Digital

Thomas Cook’s genius idea on ensuring digital future: A committee

@rafat

Mar 04, 2013 2:30 am

Skift Take

This almost sounds like management-by-parody. Buying a smart startup with great management to lead its digital efforts may do more good for Thomas Cook than an unwieldy digital committee.

— Rafat Ali

Free Report: The Changing Business of Extended-Stay Hotels


“When in trouble, create a committee.” Someone related to Scott Adams may have whispered this in jest to troubled-but-in-turnaround British travel group Thomas Cook‘s management’s ears, and lo behold, there is one.

The company has created a 12 person internal and external “digital advisory board” (or the “cool” moniker DAB) from across tech/digital spectrum, to “facilitate strategic innovation and bring significant differentiation to its Group-wide digital road map at this critical point on Thomas Cook’s evolution,” the company says in a rather archaic release which points to more cluelessness on the evolving digital landscape than anything else.

And amazingly, on cue, travel trade press in UK regurgitated the release and hailed it as a major step in the turnaround for the company, with zero analysis.

Behold:

The DAB’s primary role will be to develop further the Group’s digital capability. It will advise and inform the Group’s Board on leading-edge trends for online businesses and, will also be the conduit to identify and attract the brightest and best digital talent to the Group.

This ground breaking move comes as Thomas Cook prepares to announce its strategy for profitable growth to the market. Significantly, it also recognises the potential of the travel and tourism industry to embrace the currently under-utilised opportunities of the evolving technological landscape.

And this, from Thomas Cook CEO Harriet Green, who is chairing the committee (of course):

We have already made progress in embedding our “high tech, high touch” ethos in the Group with the establishment of our Ecommerce Centre of Excellence (ECE), creating a hub of talented individuals to provide strong functional expertise and support for the Group across the overall online customer experience.

And six of these on the DAB are internal top management, which surely have done wonders enough to Thomas Cook’s digital mojo so far, so clearly why not have them on? The six external DAB members are respected names in digital in UK, but no one from the digital travel sphere, or even from the early-stage startup world.

As for the results out of this committee, name one that has ever produced long lasting results and digital turnaround in 15-plus years of consumer Internet history? Exactly.

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