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Monday, 01 June, 2020, 18 : 05 PM [IST]

Thomas Cook India to encourage contactless booking through virtual branches, e-commerce

In order to adhere to the new social distancing norms in the post-lockdown scenario, Thomas Cook India will be encouraging contactless booking among its customers through virtual branches and e-commerce platforms. This, the company says, is a step towards to ensuring staff as well as guest safety. 

“We are completely re-looking at the booking process, and every possible precaution is being taken to ensure customer safety and security. Customers have become cognizant of the fact that safety is a priority, and they are actually willing to spend more to travel in smaller group sizes. They are looking at reputed brands to meet their requirements for ensuring quality service,” said Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head - Marketing, Service Quality, Financial Services & Innovation, Thomas Cook India.

Alapatt said that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic is long term, and every player needs to reinvent to stay relevant. “We are no exception; we are re-engineering our process and looking at programmes that dovetail with our partners to align with the precautions we are taking. In any case, e-commerce is growing and it is believed that India is largely a hybrid market. Therefore, we will focus on virtual branches. This will allow a customer to connect with the branch through a chat function, and reach out to the front line executive through a video call or an audio mode.”

With regards to the customer’s preferences, Alapatt said that resuming. operations to a large depends on instilling a sense of confidence to travel
“With regards to traveller segments, we need to be geared up for group as well as FIT segments. There is a rapid growth in the FIT segment, and ad-hoc tours are preferred by matured travellers. I think GIT will take a new form with revised guidelines and restrictions. The fine line is about maintaining a balance between experience and execution in the new normal.” He is of the view that tourism will began recovery with the short-haul travel and domestic trips, with safety and hygiene being the key parameters. 

Thomas Cook India as part of gauging customer sentiment conducted a joint survey with SOTC on Leisure Travel among 2,700 respondents, and 14% of them displayed inclination to travel in 2020. Commenting on the results of the survey, Alapatt said, “People have the desire to travel, and as restrictions are eased, the demand will go up.”

With regards to Corporate travel, he said, that Thomas Cook India supports the move to restart businesses to reignite the economy. “We have seen a heightened demand among our corporates and partners to resume their corporate travel once businesses resume and reach a level of normalcy.”

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