Thomas Cook is to close its in-house bed bank Medhotels, a UK company that negotiates special rates with accommodation providers and acts as a wholesaler for the accommodation, as part of an on-going transformation of its hotel business.
Thomas Cook oversees seven hotel brands: Sentido Hotels & Resorts, Smartline Hotels, SunConnect Resorts, Casa Cook Hotels, Cooks Club, the adult-only Sunprime Hotels and Sunwing Family Resorts.
The travel company acquired Medhotels in 2009 from lastminute.com for an undisclosed sum. The deal followed the acquisition of the bed bank hotels4u.com for £21.8 million in February 2008.
“The closure of the Medhotels business is a natural evolution of our strategy,”said Thomas Hohn, chief of group complementary product at Thomas Cook. “The transformation of our complementary hotel partnerships will simplify our processes and give customers a better online experience with more choice.”
Expedia and Webjet are poised to take over contracting the company’s own-brand and partner hotels.
“With our new partnership with Webjet showing strong promise and our alliance with Expedia on track, we are well placed to grow this part of the business in an efficient, sustainable way,” he added.
In May, Thomas Cook said that its £150-million fund would allow it to grow its own branded hotels. The company, which has also added the new Cook’s Club brand, plans to have 10 to 15 managed hotels in the fund by 2020.
Thomas Cook and LMEY, a Swiss hotel development group, entered into an agreement to work together to create a joint hotel-investment platform, initially through the contribution of a minimum of five owned and directly managed hotel properties between them.
Thomas Cook also acquired from LMEY a 42-percent stake in Aldiana, a premium club and activity-focused tour operator and hotel-management company based in Germany. Aldiana currently operates eight club resorts located in Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Tunisia and Austria, with plans to open another four resorts over the next two years.
“We have now put all the seed assets that we have planned into this fund and we have big ambitions there to have by 2020, 10 to 15 managed hotels in the fund,” said Peter Fankhauser, CEO of Thomas Cook, in May.
By latifa Zenaina