If you’ve ever wondered how travel companies like Thomas Cook got to be so prominent, last weeks 170th anniversary of their founders holidays should be a clue. Thomas Cook’s first hosted tour, a train ride with 500 demonstrators back in 1841, launched maybe the world’s most respected holiday travel company.
It was only 11 miles from Leicester to Loughborough, but Cook had dreamed of organizing such excursions since his early childhood. He organized transportation and meals for some 570 temperance demonstrators – selling railroad seats and food to the railroad for one shilling, and ensuring the demonstrators arrived promptly at their destination, etc. Like so many iconic stories of business icons, the Thomas Cook one involves hard work, fortitude, innovation, and most of all galvanized vision. Cook began work at age 10, working for just 6 pence a week at a market.
Little did Thomas Cook know, but his idea for putting together travel packages, combined with his self professed dedication as a “willing and devoted servant of the travelling public,” would launch a company that today employs over 31,000 people and serves over 22 million travelers a year.
Thomas Cook’s dream was not just a vision carried out by a throng of laborers however, the Thomas Cook travel company we see today is the product of circuitous and laborious dedication on the part of Cook. Battling solvency, becoming a literal pathfinder in almost every realm of what was then not so much an industry as a novel approach to going places, Cook established maybe the first International travel and tourism agency that offered what are now referred to as “vacation packages” – Cook’s vision was a bit more than selling tickets via Expedia, you see.
Yesterday’s announcement by Thomas Cook Group Plc, comes at a crucial time in the industry really. The network of Thomas Cook affiliates is worldwide. Cutting edge websites, hundreds of stores, and a fleet of brands now attest to the vision the company’s founder had back when. Thomas Cook now offers vacations far and wide outside the UK shores. And as the company’s spokesperson put it in their press release:
“With such a reputation and history as ours, our customers know they can always trust us with their important holiday plans, and the rest of the industry knows that Thomas Cook has something they can never match or recreate. Over those 170 years, it’s our people and the service we deliver that has been of utmost importance and given us the advantage.”
The agency today is in many ways only a reflection of its founder’s vision. Challenges for Thomas Cook these days are at least as daunting as those faced by their founder. Corporate entities all grow past any conceivable breadth, at least such famous brands do. But the reputation remains the same. Thomas Cook is still dedicated to the proposition that people are willing to pay for services they can count on – in this case trusted travel arrangements. We wish to congratulate Thomas Cook, on their 170 anniversary, and on maintaining the standards their founder believed in.
For more information about this news, please consult the original press release. Alternatively, please visit the links provided to the various Thomas Cook properties. You can also check out this timeline of Thomas Cook’s emergence as a world leader in travel. We leave you with a cool Thomas Cook YouTube Channel ad.
Top image courtesy Thomas Cook corporate media portfolio.