dnata plans to invest in new brands Gold Medal, Netflights and Pure Luxury in both the UK and overseas markets after acquiring the names from Thomas Cook.
The Dubai-based firm, which is part of the Emirates Group, will look to take lessons from each side to get the best out of technology, marketing and processes to not only develop Gold Medal in the UK but take the brand into markets such as the UAE and India.
The group also took on Netflights and Pure Luxury under the GBP45 million deal with Thomas Cook and will look to launch these products into its home markets.
“dnata bought Travel Republic for its capabilities and that business is growing, so the same concepts now apply to Gold Medal where we can take something successful in a current market and take it into new markets,” Iain Andrew, divisional senior vice president of dnata told Travel Daily. “We took technology from Travel Republic to offer to our online travel agency businesses in the Middle East and now we can look to Steve [Barrass] and his organisation to offer their services to more independent travel agents.”
Steve Barrass, managing director of Gold Medal told Travel Daily the acquisition is a ‘win win’ situation for both parties, with the firm now able to develop further relationships and products for independent travel agents.
“Gold Medal is a B2B brand and enables dnata to get into that arena with travel agents, wholesalers and online travel agents where it has predominantly had B2C brands before,” Barrass explained. “Gold Medal brings another element to dnata, but it also means the brand will have more investment and buying power that independent travel agents can benefit from.”
Andrew already has detailed plans for the businesses having been interested in the brands for several years.
“This is the end of a long process. We started talking to Gold Medal more than a year ago about the acquisition and we are pleased we have now reached an agreement,” he said. “We’ve been interested in Gold Medal for a few years now and were involved in the original tendering process when Thomas Cook took them on [in December 2009], so we’ve shown a real commitment.”
The 470 staff members at Gold Medal’s Preston base were told they would retain their jobs this morning and have shown “tremendous enthusiasm” for the takeover.
And as for Thomas Cook, the company will now become a customer of Gold Medal’s and allows all parties to focus on their core products.
“Thomas Cook is now a very important customer and we have to deliver their expectations. We have a good relationship and would like to expand that in the coming years; it’s definitely a long-term partnership for both of us,” said Andrews.