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Children go free and 500 off summer package holidays in tour giant price war
00:10 GMT, 26 December 2012
Britain's two travel giants have launched a price war with families being promised savings of between 200 and 560 on summer package holidays.
Thomas Cook and Thomson are going head to head with a series of eye-catching deals, including big discounts and free child places.
In a first, Thomas Cook has decided to make sure all of its advertised prices, whether online or on the high street, are the same.
Thomas Cook and Thomson are going head to head in a price war with families on summer package holidays
The move will end the lottery where families pay a different price depending whether they book via the internet or face to face.
The days after Christmas Day are normally the peak booking period for the holiday giants, with as many as one in five families browsing for a summer getaway.
Deals from Thomas Cook and its sister brand Airtours include a number of family summer holidays with savings of more than 200 and one or two at more than 500 off.
Its TV advertising campaign, which launched yesterday, promotes a '10 per cent off' holiday sale and 'Kids for a Quid'.
Marketing and sales chief Mike Hoban said: 'Research tells us that this year, Boxing Day will see millions of families up and down the country start to think about booking their summer holiday.
'We've made sure we've got our best offers and family deals on the table – allowing those who want the surety of knowing their holiday is fully booked and they've something to look forward to, to get a great deal and budget for the year ahead.'
Thomson has a seven night self-catering holiday for a family of four in Majorca in May for 952, which is a saving of 282 on the pre-sale figure
He said the decision to introduce price parity on holidays – the same figure regardless of the method of booking – would help families.
'We could see customers were crying out for a level playing field,' he said. 'We're the first big travel company to move away from the outdated model and align pricing to offer one clear and consistent price for our holidays regardless of how customers book.'
Thomas Cook is offering 'a seven night half-board holiday' on Spain's Costa Dorada in August for 1,565, which is a saving of 248. Airtours Sunsplash has seven nights in an all-inclusive resort in Cyprus for a family of four at the end of July for 2,518, which is a saving of 564.
Thomson and its sister brand First Choice will offer discounts of up to 200 and free child places. Trading director, Andrew Flintham, said: 'The message is simple – we are dedicated to offering customers the trip abroad that suits not only their tastes, but also their budgets.'
Thomson has a seven night self-catering holiday for a family of four in Majorca in May for 952, which is a saving of 282 on the pre-sale figure.
As many as 20 per cent of holidaymakers are expected to start their search for a getaway break today. More are putting a foreign holiday at the top of their spending priorities than did last year, a survey by Thomas Cook found. In a similar poll last year, just a third of respondents said an overseas break was their main priority. This year's poll reveals that this figure has now swelled to 47 per cent.
Thomas Cook predicts the most popular short-haul package holiday destination for summer will be Turkey, followed by the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands.