Thanks to the inspiration and dedication of a single man. Thomas Cook began his international travel company in 1841. Thomas Cook walked from his home in Market Harborough to the nearby town of Leicester to attend a temperance meeting. AS he was a former Baptist preacher.At the meeting, Thomas suggested that a special train be engaged to carry the temperance supporters of Leicester to a meeting in Loughborough about four weeks later. The proposal was received with such enthusiasm that, on the following day, Thomas submitted his idea to the secretary of the Midland Railway Company.A train was subsequently arranged, and on 5 July 1841 roughly around 500 passengers were conveyed in open carriages the enormous distance of 12 miles and back for a shilling Thomas Cook had begun.
Thomas Cook UK & Ireland is the second largest leisure travel group in the UK with around 19,000 employees and is part of Thomas Cook Group plc.Thomas Cook UK & Ireland has a network of more than 800 high street stores including Going Placesand some of the world’s favourite travel brands. These brands include Airtours, Club 18-30 and CruiseThomasCookThe Company’s airline, Thomas Cook Airlines, operates a fleet of 44 aircraft and flies from various regional airports to destinations worldwide.
The recession created a decrease in overseas holiday which resulted in the number of holidays abroad booked through agents fell in both 2009 and 2010. the fall in all holidays abroad meant that the number of trips booked through agents continued to drop, falling 11% in 2009 and a further 5% in 2010.The proportion of consumers saying they may use a travel agent in future is low, at approximately one in fiveApproximately one in five people with no internet access make travel agent bookings - however approximately one-third of people with internet access also do, slightly higher than the average across the entire population. Only one in ten people do so because they feel uncomfortable/not confident enough when using the internet.
Travel Insurance – Thomas cook offer a wide range of travel insurance policies that can be catered to suit different specific travel needs.Policy's include: A choice of Single Trip or Annual Policies.Economy policy – standard, provides cover for over 90 activities including 24 hour emergency assistance. Traveller Gold policy - Premium policy, with the highest cover levels and rated 5 star by Defaqto.Additional extras can be added to your policy including cover for winter sports, cruises, weddings, business travel, golf as well as independent travel.Airport parking – Thomas Cook have over 130 car Parks at 26 UK Airports.Guaranteed best price for airport parking, if customers find the same the same for less within 7 days of booking, Thomas Cook claim to pay the parking for you. No cancellation fees up to 34 hours before leaving No amendment fees No credit card fees 24 hour control by ground staff CCTV surveillance Car hire- Thomas cook has teamed up with Avis, this is for customers travelling through Europe. This will give the customer the chance to furtherenhance their holiday also giving the customer peace of mind to travel at their own pace.Thomas cook have also teamed up with Alamo, this is for customers travelling through USA and Canada. Airport loungesUK and International Airport Lounges From Thomas CookThomas cook provides there customers to Pamper themselves at an airport lounge during theirtrip. With luxury facilities on hand and comfortable seating, they will enjoy the benefits of VIP treatment while waiting onyour flight.Facilities IncludeComplimentary food and beveragesInternet accessComfy seatingComplimentary Newspapers and magazinesShower facilitiesTheyoffer more than 160 lounges at airports around the UK and worldwide, from family-friendly to first-class exclusive venues. Travel Voucher - Customers can purchase gift vouchers from Thomas Cook.Attraction ticketsSome of the places that Thomas cook supply attraction tickets to are Las VegasLas Vegas attractions include Hoover Dam Tours, Grand Canyon West Rim Indian Country Bus Tour and Las Vegas Show TicketsAustralia Australia attractions include Australia Zoo, Barossa Valley Tours, McLaren Vale Food & Wine TourNew York New York attractions include Big Apple Helicopter Tour, On Location Tours - Central Park Movie Sites and Broadway MusicalsOrlandoOrlando attractions include Walt Disney World Resort in Florida Tickets, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc, Discovery Cove® Packages, Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay Tickets and Universal Orlando® Resort Tickets
Thomas Cook offer a variety of services when handling Foreign Exchange:1 - Thomas Cook foreign exchange allows customers to order and collect currency in the way that most suits their lifestyle. Customers can get cash delivered to their home, pick it up in store or collect at the airport. Currency can be issued as cash, travellers cheques or on a ‘topped up prepaid card’2 - Prepaid Cash Passport: is a card that is loaded with the currency of the consumers choice and whilst away, customers can withdraw money from ATMS. You can also use it to pay for goods and services in shops, restaurants and hotels just like using a debit card.3 - Credit Card - Thomas cook offer credit cards with a loyalty scheme, customers can earn travel pounds through booking holidays and flights with Thomas Cook on their Thomas Cook Credit Card.The Card is 0% interest for the first 3 months, 0% commission on holiday money and 0% interest in balance transfers for 9 months made within 60 days of account opening. 4 -Moneygram Transfer – is a service that lets customers send money to family or friends abroad. Customers can do this instore and online. Money can also be transferred from abroad to the UK.5 – Corporate Foreign Exchange - Thomas Cook is one of the UK's corporate foreign exchange leaders. Clients will have a full range of drafts, wires and foreign currency available at all times, making trading abroad easy with Thomas Cook Corporate Foreign Exchange.
Traditional service classification typically looks at the degree of intangibility; the skill level of the service provider; labour intensiveness; the degree and nature of customer contact; and the goal of the service provider.Other bases for classifying services, as described by Adrian Palmer, are:Marketable vs unmarketable servicesBusiness-to-business vs consumer servicesThe status of the service in the total product offerExtent of customer involvementThe pattern of service deliveryPeople-based vs equipment-based servicesProcess vs outcome-based servicesHigh-knowledge vs low-knowledge servicesThe significance of the service to the provider Multiple classificationThe most relevant service classification to Thomas Cook is the degree and nature of customer contact.
Involvement is a well-established marketing concept, referring to the level of attachment that an individual has with a product.Involvement also refers to the extent to which a customer personally interacts with the service production process. Some services can only be provided with the complete involvement of the customers, whereas others require them to do little more than initiate the service process.In the first category, holidays almost by definition require the complete involvement of customers during the service production and delivery process.
It is the customer who initiates the process, tailors the process to their own individual needs and thereby creating their own individual service experience.
The level of intangibility with regards to the service provided is high. There is no physical product or service given to the customer. The customer purchases an experience rather than an actual tangible asset. There is a high level of interaction between the customer and the travel agent. The customer and agent may met several times throughout the choosing of their venue and also when making regular payments. The main goal of the travel agent would be to gain as much profit as possible and the greater the number of bookings they receive the high the amount of commission. The job requires full training and knowledge of computers. The job role is not highly skilled, although does require a standard skills level. Although the agents may not be required to have a degree in their field of expertise, to make the job a highly professional career, the agents would be classed as professional within their own right.
The lovelock and Yip model identifies three areas of service. The service classification used within the Thomas Cook organisation follows each of the criteria stated. People: The customers are the direct receiver of the service. The customer receives transport to and from destination, and accommodation. The customer can also choose where to have food included on their flight or at their final accommodation type etc self catering. Possession: Customer has the option to choose baggage transfers or to increase baggage weight. They may also choose the level to stay at e.g. Top level of apartments etc or the view type they want, when they arrive at their location. Information based service: Thomas cook offer insurance cover , consultation on various destination to suit their requirements and local attraction around the chosen venue. They would also inform the customer with regards to exchange rates and currency used. The agent would disclose to the customer traditions within the designated country and common temperatures around the suggested time or departure.
The customer would be more interested in the service process. As the end outcomes is intangible the service process in booking the holiday and going though the options available makes the outcome more exciting for the customer. The experience in booking their holiday and the level of customer service is very important to both the client and Thomas Cook. The customer is required to be in store to receive the full benefit of service offered and to make an educated choice, by having all the available options and information available to them. There is a high level of customer involvement. A high degree of contact exists between the agent and the client. Regular meetings will occur and several phone calls may take place
The blueprint identifies points where consumers may potentially perceive failure in the service production process; these problem or failures are especially common in the service sector because its hard to standardized service throughout stores. It has been suggested that a happy customer will go away and tell 2 or 3 other people about the good service, but a dissatisfied customer will tell probably a dozen about the failure, therefore it is important for the business to have a recovery plan.Problems that could be/are encountered:Waiting timesRisk of providing the wrong holiday out of their price bracket Relies heavily on the employee and whether they are having a good day or not- warmth show by employees or customer service.Cant take your form of payment
Problems that could be/are encountered:Service mistakesBilling error- will effect the customer and the business because normally they will have to compensate the customer on wrong doingUnknowledgeable staffUnresponsive staff
What it includes:Physical actions:Customer actions:Front of stage interaction:Support processes:
Ideally the improvements recommended would help to improve the efficiency and overall nature of the service delivery for the customers, helping the customers to have a more pleasant experience and therefore be more likely to return to Thomas Cook when booking holidays in the future.Ultimately, happy customers are more likely to become loyal customers!
In order to gain sufficient knowledge and information on both Thomas cook and the industry in which they operate, we conducted both primary and secondary forms of research. We used the Thomas Cook website in order to gain a history of the organisation and where they currently are within their market and it also helped us identify the vast amount of journeys and services which they offer their customers. We had a expert interview with a travel agent within the Thomas Cook store located within Castle court. The agent Laura Fitzminins, was able to inform us on both procedures that the customer goes through when booking their holiday through the organisation and the services and procedures that take place back stage in the booking process. The information gained from Laura, was extremely useful in creating our service blueprint. We used Mintel online journals to help identify any reoccurring or emerging patterns within the UK travel industry. These reports helped to identify actual figures which highlighted the declining use of travel agents through both the increased use of online travel bookings e.g. Though online travel agents such as ice lolly.com and also through the new ability of people to book direct with the airlines at sometimes a cheaper rate. The recession has also had an impact on the use of travel agents , whereby people are travelling within the UK rather than purchasing foreign holidays, which has a direct effect upon the UK travel agents. Class Notes have also been used to help identify relevant theory that where used when designing the service process used and also when developing and designing our service blueprint.
Thomas Cook service marketing
History of Thomas Cook• Thanks to the inspiration and dedication of a single man. Thomas Cook began his international travel company in 1841.• Thomas suggested that a special train be engaged to carry the temperance supporters of Leicester to a meeting in Loughborough.• On 5 July 1841 roughly around 500 passengers were conveyed in open carriages the enormous distance of 12 miles and back for a shilling.• Thomas Cook had begun.
Thomas Cook Today• Thomas Cook UK & Ireland is the second largest leisure travel group in the UK with around 19,000 employees• has a network of more than 800 high street stores• Thomas Cook Airlines, operates a fleet of 44 aircraft and flies from various regional airports to destinations worldwide.
Holiday Industry• The recession created a decrease in overseas holiday which resulted in the number of holidays abroad booked through agents fell in both 2009 and 2010.• The proportion of consumers saying they may use a travel agent in future is low, at approximately one in five.• Approximately one in five people with no internet access make travel agent bookings - however approximately one-third of people with internet access also do.
Services provided by Thomas Cook: Travel Money• Foreign Exchange 1 – Currency 2 –Prepaid Cash Passport 3 – Credit Card 4 – Moneygram Transfer 5 – Corporate Foreign Exchange
Classification of Service• Degree of intangibility• Skill level of service provider• Labour intensiveness• Degree and nature of customer contact• Goal of service provider
Degree & Nature of Customer Contact• This is also known as “people processing”.• Customers must physically enter the system.• Sometimes, the service provider goes to the customer with necessary tools.
Degree & Nature of Customer Contact• People must be prepared to spend time actively co-operating with the service operation.• The level of involvement may vary, depending on the service that is being offered.• Managers must think about processes/outputs in terms of what happens to the customers or what benefits are created.
Degree & Nature of Customer Contact• When booking a holiday, customers need to have almost full involvement in the service process.• Unless the customer initiates the process, the process cannot be started and the service experience cannot be encountered.• Customer participates primarily in the ‘Front of Stage’ interaction, while seeing physical evidence of the service throughout the entire encounter.
Classification of Service• The level of intangibility with regards to the service provided is high.• The job requires full training and knowledge of computers. The job role is not highly skilled, although does require a standard skills level.• The main job role of the agent would require consent work with computers, telephones and a high level of communication skills.
Lovelock & Yip Model 1999• People: The customers are the direct receiver of the service. The customer receives transport to and from destination, and accommodation• Possession: Customer has the option to choose baggage transfers or to increase baggage weight.• Information based service: Thomas cook offer insurance cover , consultation on various destination to suit their requirements and local attraction around the chosen venue.
Lovelock model 1983• The customer would be more interested in the service process.• The customer is required to be in store store to receive the full benefit of service offered.• There is a high level of customer involvement. A high degree of contact exists between the agent and the client. Regular meetings will occur and several phone calls may take place.
Flowchart representing the process steps for the customer Agent Is follow Free? up needed? Informing Meeting agent ReceivingEnter information payment Receive Go on with about tickets holidayshop agent on destinations, your holiday requirements price and dates No: Waiting area
Flowchart representing the process steps for the provider Problem If with Agent research Receive busy? original needed order tickets Customer Inform GiveGreet Meeting Informing customer Receivecustomer with customer agent on payment theiron arrival agent about destinations, tickets their holiday price and dates Yes: Direct Yes: Agent customer Informing needs to customer Get to contact contact Waiting on other Customer services details area ...phone Offer that other Thomas customer back services Cook offers currency e.g. car hire, insura nce
Thomas Cook’s Flowchart Physical evidence Customer Enter Agent Discuss holiday Receive Confirm Collect Go on actions store free? If not information and tickets holiday waiting Payment areaLine of interaction Greet Meet Inform Inform Cash or Give custo- customer customer on customer credit cards customer Front of stage mer holidays taken tickets& interaction available & inform about other services other servicesLine of visibility Check Insert Customer Back of stage availability of booking care operations holidayLine of internal interaction Maintain Staff Registration Order process Accounting Maintain Support or rent training systems procedures reservation processes facilities systems
Recommendations• Waiting times – increase the number of staff and computer systems available to decrease waiting times.• Risk of providing the wrong holiday/billing error – holiday details should be double checked by both staff and customers to ensure this risk is kept low, and signed by both parties.• Service given by the employee – staff incentives to be offered, such as holidays, pay rise, reward schemes, company competitions, the opportunity given for staff to change roles etc.• Unknowledgeable/unresponsive staff – refresher courses, workshops and retraining options made available for all staff at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure service and knowledge is of the highest standards.
Methodology• Thomas Cook website• Expert interview with Thomas Cook agent• Mintel Reports on the UK travel Industry:Mintel. (2011). Holiday Review UK . Mintel. 1 (1), 1.• Text Book: D.Kurtz, R Clow (1998). Service Marketing. London: John Wiley& Son INC. 56.• Class Notes