UK travel companies’ merger could leave marketers in uncertainty

Peterborough based Thomas Cook’s merger with Co-operative Travel and the Midlands Co-operative has been approved by the Competition Commission. This will create one of the largest multi-channel travel retailers within the UK.

The new venture will increase the brands internet presence and create a large network of over 1200 high-street stores. It is believed that Thomas Cook will own just over 65% of the merger, Co-operative Travel around 30% and the Midlands Co-operative the remainder.

No official announcements have been made yet by representatives of the new merger but speculation has already begun as to the structure of the joint venture. Currently, the three companies are based in separate locations so employees will wait in anticipation to see what happens. Marketing jobs will potentially be affected as duplications of roles will want to be prevented.

Speculation will also be made by the companies’ competitors. As the market has seen earlier in the year, tour operators are being faced with fierce competition as rival operators compete with the slowing number of holiday-makers in the uncertain current climate. Companies such as TUI and easyJet have also recently released marketing campaigns which target different customers. Luton based easyJet have launched easyJet Holidays which runs on a similar ethos to their airline – low-cost holidays. TUI wanted to avoid the low-cost factor and focus on customer satisfaction and the holiday itself. Whichever angle the newly merged tour operator takes they will have to offer their customers something that will make them standout.

Will this venture by Thomas Cook, Co-operative Travel and the Midlands Co-operative start a new trend of companies merging? And if this does become common place, will marketers and employees in general find their jobs under threat?

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