It operates through three main divisions: Germany, Great Britain and Overseas, and Western/ Eastern Europe. In the UK, Europe's second-largest travel market, the company is the third largest vertically integrated travel business.
Thomas Cook has in excess of 14 million customers worldwide, 30 tour operator brands, about 3600 travel agencies selling group products worldwide, a fleet of 85 aircraft and a workforce numbering some 28,000.
Subsidiary operations include: Thomas Cook Tour Operations, the UK and Ireland travel operation that includes JMC and encompasses the former Sunworld and Carlson holiday and airline businesses; Thomas Cook Holidays; Style Holidays; Neilson; Time Off; Club 18-30; and an International travel business operating in non-UK markets such as Canada and India.
Thomas Cook started life from humble beginnings in Leicester in 1841, taking temperance supporters on tours of Egypt and the Bible lands.
This progressively blossomed into today's international company providing holidays to almost anywhere, allowing holidaymakers the ability to book their holiday direct from a new global internet portal launched in July 2002.
In December 2000, German-based C&N Touristic announced its planned acquisition of Thomas Cook Holdings for £550m. The acquisition was subject to the approval of C&N's owners, KarstadtQuelle and Deutsche Lufthansa, and the European Commission.
The acquisition was set up by the purchase by Preussag, C&N's rival German travel giant, of the Thomson Travel Group in May 2000.
The company has spent the past few years attempting to find the right image for itself having decided in 1999 to rename its major Sunworld brands JMC, after the initials of its founder, James Mason Cook.
The story took another twist when, in May 2002, Thomas Cook announced it was rebadging its airlines from their current brands (Condor, JMC and Sun Express) to the Thomas Cook name.
The group also announced that the Thomas Cook name would appear on all operations in all of its markets to create a consistent brand image internationally in an attempt to become the first fully international leisure brand.
The company is exploring new ways of selling holidays and in December 2001, launched the Thomas Cook Travel Channel to create new business through TV sales.
(Year to October 31, 2001)
Advertising agency TBWA
Media agency Booth Lockett Makin
DM agency Carlson Marketing.
Adspend (year to May 2002)
Direct mail £245,727
Source: ACNielsen MMS
Thomas Cook Business Park, Coningsby Road, Peterborough, Cambs PE3 8SB
Tel: 01733 417400
Web site: www.thomascook.com
This article was first published on Marketing