Mixed reaction to JMC launch and 'innovations'

Mixed reaction to JMC launch and 'innovations'

THOMAS Cook's £200m rebrand has been met with a mixed reaction from the trade after it finally revealed the name of its new tour operation and airline.

JMC will replace Sunworld, Sunset, Flying Colours and Caledonian following 18 months of research.

But many operators and retailers were sceptical about the new name and JMC's claim that it will revolutionise the industry.

They also said JMC's offer of free pre-bookable seats, which is expected to cost the company £2m, and clearer brochures were not new.

Airtours managing director Chris Mottershead said: "Thomas Cook will have to throw more money at the brand than they would if the name had been travel related. I would have kept Sunworld.

"All they have done is play catch-up with the rest of the industry. As for free pre-bookable seats I didn't know the company was a charity."

Unijet sales and marketing director Alan Hopley said of the innovations: "I don't see anything new in it and it's a let down, but as a competitor we won't be losing sleep over it."

Thomson sales director Manuel Mascarenhas added: "The red of Thomas Cook is so powerful that I thought they would use that. Green says nothing.

"I don't doubt it has good intentions about improving customer service but we all strive for that."

However, some agents, including ARTAC chairman Colin Heal applauded JMC's pledge to improve customer service, while Going Places managing director Peter Shanks said the retailer would welcome an improved product.

JMC managing director Simon Vincent said the focus on customer service has been partially sparked by TV shows Watchdog and Holidays from Hell. "There is a growing culture of consumer unrest," saidVincent.

He added prices would not rise to pay for free pre-bookable seats.

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