A group of ex-Thomas Cook staff are readying to launch a new online tour operator – with future plans to sell through agents.
Sunny Heart Travel – whose name pays tribute to Cook’s famous logo – currently has a team of five based in the iconic travel firm’s heartlands of Peterborough.
The privately owned company has intentions to take on “as many former Cook colleagues as possible” as it goes about growing.
Chief executive Steve Bentzen – a former IT programme manager for Cook – said the operator could launch as early as this month “if the Covid situation improves”.
“We are ready to launch as soon as the nation’s confidence in travel returns. I personally think airport testing will go a long way towards that,” he said.
“We have come a long way since the collapse of Cook. Sunny Heart was built from scratch, the name and logo are trademark registered and we have our own Atol.”
Sunny Heart will offer “a broad range” of product including flights, hotels, tours, cruises, excursions and ancillaries – selling both packages and tailor-made trips.
The company will carry the tagline: “Great holidays start with a Sunny Heart’.
“We have put a lot of thought into our online customer journey in order to give our clients the best booking experience, before enjoying their best holiday experience,” said Bentzen.
“Our unique selling point is our lean operational model, purpose-built for online sales. This means we can offer incredible prices throughout the year, not just during off-peak seasons.
“Our combined experience in the travel industry means we have an in-depth industry knowledge, particularly when it comes to customer servicing. Online booking doesn’t mean offline customer service, we offer a wide range of contact channels, making us accessible at all times.”
Bentzen said Sunny Heart has “B2B capability” and would be speaking with agents as part of its second phase of expansion.
“We are confident the UK will soon be back enjoying their holidays again soon and we are looking forward to being part of that experience,” he added.