Europe’s largest tour operator last week announced with much fanfare in an e-news release that it is dropping a plan announced three years ago to do away with all printed brochures for its UK/Ireland market by the year 2020.
Buckling to the apparent demand of some clients and customers who feel more comfortable with material that they can fold and hold, the decision seemed somehow fitting for the Hannover, Germany-based company that has been slow, all along the way, to make a complete migration to e-commerce and digital marketing.
TUI launched the phaseout in July 2016. The move happened to coincide with the company’s “single brand” campaign as it did away with national brands elsewhere in Europe. The most apparent effect of the move was the phasing out of the popular Thomson brand. But the company kept First Choice as a brand as research showed that its customer base had, and still has, a high regard for the latter.
Three years ago, TUI was printing nearly 5 million brochures a year across 58 different titles. There are now 39 titles. Digital versions are available of all brochures, with TUI’s website telling holidaymakers they are “doing your bit to help the planet” if they do not request a printed copy.
Print Product “Still an Important Part” of Process: What happened to change the company’s mind? A TUI spokesperson said, “At TUI we are still committed to reducing our brochure line-up … We undertook customer research last year which identified that the brochure is still an important part of the customer journey for some of our customers. We are now referring to the previous ‘brochure reduction strategy’ as a ‘brochure evolution strategy’.”
Meanwhile, in the other direction back at corporate headquarters in Hanover, Germany, TUI announced plans to close its stations at 18 airports across Germany, replacing 130 customer service jobs with digital services as part of its forthcoming restructuring. “Where possible, other jobs will be sought for the 130 staff at the airport stations,” the company said.
According to TUI, the reason for closing the 18 locations is to further expand digital services for customers: “Continuing digitalization and the changed booking and consumption patterns of customers demand more automated services and new ways of customer communications.”