Thomas Cook has handed new head of online marketing Chris Meeke a financial war chest to replicate the success he had as Thomson’s online marketing chief.
The operator has almost doubled its web marketing budget in a move it hopes will increase its online market share. Meeke declined to reveal figures but told Travolution he had been given an 85% increase in the budget which was now “well into six figures”.
He said the challenge was now to increase online business. “We are taking a leap forward and stretching the targets next year,” said Meeke.
Hinting his new employers have previously failed to take advantage of the web, Meeke added: “I would not have moved [from Thomson] had there not been changes.”
“The range and supply of product is enormous whereas Thomson was constrained by selling its in-house product. Thomas Cook always comes high up in searches and, in a highly promiscuous market, has more loyalty than other brands. But bringing numbers to the site is one thing – we need bookings at the right cost.”
At Thomson, Meeke spent around £150,000 a month on search words and implemented techniques to track their optimisation – something likely to be repeated at Thomas Cook. “We could track every word through to booking and those which did not perform we would bid down,” he said.
Ensuring there are fewer clicks from the home page through to booking will also form part of Meeke’s strategy.