The Kuoni brand has been extinguished In India, following its acquisition by Thomas Cook (India). This closes another chapter in the history of Zurich-based Kuoni, whose remaining parts are up for sale as well. The acquisition, which was effected last August, also turned Kuoni’s operations in Hong Kong over to Thomas Cook India. Kuoni India will be rebranded and will operate independently. The acquired company, with its brands SOTC, Sita and Distant Frontiers, will continue to sell outbound and inbound tour business and be part of the Thomas Cook’s ledger. (Thomas Cook India has the right to continue with the Kouni brand in India for one year and in Hong Kong for five years.)
Explaining that Kuoni is not a strong brand in India, Madhavan Menon, managing director, Thomas Cook (India) told The Hindu, “The Kuoni brand in India will disappear in weeks. The company will be rebranded as SOTC India, which is a strong brand in India. Tour and related services will be offered under SOTC, Sita and Distant Frontiers brands. The process of change has been initiated.”
Menon said that, with the acquisition of Kuoni’s network in India, Thomas Cook India now has 82 branches and 190 franchise outlets. Prior to the move, the currency exchange business was the main revenue earner for Thomas Cook; now, currency exchange and travel businesses will be equal.
Meanwhile, Back in the UK, Thomas Cook Sells Holidays via Installment Payments: The operator has teamed up with GoCardless to enable customers to pay for their holidays in monthly installments. A familiar practice in other markets—in South America, it is known as “parcelizing”—the technique allows customers to pay a deposit and spread the cost of their holidays throughout the year.
In a statement accompanying the announcement, Thomas Cook said it is one of the first travel firms to offer the interest-free payment plan to holidaymakers. The company said that setting up a direct debit, using GoCardless technology, involves no paperwork and takes less keystrokes than the average card payment. The system is integrated into the checkout process when a customer books on the company website.