Thomson has had its fair share of stick over the past couple of years – being accused of everything from snubbing agents to lacking innovation.
But credit where it’s due – its new product initiatives for 2000 seem like a refreshing change from the usual dollop of brochure launches served up at this time of year. Particularly appealing is the new approach to repping and excursions. Every year I go on package holidays to track what our great industry leaders are up to and often I find the welcome speeches so tedious and the excursions so unadventurous that I avoid them like the plague.
But doing something like participating in a play or an hilarious wedding scene over dinner is more like it. I’m quite outgoing, but I think that most tourists are prepared to let their hair down and join in the fun overseas.After all, that’s what a holiday is about.
Allowing people to customise trips with add-ons is also a good idea and it’s fair enough to charge extra for additional services as long as the basic price includes the basic package. As I’ve said before, it’s a step backwards to, for example, charge extra for a flight transfer on a late deal.
So some exciting stuff for next year. Meanwhile, Thomson and its rivals must concentrate on shifting holidays for this summer, which is in danger of going pear-shaped for operators.
Jeremy Skidmore – editor
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