Thomas Cook’s new Cook’s Club hotel concept is “categorically not” replacement for its now defunct Club 18-30 brand, trade partnership manager Katrina Latimer has said.
Cook announced plans to wind down Club 18-30 holidays back in May, with chief executive Peter Fankhauser intimating another operator or shareholder may be “better placed” to develop the brand.
Club 18-30, which dates to the early 1970s and specialised in youth-focused holidays to the costas, was placed under review by Cook until the end of the summer 2018 season.
The firm on Sunday though confirmed it will be wound up entirely on October 27, the BBC reports, after its final trip to Magaluf.
Following the launch of its Casa Cook brand in May 2016, focusing on relaxation, healthy living and local culture, Cook’s own-brand revolution continued earlier this year with Cook’s Club, which Cook says has been designed to appeal to a “new generation” of package holidaymakers.
Cook said Cook’s Club, like Casa Cook, would further “disrupt the beach hotel market at the higher, design-centred end” by stripping it back to the basics that matter to modern travellers, while bringing “a sense of urban cool to the beach”.
Cook’s Club hotels will feature escape rooms, VR gaming, rage rooms and private discos, as well as street food dining, a poolside cocktail bar and live DJs providing a complementary soundtrack day and night.
The first opened in Hersonissos, Crete, in June and has delivered an occupancy rate of 93% in its first three months. Cook is hoping to open another 10 Cook’s Club hotels next year in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, The Gambia and Bulgaria.
Latimer, addressing delegates at the Hays Travel Independence Group conference in Faro on Saturday where Cook is headline sponsor, said the operator’s own-brand offering was central to its future plans.
However, she said there were no plans to create a like-for-like replacement for Club 18-30. “Cook’s Club is categorically not here to replace Club 18-30,” she said. “It [Club 18-30] has left our portfolio.”
Latimer said Cook’s Club targeted a “young, upwardly-mobile, trendy, modern” clientele, including those who perhaps haven’t traditionally booked package holidays.
She added Cook’s own-brand propositions were delivering strong repeat bookings (51%), while 75% of Casa Cook’s customers since its launch two years ago are new to Cook entirely.
“We’re creating brands to offer unique experiences,” she added. “I think Cook’s Club will do exactly the same thing.”