The announcement last week that TUI, Europe’s largest travel company, was embarking on a program of action that would ultimately do away with two of the most venerable travel brands in the UK—Thomson and First Choice—and merge all of its travel operations into a single brand focused attention so much on the British face of the news take that it seemed to de-emphasize other developments covered during a session with journalists during which Peter Long, TUI’s chief executive, gave a capital markets update—an event that is regularly covered by the financial and travel trade news media. Our re-cap of issues that were discussed during the update includes the following items:
- The immediate focus for the TUI Group, he said, would be growing the business by taking more customers on holiday with its core brands and maximizing earners from its specialist brands. TUI is in a ‘huge position of strength’ with access to 20 million customers; it is number one or number two in each of its source markets.
- Long confirmed that TUI plans to sell its discounted accommodation brand, Laterooms.
- TUI’s migration to a single brand across Europe affects Thomson, First Choice and more than 70 other brands in the UK alone.”It will be a very staged approach.”
- The rebrand will start in the Netherlands in September, followed by France, the Belgium and finally the Nordics and the UK.
- A tui.com/uk website has already been launched to help achieve Google rankings ahead of the rebrand. (INBOUND tried to connect to the site, but was unsuccessful.) There are no plans to sell off its Hotelbeds operation. Long said Hotelbeds is “a clear global market leader in a segment that we find very attractive and we’re going to continue to build and invest to ensure that business continues to grow at the levels that we’ve seen over the last few years.”
- Long said that some B2B divisions, such as bedsonline, remained part of Tui’s plans and that the company was in “no hurry to do anything.”