Launching a new sports travel division

Clarity has become an overnight leader in elite sports team travel, recruiting the entire Thomas Cook Sports team travel management team as a unit and stepping in to rescue a string of teams after the collapse of Thomas Cook.

A string of Premier League football clubs, as well as Premiership and Pro14 rugby clubs were facing travel chaos due to the collapse of Thomas Cook on September 23.

Manchester- based TMC Clarity, which already managed the business travel for many sports clubs’ admin staff and directors, has used its industry expertise to put in place a speedy solution for the clubs’ greatest assets – the team.

While former staff at Thomas Cook Sport continued to help behind the scenes to keep their clients travel plans in place even after the business went under, Clarity stepped in and employed the entire team travel management team Of Thomas Cook Sport within 48 hours of the collapse – to create a new division, Clarity Sports.

As these travel experts were known and trusted by the clubs to handle all aspects of player travel, the seamless switch of these clubs to Clarity Sports happened within 24 hours.

Pat McDonagh, CEO of Clarity, said: “Players, fans and officials of multiple teams across football, rugby and cricket have all been left in a very difficult situation following the demise of Thomas Cook Sport. 

“The logistics of moving sports teams from game to game  is a complex operation and because we were already working with many of these clubs, we were able to move quickly to offer jobs to those impacted by the Thomas Cook situation. They quickly joined our team and together we had the industry knowledge to step in at short notice and give practical solutions.

““For instance, Ulster Rugby were due to travel to South Africa for Pro14 fixtures against the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings and we have been able to work very closely with their CEO Jonny Petrie and his team to ensure very quickly and effectively that there has been a full continuity of service and that the integrity of all arrangements has been maintained through the short transition period.

“We have enormous sympathy for the fans who have also been affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook Sport and understand that the clubs and the CAA are doing everything they can to ensure they don’t miss out on the games they’d already booked packages for.

“Right now our focus is on team travel and logistics, however where possible we are assisting the clubs with future supporter travel plans.”

Clarity has employed 17 new staff, all from Thomas Cook Sport, to form the new Clarity Sports division, headed by Rob Slawson, formerly head of Thomas Cook Sport. They will be based at Clarity’s Manchester HQ.

The value of the business is not being predicted at the moment, with Clarity wanting to give its new division time to settle. However, Thomas Cook Sport was a part of the former travel empire that was in growth.

Rob Slawson says: “My team found out about the situation with Thomas Cook at the same time as every other employee and we were given no time to tie up any loose ends before exiting the building.

“Clarity is a business we already knew and it was a natural move for me and my team. We know this is one of many situations where the skills and expertise of former Thomas Cook staff are going to be in demand across the travel industry.”

As the Clarity Sports proposition matures, Clarity is looking at the next phase of its sports division being the creation of a supporter-based operation, offering ticket and travel packages to ‘bucket list’ sporting events worldwide.

Rob Slawson and Pat McDonagh discuss the creation of Clarity Sports in more detail on the latest episode of the Absolute Clarity podcast. Listen now here

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