Opinion: Thomas Cook is a victim of demand for personalisation


It is often written that younger consumers value experiences more than actual products. A lot that is written about ‘millennials’ is often lazy stereotyping, but there is something about their desire for experiences that rings true.

In a world of mass production and mass consumption, there is something attractive about the personal, individual, customisable and non-repeatable. Everyone can own a band’s album, but not everyone saw them at that festival. Everyone can buy a game or a book, but not everyone has the limited-edition version or the book signed by the author.

This week has seen our desire for the ‘individual experience’ claim a massive corporate casualty. Once upon a time, we bought one of a selection of package holidays, choosing based on destination and price point but otherwise having the same experience as everyone else on the trip.

In the new economy (what I call the ’new normal’ in Reinventing Retail) many of us book flights, hotels, guides and excursions online from a huge choice, informed by the reviews and recommendations by thousands of other customers but, in the end, creating a holiday bespoke rather than off the shelf.

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