Thomas Cook’s sales and e-commerce director Phil Gardner admitted to delegates at the Freedom Travel Group conference earlier this month that Cook may need to launch some of its programme earlier in future after Tui released its summer 2020 offering in November – five months earlier than usual.
Asked whether this would have an impact on Cook, Gardner said: “In the long run, no, in the short term, possibly. What we might do is launch strong-selling product earlier, rather than the entire programme. One of the reactions we had [to Tui’s early launch] was bringing weddings forward a bit.
“It’s tricky because a lot of the rates we have aren’t confirmed, so we have to price off estimated rates, and I worry that if I had to hedge my bets on price, everything would look super expensive.
“Yes, in the short run it will give us a bit of a challenge, and I think the way to address it is to pick out key products to sell earlier from next year.”
Gardner added: “We’ve got some capacity changes for next year, which makes me feel better about [it].”