Interview: Inside Goldman Sachs’s big bet on leisure

A few years before its demise, Thomas Cook created two new hotel brands in an effort to attract a new type of holidaymaker. The first Casa Cook opened in 2016 with its sister brand Cook’s Club coming a couple of years later.

The new brands weren’t enough to save Thomas Cook but others saw value in what had been created. Chinese conglomerate Fosun, which rescued a number of assets from the failed company, took on the hotel brands before selling them earlier this year to Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Recently we caught up with Alessandro Dassi, managing director of Casa Cook Hotels to discuss the plans for the business.

You can watch the whole interview above but below are some highlights.

On disrupting a very traditional market

AD: I thought that these two brands brought something different to the customer. Something that is more aesthetically pleasing, something that's more in line with their needs around the music, the F&B and the design.

On what Goldman Sachs saw in the brands

AD: Goldman Sachs like many other financial institutions has started taking an interest in leisure and in markets where maybe, 5-10 years ago, financial institutions were not looking at.

On the opportunity in Mountain resorts

AD: Mountain now is a completely different segments and proposition than what it was. Mountain tourism is very strong also in the summer now. So it's not just a winter destination, you can actually stretch the season and have the hotel open for 10 months, maybe you need to close a couple of months, so it’s a longer season.

On expansion

AD: I personally believe we have a huge potential for grossing especially in the Cooks Club, which [has] a lower ADR but [is] also a more economic type of refurbishment and repositioning, more affordable.