Online travel agency Thomas Cook takes on the hotel ownership

Thomas Cook has just landed a major partnership deal with LMEY to expand within the hotel markets of Egypt and Turkey. (Thomas Cook has partnered with LMEY to develop Aldiana hotels in the growing African and Egyptian markets.)

UK-based online travel booking site Thomas Cook is set to take on the hotel ownership as it has acquired its own lodging. The OTA's main goal is to meet the rebounding travel demand for Egypt and Turkey. 

Thomas Cook has acquired a 42-percent stake in Germany's travel company Aldiana from Swiss-based hotel property developer LMEY. The companies have agreed to fund at least another five owned and managed hotels for £150 million and will acquire even more development sites in the future. The company currently owns and operates eight clubs in Europe and Tunisia and will open four resorts by 2019. 

This recent partnership follows just weeks after the travel agency teamed up with Expedia to increase its hotel offerings, including those owned by third parties. Peter Fankhauser, CE at Thomas Cook, told Telegraph that enhancing the company's own-brand hotel portfolio was a "critical part" of his plans. Thomas Cook's current portfolio maintains a range of own-brand hotels, including Sentido and Casa Cook, operating under lease, franchise and management agreements. 

Thomas Cook took on the new partnership after the company released a report stating that it had sold 91 percent of its summer vacation packages, up 2 percent from last year. The top destinations for those packages were Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the U.S. However, thanks to cheaper prices, demand for Turkey and Egypt rose and helped boost sales for winter vacations, which increased by 3 percent from last year. 

The OTA stated that its full-year profits will reflect analysts' predictions while announcing the retirement of Michael Healy, the company's CFO, at the end of 2017. Bill Scott, director of financial reporting at Thomas Cook, has been appointed to fill his seat on Jan. 1, 2018.

Thomas Cook has been hit with protests and strikes this month, as pilots and members of the British Airline Pilots Association have staged two 24-hour walkouts so far to take action over pay. The association is gearing up for two more strikes scheduled for Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. Thomas Cook and the union have had ongoing negotiations this week to cancel the next strike. The airline told Telegraph that no flights would be cancelled if the pilots held another walkout, but flight times would be rescheduled.