Thomas Cook pulls out of travel loyalty scheme

Thomas Cook has pulled out of a scheme which would have rivalled Air Miles as the foremost loyalty programme for the travel industry.

The plan was likely to have been called Holiday Smiles and would have involved the travel company linking up with six other businesses in a variety of sectors. The businesses are known to have included a petrol retailer, a clothing retailer and an insurance company.

The scheme was brought to Thomas Cook by sales promotion and customer loyalty specialist agency Black Cat, which initially approached Tony Bennett when he was strategic marketing director at Thomas Cook. Bennett is now managing director of rival travel company Going Places.

Black Cat has since parted company with Thomas Cook and is now working with Going Places.

It is understood that Thomas Cook withdrew from the scheme days before the final agreement was to be signed, after one of the six partners dropped out.

Holiday Smiles would have been based around a loyalty card and have involved customers accumulating points through purchase at participating outlets, before redeeming them on holidays or flights bought through Thomas Cook.

The scheme was under consideration for up to two years and is thought to have been scheduled for launch in March this year (MW October 20 1995).

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