Next week’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London will mark the first showing during a major tour and travel industry function of what has been described as a “TUI Power Brand” across Europe, marking the elimination of Tui’s national brands throughout continental Europe, with the sun setting by next year’s WTM of the UK’s venerable Thomson and First Choice brands—the last two operators not yet folded into the single brand.
Tui—it is the largest travel company in Europe—announced in May 2015 that it was going to consolidate the national brands that it owned into one brand. At the time, Tui’s CEO, Fritz Joussen, said the goal of the “power brand” was to offer a harmonized brand experience to customers of the integrated travel group.
The process started in September 2015 when the Dutch brand Arke was replaced by Tui. Shortly thereafter, the Belgian brand Jetair was phased out. And in France, the company introduced the Tui brand before other national brands subsequentlyexperienced the same treatment.
In related actions taken this year, the company sold off Hotelbeds as well as its 50 or so specialist operators.
And then, last month, Tui began its first Europe-wide advertising campaign for the repositioned Tui brand with a mix of TV, digital, print and other advertising measures. The campaign features a wide range of people in different holiday situations, based on global travel and lifestyle trends. It launched in Belgium and will continue in November in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway in November 2016, followed by the Netherlands and France. And at the end of December 2016, it will be launched in Germany. In the UK and Ireland, brand migration from Thomson to Tui will take place next year.
Thomson is one of the UK’s older travel companies. Originally named Thomson Tour Operations (TTO), and renamed in 1997, was founded in 1965 as part of the Thomson Travel Group following the acquisition of four tour operators, Skytours, Riviera, Luxitours, Gaytours and the airline Britannia Airways by Baron Roy Thomson (1894-1976). Tui acquired the operator in 2002.
First Choice was founded in 1973 as Owners Abroad, changing its name, following other acquisitions, to First Choice. It then merged with TUI AG in 2007 to create TUI Travel, with the First Choice brand still operating.