A very familiar name is about to re-appear on the Australian travel industry landscape with big plans for the future.
After an 18 year absence, Thomas Cook are back in this country, initially offering travel money services from a new base in Hobart in Tasmania. But in an interview with Traveltalk, Mark Tarring, Managing Director of Thomas Cook Money (TCM) Asia Pacific, said this could be just the tip of the iceberg.
“TCM has global ambitions. We are launching in Australia as a stepping stone into Asia Pacific,” he told us.
Initially TCM will offer a range of user-friendly travel money services specially designed for Aussies on the go, including travel insurance, foreign exchange and a pre-paid travel card. In the coming months a free TCM Global Wi-Fi APP will also be available to Aussie customers.
“This will enable them to log into more than five million hot spots across the world and take away that pain and worry of global roaming charges from the telcos.”
When asked whether the company might also consider a move into selling travel down the track, Tarring replied: “maybe.”
“We’re a digital first business and we don’t have that legacy of retail stores so we probably won’t look at a huge retail rollout.
“But there’s nothing stopping us having a CBD store - that we could potentially do. I wouldn’t say never but it would probably be as an add-on once we had the digital business up and running.”
Tarring revealed that travel agents will be targeted as potential outlets for these new Thomas Cook Money products.
“We’ve been working quite hard in the past six months to get ourselves launched and we’ll soon be embarking on a business to business strategy which is about talking to agencies to see if they want to take our product.”
So what does this all mean for the Aussie consumer?
“We’re not a bank. We’re a holiday company and we’re about helping people have more happy holidays,” added Tarring.
“It’s about helping people save or borrow for their holidays and providing them with the finances to maybe take a slightly longer holiday. We can help them spend while they are on holiday and also protect them while they are on holiday, so they have that peace of mind.
“We’re taking away the niggles of the big banks and how they rip you off. We will have fair and transparent pricing.”