Tui boss Fritz Joussen believes Thomas Cook failed after struggling to differentiate its offering when weighed against more nimble online operators.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the Tui Group chief executive said: “When you have no differentiation, you are head-to-head competing with the internet.
“People are fine with packages because it’s comfort. People are not fine with being treated like anybody else.”
Amid the rise of OTAs, Tui moved quickly to shift business online and offer a range of personalisation options to match the flexibility offered by a new breed of travel agent offering hundreds of holiday options and combinations.
He told the paper the ability to offer personalised bookings would continue to shape the future of the business, with around 30% of Tui customers opting to pay extra to book a specific room, such as one near the hotel restaurant to allow them to use baby monitors.
Other personalisation options, said Joussen, include choosing rooms with morning or evening sun, or even just a particular room number.
Reflecting on Cook’s failure, and the wider state of the industry, Joussen added: “For the remaining players, I think the short-term is very clear. It’s positive. We have less competition.
“But long-term, that’s a question we need to ask ourselves: what happened and why it happened? And why we don’t want it to happen to us?”
Next year, Tui plans to further grow its online activities and experiences booking platform Musement, which allows holidaymakers to bolt-on extras before their trip and in-destinations.
Tui made an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to acquire some of Cook’s intellectual property following the operator’s failure on 23 September, understood to be its highly-sought after domain name.