Thomas Cook Hotel Investments raises €40m to invest in hotels around the Mediterranean

Thomas Cook and LMEY through their joint venture, Thomas Cook Hotel Investments, have secured €40 million in the first tranche of debt funding. This initial tranche of funding will be provided solely by Piraeus Bank, which is the largest bank in Greece with long term experience in the hospitality sector.

The proceeds will be used to invest in hotel properties across Thomas Cook’s key Mediterranean sun and beach markets, with this round of funding particularly focusing on opportunities in the Greek Islands. Further funding is being sought to acquire more properties around the Mediterranean.

Thomas Cook Hotel Investments currently includes hotel properties on Rhodes, Crete, Mallorca, Ibiza and mainland Spain. Thomas Cook Hotel Investments is investing over €7m in its Sunwing Kallithea hotel in Rhodes this winter and is opening a new Casa Cook in Ibiza in summer 2019.

Thomas Cook Hotel Investments was established in March 2018 to support the growth of Thomas Cook’s own-brand hotel portfolio as part of the company’s strategy of delivering greater control over its hotel inventory and customer experience. Its strategy is to acquire underperforming, distressed and underinvested hotels in Thomas Cook’s core destinations and transform them into own-brand hotels.

Enric Noguer, chief officer of Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts said, “This first tranche of funding is an important step to help us accelerate the growth of our hotel fund. In acquiring more hotels that we fully manage, we aim to generate better returns for the group and deliver higher customer satisfaction. We continue to seek further funding to enable us to acquire hotels around the Mediterranean where we can bring our hotel management expertise combined with the distribution power of our tour operator.”

Robinson management team once again complete

Tobias Neumann

The management team at Robinson Club GmbH is once again complete: With immediate effect, Tobias Neumann will fill the vacancy and jointly manage TUI Group’s premium club provider with Managing Director Bernd Mäser. The 44-year-old will assume the role alongside his existing tasks as Director Distribution TUI Hotels & Resorts.

“I am delighted that Tobias Neumann, an experienced colleague from TUI Group, is joining the management team at our premium club brand,” said Erik Friemuth, Managing Director TUI Hotels & Resorts. “With his expertise in tour operation and the interface to Distribution for TUI Group’s Hotels & Resorts segment, he will create a strong position for Robinson’s distribution entities and drive the growth roadmap further ahead.

Within Robinson’s management, Tobias Neumann will be in charge of Marketing & Sales, Pricing & Trading, and Operations. Bernd Mäser is responsible for Finance/Legal, IT, Technology/Purchasing, Corporate Communications, HR and Project Development.

Tobias Neumann studied law at Hanover University and business administration at the Business Academy in Bad Harzburg. Since 2004, the law graduate and business economist held various roles at TUI AG and tour operator TUI Deutschland. During that period, Tobias Neumann was involved in numerous strategic projects within the Group. In 2014, he became TUI Group’s Director Board Office before moving to TUI Hotels & Resorts in March this year as Director Distribution. In that role, he is in particular responsible for international distribution activities for the three brands Robinson, TUI Blue and TUI Magic Life.

Thomas Cook lines up an additional ten Cook’s Clubs hotels for next summer

Thomas Cook, one of the world’s leading holiday companies, has confirmed it will open an additional eight Cook’s Club hotels in 2019 – with two further properties in advanced discussions.

The new openings in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Egypt, The Gambia and Bulgaria will bring the total number of Cook’s Club hotels to 11, offering Thomas Cook customers nearly 2,000 rooms in total. Each hotel combines contemporary design with great food and drink, including a street-food style canteen restaurant and a cocktail bar, as well as a soundtrack that builds the atmosphere from day to night.

The first hotel under the Cook’s Club brand opened in June in Hersonissos, Crete, transforming a traditional beachside holiday resort hotel into a stripped-back, design-led hotel to appeal to a new generation of travellers. In its first summer, the hotel delivered occupancy levels of more than 93% and doubled its average daily room rate versus the previous year.

Cook’s Club builds on the success of Casa Cook, extending the same design-led ethos to bigger properties at a more accessible price. Three of the new Cook’s Club hotels in the pipeline will be refurbishments of existing own-brand smartline hotels. The remaining seven properties are new to Thomas Cook’s own-brand hotel portfolio, reflecting its strategy to grow the number of own-brand hotels.

Enric Noguer, Chief Hotels Officer for Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts, said: “It’s clear from just the first few months that customers love the new Cook’s Club concept. We know it works and that we’ve created a brand that can attract an entirely new type of customer by bringing together great modern design and reflecting the best of our city culture – in food, drink and music – in a popular beachside resort. “The customer feedback has been great with high occupancy throughout the season and people willing to pay more to get a holiday that better matches their lifestyle. The fact that we’re able to announce a further ten openings for next year shows the appetite in the hotel community for this type of hotel. We look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of new customers to our new Cook’s Club hotels next summer.”

More information about the new hotels will be released over the coming weeks with the first hotel set to open in May and further openings throughout the summer and into winter.

Schiphol to collaborate with mobile operators on new mobile network

Royal Schiphol Group is teaming up with mobile operators KPN, T-Mobile and VodafoneZiggo to develop a new, future-proof indoor mobile network at the airport, in order to further improve the mobile user experience for both passengers and staff. The new network will be installed in phases over the next two years in all arrival and departure halls, lounges, piers, the railway station area, Schiphol Plaza and non-public areas such as the baggage basements.

‘Schiphol aspires to be a leading digital airport, and this includes providing a good mobile user experience for our many millions of passengers and thousands of employees. We are therefore delighted to be working with KPN, VodafoneZiggo and T-Mobile to create an even better digital passenger experience at the airport’, says Jabine van der Meijs, CFO of Royal Schiphol Group.

The new mobile network should be ready in 2020, with a system of more than 30 antenna installations throughout the airport to ensure excellent mobile coverage. The new network is future-proof and will be suitable for the new generation of mobile networks, such as 5G. The network for emergency services and the radio system used at Schiphol are included in these plans as well.

The creation of this new multi-operator mobile network will mean the end of the individual indoor networks belonging to each of the different providers at Schiphol. Once the new network is in place, all mobile operators will use the same mobile network in Schiphol’s various terminals and piers. This new mobile network will not only improve quality, but will also save space and energy.