This is a really interesting potential development for Thomas Cook, and it's also a positive one. Quite a few years ago Thomas Cook opened a London office to be able to attract digital talent for it's growing digital marketing and ecommerce function. Rightly they recognised that London was the place to attract such talent compared to their HQ in Peterborough.
Cook's talked back then about creating an online marketplace and developing themselves as a pure play OTA, but it never happened. The focus was always on providing distribution for their vertically integrated tour operating model. However if this model is to change (selling your in house airline would suggest it will), then creating an online marketplace is logical move.
Thomascook.com is already one of the most visited travel sites in the UK attracting huge amounts of traffic so the expensive task of acquiring customers will be less of a challenge. The business would need to change it's mindset and they would need to recruit some specialist ecommerce product managers who understand what works differently when you are acting as an independent OTA, but it feels like a transition which could work effectively.
Thomas Cook is reported to be considering a radical overhaul of its business to become an online aggregator. According to The Telegraph, Thomas Cook held meetings with shareholders last week and is to focus on its website which would allow users to curate their own holiday. Third-party airlines and hotels as well as excursions would be on offer to create a “pseudo-aggregator” model. The newspaper said the changes were part of a strategy to become an “asset-light” business.