Hays Travel has confirmed it has stepped in after the collapse of Thomas Cook
Over the past couple of weeks, the travel/hospitality sector has gone through a huge change that has had some devastating effects on what drives company values – customers and staff.
Thomas Cook, the once-largest independent travel agent and a stalwart of the FTSE100, collapsed, leaving 140,000 customers stranded and resulting in the largest peacetime repatriation exercise at a time when uncertainty – particularly across Europe with Brexit looming – meant both customers and staff of the doomed travel business were left high and dry.
Hays Travel – a direct competitor founded in 1980 in the North East by John Hays which rapidly expanded its operation with a flood of retail stores in the 90’s – has now confirmed it has stepped in.
The company has acquired all 555 Thomas Cook stores and more significantly, saved hundreds of jobs with a view to potentially taking on thousands more former employees, while also beefing up its operation from the HQ to further support those stores.
Having worked in the travel tech space for a short but thrilling 1.5 years, this incredible news has really hit home and shown how potentially devastating turns of events can lead to a positive outcome.
The traditional travel agent retail offering is something I thought was dead and buried with technology now leading customers to be self-sufficient and empowered to do everything from research to booking without needing company staff to assist on their behalf.
Actually, what this incredible story has shown is that there is light at the end of the tunnel for brave, entrepreneurial forward-thinking businesses.
Our technology here at Avvio allows hotel customers to take advantage of consumer trends in booking direct without the need for online travel agents (OTAs) which take high commissions whilst aggregating and commoditising hotel assets, or even more traditional travel agents. However, the human side of this story is all too real; customers and employees will always continue to be at the heart of every hospitality interaction.
I love what Hays Travel has done for our industry, and I wish the company and the new ex-Thomas Cook staff all the best for their future.
About the author
@dejonghmichael – I’m part of the exec team and board member of Avvio, the world’s leading SaaS booking platform for hotels and serviced apartments providers powered by artificial intelligence (AI). I love building communities and scaling companies whilst empowering the smaller guys to think BIG and punch above. It’s a big wide world out there, made smaller through innovation and technology.