Thomas Cook deals in superheroes 25 AUG 2008: Super travel group Thomas Cook unveiled its 2008/2009 winter product in Toronto last week using the Superheroes theme to capture the mood. The kick-off saw about 800 agents and over 170 vendors that included DMCs, resorts, car rental companies, airlines and plenty more. Jet-loads of superhero-types from Batman and Robin to Linda Carter’s sinfully vampish Wonder Woman, darted between the suppliers and agents who also had fun interacting in the multiple non-industry related booths.


All from Thomas Cook:

Pic1: Dean Moore, COO, Michael Friisdahl, CEO, and Lars Lofgren, Chief Commercial Officer.

Pic2: Susan Bowman, Sr VP Marketing; Kerry Sharpe Communications Specialist and Jill Wykes, Senior VP, Operations,

Holy product launch, Batman!

Part of a four city tour with stops also scheduled in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, Rock Your World! Superheroes is expected to attract over 6,000 agents who will have the opportunity to sign up for 47 training sessions. According to Lars Lofgren, chief commercial officer, Thomas Cook, that’s 35% of the active travel agents across Canada.

Amid the flurry of Marvel comic book heroes, scenes from the game show “A Wheel of Fortune” were also observed over at the Encore Cruise Escapes booth.


Pic1: Network’s VP Chris Rivers; Sarah Chatburn Sr. VP Commercial, Sunquest and Steve Butchart, Sr Director, Hotel Yield Management Sunquest.

Pic2: John Kirk, Mytravel Retail; Jeffrey MacKenzie, itravel2000 and Shane Carroll, itravel2000.

Ace cruise expert Joe Couto stepped in as the illustrious Vanna White to award “participants” with exclusive gifts as they spun the wheel to Encore Cruise Escapes fortunes. Line-ups were seen at the tattoo parlour and the superheroes photo-op pavilion, while folks with a penchant for popcorn ran over to the carnival-like popcorn stall for some seasoned kernel samplings.

Prizes and draws were regularly awarded across the trade show in which agents could win one of five trips for two to a Bahia Principe Club and Resort or the other lucky ones received a Visa card pre-loaded with $20 to $500 which was available on a first-come basis to Winter Product presentation attendees.


Pic1: Jason duSautoy, Flight Centre Group and Linda Wright, Thomas Cook Canada

Pic 2: TPI’s Margaret Hewings and Flemming Friisdahl, VP Sales, Thomas Cook.
Pic3: Lynda Breakey, VP Travel & Retail Services, CAA and Jeffrey Jackson, VP Sears Travel

You ain’t seen nothing yet!

All this including the return of many popular programmes along with new products has Michael Friisdahl, CEO of Thomas Cook North America, confident that his company’s brand will re-emerge in Canada. “We are not finished growing our business in Canada. We continue to expand. You will see a lot of exciting business in the next six months,” he suggested at the company’s VIP reception.

While corporate brass hob-knobbed with partners, media and other travel insiders, some not-surprising prospects were heard about Canadians’ number one favourite travel season: winter.

Pic1: Craig Kijek, COO Intair-Fun Sun Vacations, Dean Dacko VP Carlson Marketing Travel Solutions and Ron Heuer, VP & GM Holiday Network

“Winter will be relatively tough given the early conditions of advanced sales as far as Thomas Cook in Canada is concerned. It will be fair to say that with the capacity that is expected to be in the marketplace there will be significant pressure and more important than ever to focus on our core competencies,” explained Friisdahl who added the support from the travel agent community continues to grow.

“Our focus has been developing stronger relationships with the partners in the travel agent community and the technology initiatives and product offerings as well as exclusive products which is where we see ourselves setting us apart from the competition,” he said.

One stop shopping

It has been one and a half years since the consolidation between MyTravel and Thomas Cook. Between them, and some ‘extra added additions’ the travel arsenal has increased significantly, giving agents more chances for “one stop shopping.”

Think Fun Sun Vacations, Intair, Boomerang and Exotik Tours. The acquisition of these brands corporate insiders say, has given independent travel sales of well into an excess of $1-billion, putting Thomas Cook into the lead position.

The merger has also witnessed some much celebrated accolades that burst bigger than Hulk Hogan’s biceps - from Network being rated the number one consolidator (in the past it was Intair another one of their products) to Sunquest as the #1 tour operator voted by the travel agent community.

Fun, games and serious business at the the Toronto Thomas Cook launch

So how do agents take advantage of the product offerings to perform like Superheroes?

Here’s a sampling on some of the Thomas Cook initiatives:

Exotik Tours Long Stay Program

Long stay specials in Thailand, Bali, Tunisia and Spain. For instance, there’s a 22-day, 40 meals at a four star hotel with Air France departing from Toronto for $1,959. Departures from Oct. 16-23, 2008. For more details, visit

Fun Sun Vacations unveils two new brochures and a superhero-sized Sun Book

Hawaii and Florida like never before. The 56-page Hawaii brochure packs in details on 125 properties on its six islands. For Florida sun-seekers, check out the brand new 44-page Florida brochure featuring the sunshine state and Walt Disney World Resort. For more details visit

Watch out for the new 52-page Sun Book ready to hit the streets soon. The new brochure features product details for Mexico, the Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines. New this year is the Fiesta Americana chain of properties in Mexico. Also, check out the Atlantis properties in The Bahamas. For more details visit

Intair forecasts a high cruising season and introduces two new brochures
Intair’s cruise program offers some unbeatable value-driven possibilities. With its three cruise line partners, choose from over 20 different itineraries from one-week to 11-day packages. Prices are as low as $576 per person taxes included for a 7-day cruise on the Carnival Triumph this November.

The new 2008-09 Long stay and Sun Destinations program brochures are hot off the press. For Long Stay packages, clients can stay at the French Riviera for 28-nights inclusive of air from Toronto for as little as $1,684 (commissionable) per person. Now the 88-page Sun Destinations Brochure offers so many destinations. New this year are Florida products including the Walt Disney World Resort, Costa Rica, Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico. For more details visit

Boomerang’s Big on Tahiti
The South Pacific tour operator is currently offering a 7-night stay in Tahiti departing between November 2-December 10, 2008 for just $1,999, taxes extra. For more details visit

Sunquest’s blockbuster Winter 2008/2009 program includes great EBBs, new hotels and more

Over 300 hotels and resorts, 18 Canadian gateways, group offers and Early Booking Bonuses are available in the recently released Sunquest 2008/2009 Southern Sun program. New hotels include the exclusive Sunquest Select Club’s Occidental Grand Xcaret in the Riviera Maya; Occidental Allegro Nuevo Vallarta only from Sunquest; the soon-to-open Riu Montego Bay only from Sunquest; Riu Palace Tropical Bay opening in December; and more.

Sunquest’s Dream Wedding Contest

Sunquest is teaming up with Global TV’s ET Canada and Sandals Resorts for a Dreamy Wedding. Now until September 11th, engaged couples can submit a 2-minute video to featuring why they should win the grand prize, a Sunquest Dream Wedding at Sandals Whitehouse European Spa and Village on Jamaica’s untouched South Coast.

Sunquest’s new wedding micro site

Make your clients’ wedding dreams come true. They can research and plan their destination wedding by clicking on and taking a tour of the new wedding microsite. Once there, loads of tips along with a selection of some of the best resorts including an online registry where guests can contribute money towards a future travel voucher for the wedding couple and plenty other offerings are available.

Sun Deal returns
The popular Sun Deal agent incentive program is up and running and this year Holiday House sun bookings qualify too. Visit or for more details on how to play and win.

Sunquest’s special price match promo

Until August 30, send in your regular price matches and you will receive a gift card worth $20 per passenger. Choose from HBC, Petro Canada, Esso, Home Depot, Indigo, Winners among others. This promo applies to departures November 1, 2008-April 30, 2009 and excludes group bookings.

Holiday House’s new Disney Brochure and Sun Escape Brochure

Next month watch for everything Disney in this 52-page brochure. Now details on Disneyworld Orlando, California, Paris and the Disney Cruise Line are featured along with key selling points, helpful hints and other extras ensuring you to achieve Superhero status. Says Ron Heuer, SVP & General Manager of Holiday House, “We’re very pleased to be the first tour operator to offer the complete Disney product line in one brochure.” Need more info? Visit

Over 600 hotels in 40 destinations are highlighted in the new Sun Escape brochure now available. Watch for 66 new hotels, 43 exclusive hotels, 185 EBBS, and a new Avis car rental available throughout the US. For more info pick up a copy of the brochure or visit

Popular Sandals Brochure Returns
Sunquest and Holiday House have come out with the 2008/2009 version of their popular dedicated Sandals/Beaches brochures. For more info, visit or

Encore Cruises adds two new cruise lines and introduces a group marketing credit toward next year’s bookings

Hurtigruten (formerly Norwegian Coastal Voyage) and Amawaterways are new to the Encore Cruise portfolio which now includes 12 cruise lines with over 115 ships and countless itineraries. For more info visit

Albatours car rental upgrades

Clients get an automatic Avis car rental upgrade when bookings are made now until September 30, 2008. For more details visit

All photo credits: Ilona Kauremszky

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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