I think the people of Thomas Cook and Condor in Germany have given this a long thought before deciding what to do. They obviously came up with the answers that the advantages of one "global" name outweigh the disadvantages of loosing the Condor brand. Probably, all germans will very soon know that Thomas Cook has become the new name for Condor. The quality image will NOT be harmed by that, I believe.
Here's a press release from Thomas Cook dated 27 /5/2002:
Thomas Cook - Uniting the Brand and the Strategy
Mainz, 27 May 2002. Thomas Cook is set to become the first fully international leisure brand - this is the goal that Europe's second-largest leisure group has set itself within the framework of the ongoing development of its international brand strategy. The Thomas Cook brand - used as the company's corporate name as well as for its sales and service activities – will in future appear in all markets and across all elements of its travel-related value-added chain. Thomas Cook will be launched as a tour operating brand in Germany, while the group’s holiday carriers will also be given a new design, incorporating the new brand identity.
This decision is based on the strength of the Thomas Cook brand which is the most well known and recognised name in the travel industry. “We have expanded our activities in Europe while at the same time, integrated our pan-European operations. Our next step is to place our strategic focus on global brand management. Our aim is to create added value that our customers can experience by offering them all elements of a quality holiday from a single source. At the same time, we also expect this consistent brand strategy to achieve a sustained improvement in our return on investment”, said Stefan Pichler, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Cook AG.
German tour operators - Terramar, Kreutzer Touristik and Condor Individuell to merge and form the new tour operator Thomas Cook
The high-quality image of the Thomas Cook brand is to be further capitalised upon in the German tour operator market for the first time, in order to improve the company’s position in the premium customer segment, an area in which the group has in the past been inadequately represented. To enhance the distinctiveness of the company's German tour operating brands, while at the same time eliminating any overlapping in terms of the products offered, the package tour operating brands Terramar and Kreutzer Touristik will merge with the modular system specialist Condor Individuell in Summer 2003. This will form a new tour operating division branded Thomas Cook. The first Thomas Cook tour operations holiday brochures for the German market will appear in November 2002. “The new tour operating brand will benefit from the fact that we have already brought Kreutzer and Terramar closer together in terms of their positioning in the market place. The transition to Thomas Cook has therefore been prepared to a great extent“, explained Dr. Peter Fankhauser, Member of the Board of Thomas Cook AG and responsible for both the German and western- and eastern European sales markets.
As from Summer 2003 the group's German tour operating portfolio will comprise the brands Thomas Cook, Neckermann Reisen, Air Marin, Bucher Reisen and Aldiana. “Whereas Thomas Cook with its wide range of products will be driving for a share of the premium volume market“, Dr. Peter Fankhauser said, “Neckermann Reisen will retain its autonomy, focusing with even greater intensity on its core competencies, a wide-ranging offer of package holidays at good value for money prices. Air Marin and Bucher Reisen will remain as the brands that are targeted at the budget and last-minute segments, whilst Aldiana will remain the specialist brand for exclusive club holidays. The new brand portfolio in Germany is clearly structured, totally distinct and present in all key market segments, including those in which we have, in the past, not been particularly strong. In Thomas Cook we now have the brand to lead us to further success.“
Holiday airlines - Condor to fly the colours of Thomas Cook
Five airlines serve as brand ambassadors - the strategy of integrated brand management will bring significant changes to Thomas Cook AG's holiday airlines. To coincide with the launch of next year’s summer timetable in April 2003, the holiday airline Condor will commence operations from the German airports served by the group, bearing the new Thomas Cook identity. Stefan Pichler remarked on this development, “Condor is and remains the Thomas Cook holiday airline in Germany, and will soon carry the new brand across the globe.“ One by one, the aircraft flown by Condor and Condor Berlin will be given the new design. In future, the name Thomas Cook will be featured on the aircraft's fuselage and the logo will appear on its tail fin. In addition, the phrase “Powered by Condor” will be displayed on the fuselage, a clear indication that the new airline brand will draw on Condor's proven qualities – high service standards, excellent piloting skills and technical reliability. These will no doubt help in positioning the airline in the premium holiday market segment. June 2002 will see the first of a total of 50 Condor aircraft flying in the new colours. As from April 2003 seat-only sales will also change hands from Condor to Thomas Cook as part of the airline’s rebranding activities.
As for the holiday airline SunExpress, both majority owners, Thomas Cook (40%) and Turkish Airlines (40%), have agreed that the new branding strategy is to be implemented across this airline in the form of a partner concept.
UK carrier JMC Airlines also to carry the Thomas Cook brand
The aircraft operated by the holiday carrier JMC Airlines are also to be given the new Thomas Cook look in time for the start of the Summer 2003 schedule. The first airline flying under the name of the company’s founder began operations in Belgium earlier this year. Once all the rebranding work has been completed, Thomas Cook will have the world's largest charter fleet, flying under a single brand from Europe's major sales markets to holiday destinations both in Europe and further afield. Commenting on this point Stefan Pichler added: “Our 85 aircraft fly to almost 100 different destinations across four continents. Our future Thomas Cook fleet will be the best advertising medium to carry our name and corporate identity throughout the world and make our brand even more high profile.”
Enhanced usage of the Thomas Cook brand in sales, hotels and service
Implementing the Thomas Cook name across the areas of sales, hotels and destination services will offer customers holidays under a single brand and from a single source. This will include giving the Group's wholly-owned travel agencies a consistent Thomas Cook look. In co-operation with its hotel partners, the “Thomas Cook Partner“ logo will feature across all of the group's hotels as a symbol of quality. Transfer buses, airport desks and service offices used jointly by the various Thomas Cook operators will also be given an aligned Thomas Cook design. Furthermore, customers travelling with either a Thomas Cook branded tour operator as well as other premium operators of the group, will in future benefit from a dedicated in resort service.
Integrated brand management enhances customer benefit and the company's return on investment
In implementing our refined brand strategy we will create added value for our customers while improving our return on investment. Widespread implementation of the Thomas Cook brand demonstrates the group’s commitment to quality for all elements of the holiday experience and will create a service network in all the group's sales and destination markets that will be highly recognisable for its customers.
Moreover, the range of premium holiday products the group offers will be enhanced by the presence of the new tour operator Thomas Cook in the German market.
Significantly improved efficiency in brand communication, better achievement of the high-yield market segments, and enhanced capacity usage through greater flexibility in its flight operations are the core reasons behind what the group expect to be an improvement in its return on investment.
With some 14 million guests, a turnover of EUR 8 billion, 30 tour operators, approximately 3,600 travel agencies around the world, 73,000 beds under contract, a fleet of 85 aircraft and a workforce of around 28,000, Thomas Cook AG is Europe's second-largest leisure group and the third-largest in the world. The Group's shareholders are Deutsche Lufthansa AG (50%) and KarstadtQuelle AG (50%).
Mainz, 27 May 2002