The relaunch of EasyJet Holidays will create opportunities for former Thomas Cook staff.
The message came from easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren as he outlined how traditional operators need to adapt to today’s customers.
Lundgren, previously a senior executive at Tui, said: “Following the sad demise of Thomas Cook, many people have told me this seems like a pretty bad time to enter this difficult market.
“Many are also saying that the package holiday is now an outdated concept which has no place in the lives of modern consumers.
“It is probably true to say the package holiday in its traditional sense of a fixed seven or 14 day holiday booked through a high street travel agency, met by a rep with a clipboard, is on its way out.
“But the fact is, sales of holiday packages have grown faster than the economy every year for the past ten years.
“It is the way that customers are taking holidays that is changing and the industry needs to change to accommodate this.”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph as easyJet released a trading update, he added: “It is no secret that the travel and airline business is a tough one. It is highly competitive, significantly affected by macro and geopolitical events, running on tight margins, so having a business model which can adapt and respond quickly to both the changing customer and external environment is crucial.
“Companies need to adapt to operate how consumers want. I’ve spent my whole career in the travel industry, starting as a humble tour guide and so know too well the need for companies to effectively evolve.
“I am proud of the way the whole industry has responded to help the CAA with its repatriation effort for all those affected holidaymakers.
“EasyJet has provided an aircraft which is bringing back hundreds of people each day and we will help to bring Thomas Cook employees back to the UK who were left stranded abroad.
“And to survive, the travel industry must listen to what customers want and provide holidays which cater to their needs.
“My vision is that the travel industry can leverage technology to reinvent itself to provide a fresh offer to customers that is truly innovative and sustainable.
“EasyJet Holidays will be far from a legacy tour operator but I do hope that when we launch, we can welcome into our team some great people from Thomas Cook and they can help us to create what a modern holiday will look like in future.”
Customers want more flexibility and to be offered a bespoke holiday from a company that understands their requirements as they become more adventurous and want to go to a wider range of destinations.”
Lundgren said: “The way that customers are buying holidays has also changed. The traditional role of the high street travel agent was to help customers navigate through the seemingly endless holiday options.
“Rapid development in technology and AI, combined with a focus on data now allows the customer to find holidays suited to them on line or through their mobile.
“Data and digital can help enhance customer experience and provide insight into the destinations they are visiting – a key factor considering the growth in experiential travel.
“Holiday companies which invest in the technology to support modern customer interactions, built on and driven by data using AI, will be uniquely able to create highly personalised holidays.”
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