FOR Thomas Cook India, Pune is a critical source market and forms a vital part of its strategic plan for 2019-20. Pune contributes a significant seven per cent to Thomas Cook India’s overall holiday business with strong growth of over 25 per cent YoY.
Thomas Cook India’s trends highlight that Punekars prefer destinations like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andamans, Kerala (domestic); Switzerland, France, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia-New Zealand, South Africa, USA (international); also new destinations such as Japan, South America, Croatia, Hungary, Korea, Finland, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Israel, Jordan, Tunisia, Ireland & Antarctica. Cruises too are seeing growing popularity reporting strong growth of 20 per cent. Summer and Diwali continue to be the most preferred travel seasons forPunekars.The city has seen a significant increase in solo travellers, especially in the age group of 24-48 years. For Pune’s millennials, travel is a round-the-year phenomenon with a surge in demand during weekends and bank holidays. Pune’s women are driving travel demand with a growth of 35 per cent and the company has seen strong interest in its Ladies First tours.
- Strong, 15 per cent increased demand for the regional Maharashtrian tours
- Launches a special Marathi product category- Avismaraniya Sahali
Post extensive customer research, in a focused attempt to cater to its Pune travellers and boost demand, Thomas Cook India had launched special Regional Maharashtrian Tours: Aakarshak, Adbhut, Anandmay, Prekshaniya, and Romanchak series. Given increasing demand of over 15 per cent, the company has introduced a special Marathi product category called ‘Avismarniya Sahali’ across Europe, USA, Asia, and Australia. Key elementsof its Maharashtrian Tours include a friendly Marathi speaking experienced Thomas Cook Tour Manager, fondly referred to as ‘bhau’, the company of Marathi speaking co-travellers and the comfort of delicious Maharashtrian cuisine while on tour (poha, upma, aamras, etc). Today, approximately 70 per cent of Thomas Cook’s Tour managers are Maharashtrians.
Thomas Cook India’s strategic focus on the Pune market caters to theholiday segment, business travellers, leisure travelers, and its b-leisure segment (business plus leisure). The Company’s high growth segments from Pune include the powerful family segment; also couples/honeymooners, young working millennials, student study tours, Gen S/Seniors, ladies-only groups and corporate MICE groups. The primary driver segment in the next five years, however, is expected to be made up of young travellers, particularly millennials, who are defined by their taste for the unexpected, unexplored, and adventurous, both in terms of experiences and destinations.
To further expand its Maharashtra reach, Thomas Cook India has associated with Marathi film “Ti & Ti”, by renowned filmmaker Mrinal Kulkarni, starring veteran artist and first-runner-up of Bigg Boss Marathi, Pushkar Jog along with Sonalee Kulkarni and Prarthana Behere. A majority of the film has been shot in London and Scotland, with Thomas Cook India as travel partner, forming an integral part of the story.Thomas Cook recently partnered with Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (the world’s longest running daily family comedy show) to connect with its regional consumers. The episodes have been shot in Singapore.
Rajeev Kale, president & country head – Holidays, MICE & Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “Pune contributes a strong seven per cent to our overall Thomas Cook holidays business and given the strong growth and high potential, we have identified Pune as a key focus for our company. To cater to our loyal and growing Pune customers, we have created our special‘Avismarniya Sahali’ Marathi product category across Europe, USA, Asia & Australia; in addition to our Aakarshak, Adbhut, Anandmay, Prekshaniya and Romanchak series. Included are experienced Maharashtrian Tour managers, local Maharashtrian cuisine and brochures in Marathi, to make our customers comfortable and feel at home, whilst exploring unique destinations.”
He concluded saying, “I am truly grateful to Punekars for the impressive 25 per cent growth from this market. Hence to increase our customer connect in Pune with knowledge sessions about destinations and packages by our travel experts and experienced tour managers, we have announced a one-day ‘sammelan’, a unique consumer outreach programme. Attractive spot offers and special discounts are available to help our Pune customers book a perfect affordable holiday.”