British tour operator Thomas Cook has asked Greek hoteliers to renegotiate their package deals downward even more for summer 2019. In an effort to transfer the ailing company’s woes onto already struggling Greek hoteliers, the tour operator aims to hold off creditors at the expense of Greek partners.
According to reports, Thomas Cook has the same number of confirmed bookings for this year as the company did back in 2018. The problem, says the company, is that the operator will have trouble selling the remainder of its acquired packages unless Greek hoteliers chop their already low rates even further. David Child, the tour operator’s communication and marketing director for hotels and resorts, told Kathimerini of the company’s dilemma, which sounds more like a strategy to this writer.
As I warned in previous reports, Thomas Cook and operators like TUI are pulling a fast one on underwater Greek hoteliers, and especially the ones I am familiar with her on Crete. The news Greek hoteliers talked to Kathimerini and revealed that the rates agreed with Thomas Cook and other tour operators were already 15-20 percent and in some cases, 30 percent less than last year, bears mentioning now.
I was just in high-level talks with one of Greece’s most successful marketing executives discussing this very issue. The season on Crete is already off to a shaky start, with many hotels and resorts booked something on the order of 50% instead of 110%, which is customary. The hoteliers, having based markdowns on last year’s fully booked season, threw the big travel companies more profit still. Now, they will not be able to recoup May loses PLUS Thomas Cook and the others want an even bigger bargain! I predicted this Winter that interests in central Europe and abroad would starve some hoteliers out this year, then swoop in to snatch up hotels deep into the red. Then again, perhaps I am making too much out of the Thomas Cook news – but probably not.
The news about the negotiations conveys that some will be harder than others, depending on whether or not they concern hotels with exclusive cooperation with Thomas Cook. As for TUI, I’ve not heard I’ve yet to be privy to their latest poor mouthing attempt to elevate their bottom line. I do know Thomas Cook is pushing Turkey like nobody’s business this season. Both operators are selling all-inclusive 7-night packages including flights for the cost of an on-sale designer handbag from last year’s Furla collection. Sorry, it had to be said. TUI offers even cheaper deals to places like Alanya, in the Antalya area of Turkey. £209 per person for 7 nights makes me think the hotel is paying TUI to fly guests there. Another good question for the Turkish retailer in Antalya is, “Do you expect these people to be able to afford any souvenirs?” Don’t get me started on economic impacts.
As a spot test, I found a TC Bodrum holiday for £324 per person – flight from London Gatwick for 7 nights. AMAZINGLY, a similar accommodation on Crete comes in at £239 with breakfast included. Does this mean Thomas Cook is making more margin on Turkey? Please, excuse me, a loaf of bread costs €2 at my local bakery, a liter of milk €2.05, and a kilo of hamburger goes for almost €9 euro. How much did you say aviation fuel costs? Give us a break Thomas Cook.