Thomas Cook to shift away from brochures to magazines

By Amie Keeley and Ben Ireland

Thomas Cook is “slowly going away” from brochures and moving towards “magazine-style” publications.

Outgoing chief digital and marketing officer Gilles Despas said one of the reasons was fluid pricing, meaning price-led brochures can be out of date before they are distributed.

He said Cook’s recently relaunched Excursionist magazine had gained “a lot of traction”.

Speaking at the Travolution Summit, the annual event held by Travel Weekly’s sister title, Despas said: “We are slowly going away from the traditional brochure and bringing the customer into the experience of the holiday before they are on holiday.”

Cook’s website currently features more than 100 brochures, all of which are available to download or view online.

They include brochures focused on specific destinations; Signature, Airtours, Emporium and Club 18‑30 programmes; magazine-style titles such as Excursionist from Cook’s Inspire Me section; Explore resort guides; and brochures for sectors such as weddings, city breaks and LGBTQ-friendly holidays.

Instead of brochures, Despas predicted virtual reality tools and “big screens” in shops would “put the customer in the destination”, whether that be the resort or destination, hotel or aircraft.

Rival Tui announced last year it would be phasing out brochures by 2020 and replacing them with technology in stores and glossy print magazines.

A spokesman for Cook said: “Digital sales are growing strongly and we’re investing in rich and inspiring online content to attract more customers, but our brochures still play an important role in our stores.”

Despas, who spearheaded the rollout of a single web platform, OneWeb, across the group, and led the team responsible for delivering the alliance with Expedia, will leave the business in December.

It follows the announcement that Tui’s Andrew Flintham will become managing director of Cook’s UK business and Chris Mottershead as chief of UK source market and group differentiated product.

Digital will be wrapped in with IT in a new function, led by Alan French as group strategy and technology director.

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