The revived Thomas Cook brand is looking to launch “concept” stores that will be “more than just travel agencies”.
Cook was relaunched in the UK as an online travel agency earlier this week by Chinese firm Fosun Tourism Group, which also owns Club Med and had previously been Cook’s largest shareholder before its collapse last year.
Fosun chief executive and chairman Jim Qian told the BBC that one of the plans for Cook was to launch a few concept stores, starting with Shanghai in early 2021.
Qian added that these stores will be "multifunctional and more than just travel agencies", with attractions as skiing machines and instructors, cafes and education classes for children.
“We want to test a lot of things in China which in the future can be launched globally,” said Qian. “These new-style concept stores show our commitment to having a solid offline presence, building on physical resorts like the Club Med chain."
Qian said the relaunched Cook brand in China was more of an online “lifestyle platform” than a pure OTA, as it also offers tickets, entertainment, education and retailers offering gifts and souvenirs. There is even a delivery service assisting holidaymakers in getting bulky items back to their homes.
Fosun’s plan is to add these types of services to Cook’s new online platform in the UK, with more products being introduced gradually.
Read our interview with Cook’s new UK chief executive Alan French about his plans for the iconic brand’s rebirth – a year after the operator collapsed.