Thomson Holidays has signed senior Whitbread marketer Ed Aspel as
its new board-level marketing director, with a brief to ensure its
holiday-makers feel the benefits of last year’s brand overhaul.
Aspel, 35, will join Thomson at the end of May. He is currently group
marketing director of Whitbread’s Pelican Group, which includes the
Bella Pasta, Cafe Rouge and Dome restaurant brands.
Aspel will report to acting managing director Shaun Powell, who was
promoted from marketing director last year, and will manage a team that
includes Breffni Walsh, head of advertising and branding, and Deborah
Merrifield, head of relationship marketing.
Powell said Aspel was an ’operational marketer’ with experience of
’delivering brand promises in the service sector’.
Last summer, Thomson revamped its brand strategy, placing more emphasis
on marketing sub-brands to clearly defined audiences.
It sent 200 troubleshooting reps into key resorts to stem the tide of
Having restated its positioning as a premium operator, Thomson’s
challenge this year is to deliver service improvements and build loyalty
among profitable customers.
Thomson has issued three profit warnings since it floated in 1998. Last
autumn it brought in Charles Gurassa, former head of passenger services
at British Airways, as chief executive. It now needs to salvage its City
Aspel’s priority will be to communicate positive messages about Thomson
down through the organisation. The project has been named ’guaranteed
smiles under the sun’.
’We’ve spent a lot of time on the theory of brand architecture, now we
need to drive it through the organisation,’ said Powell. ’We have 2500
staff in overseas resorts and the way they treat customers will
determine whether or not we get repeat bookings.’
Aspel has worked within the Whitbread Group for eight years. He was
marketing director at Pizza Hut and ran beer brands such as Heineken and
Toohey in the UK and Australia.
Prior to Whitbread he was a brand manager at Unilever.