The TUI tour operator announced a 16% increase in its yearend travel bookings on Thursday, a result due mainly to the demise of Thomas Cook, which declared bankruptcy on 30 September last.
However, Neckermann, which had foundered for a while as a result of Thomas Cook’s collapse, has reorganised in Belgium after being rescued by a Spanish group, and is expressing optimism about current and future trends.
TUI was Thomas Cook’s main competitor and inherited many of its clients. It thus saw an increase in reservations for the winter holidays, although a TUI spokesperson downplayed the Thomas Cook effect.
“We’ve had very good results these past few years, so this 16% figure is not due only to Thomas Cook’s collapse,” spokesperson Sarah Saucin told the Belga news agency. “But, of course, there is a Thomas Cook effect, which is impossible for us to quantify.”
Sixty-two of the 91 Thomas Cook/Neckermann agencies in Belgium were saved in October by being taken over by the Spanish travel group Wamos. The group had to organise itself in the first few weeks but is now beginning to be fully operational.
“Many customers reserve their yearend holidays early,” Neckermann spokesperson Leen Segers explained. “The context of the recovery, coming at an important time, did not enable us to sell our offers optimally.” The Neckermann spokesman added, however, that “the partnership signed in late November with the Sunweb travel agency will be an important jumpstart for next summer.”
Neckermann sold more last-minute bookings after the recovery, “but for three weeks now we have been observing an increase in sales for our more classic offers,” Segers said. “We have realistic goals with regard to our situation. Above all, we need to regain the trust of our customers. The months of January and February will be very important for the summer reservations.”
Neckermann has already been able to note a trend in its clients’ preferences for the end of the year. Their favourite destinations are Hurghada in Egypt, Teneriffe and the Canary Islands.