TUI Travel narrows half-year losses
The group, which owns the Thomson and First Choice brands, made an underlying operating loss of £289 million in the six months to 31 March, a 9% reduction on the previous year.
Unique holiday bookings in the UK increased by 15% while in the Nordics and Germany they rose by 11% and 9% respectively.
Online sales now account for 42% of bookings in the UK, up 1% from last year, and for 68% of bookings in the Nordics.
Peter Long, chief executive of TUI Travel, said: "Our strategy of focusing on unique holidays and putting our customers at the heart of our business continues to deliver strong growth."
The group is introducing a new smartphone app which will act a 'one stop shop' for customers once they have booked their holidays. The MyThomson app will feature flight information, maps, destination guides and weather updates as well as links to social media.
Johan Lundgren, deputy chief executive of TUI Travel, said: "TUI Travel is an online driven business and we will continue to enhance our mobile offering. The launch of the MyThomson app is an exciting new way of connecting our customers with Thomson anytime, anywhere, anyway. Innovation is at the heart of our strategy to deliver future growth, and the launch of the MyThomson app reflects our position as market leader."
TUI is also launching its first next generation of shops in the summer with the emphasis of on service in a modern environment.
Kathryn Ward, director of retail and financial services for TUI UK & Ireland, said: "Our next generation store recognises the importance of people when it comes to choosing and booking a holiday, whilst integrating technology into the whole experience to really bring it to life. Customers will be able to immerse themselves in stunning, rich and evocative content as they research and browse our unique holidays in-store."
Thomson’s first next generation shop will open in late summer with a further 10 stores refitted with the new design by Christmas as the group aims to open 100 stores under the new format in the coming few years.
Key features of the next generation shops include a giant immersive video wall and an interactive map and table to entertain customers. There will also be an advice bar where customers can browse the Thomson and First Choice websites on self-service laptops with staff on hand to answer questions. Free Wifi will also be provided in store to enable customers to use their own devices to research in store and check out review content.
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