Peterborough's Thomas Cook enjoys surge in sales as it seeks to put holiday-makers first
Holiday giant Thomas Cook has reported a five per cent rise in revenues as the company strives to enhance its customers' experiences.
Peterborough-based Thomas Cook saw revenues increase to £3,227 million for the six months to the end of March, driven in large part by the company's renewed focus on meeting the demands of customers.
The tour operator said it made a £303 million loss in the half year compared to a £314 million loss in the same period of 2017.
Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: “Thomas Cook has had a good first six months of the year, delivering improved financial results combined with tangible strategic progress.
"The work we’ve done in the past two years to improve customers’ experience of our flights and our holidays is bearing fruit with revenue growth of five per cent, and a positive booking position for the summer.
“The improvements in customer satisfaction have come from our focus on fewer, better hotels and our holiday programme for Summer 2018 is in great shape.
"Two-thirds of our customers tell us they want to personalise their holidays and we are innovating to satisfy this demand.
"This includes the successful introduction of ‘Choose Your Room’ across 300 hotels for the summer and, more recently, ‘Choose Your Favourite Sunbed’ which we are rolling out to 50 hotels."
The company, which has 1,200 staff at its offices in Westpoint, Lynch Wood, says demand is strong for holidays in Egypt, Greece and Turkey and its long haul destinations. It also says there is strong demand for holidays in Tunisia following its return to the UK market in February.
However, the company has warned its UK business continues to be hit by the impact of currency changes and rising costs at hotels in Spain.
As a result, the company has sought to reduce its hotel capacity in Spain while increasing availability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The UK business suffered a £77 million winter loss - up £8 million on the previous year.
Mr Fankhauser said: "We continue to experience margin pressure in the UK tour operator due to a combination of hotel cost inflation in Spain, currency impact and capacity increases in the market.
"We have taken action to help mitigate this pressure, including taking out holiday capacity from Spain and moving it to the Eastern Mediterranean."
Mr Fankhauser said the company was confident about the future.
He said: “As we enter our busiest period, I see positive momentum across all of our markets to deliver the best possible holidays for our customers.
"Our continued progress on strategy to transform the business, together with the clear desire among customers for our modern, personalised package holidays and flights, mean we are on track to deliver a performance in line with current expectations for the full year, on a constant currency basis.”