is an interesting place. Not just moving from the high street to online but from the high street to malls.”
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