TUI is to phase out the Falcon, Thomson and First Choice brands in a move that follows the merger of the UK and German businesses last year – but changes in the UK and Ireland markets will not happen for two or three years and specialist brands such as American Holidays and Crystal Holidays will not be affected.
Joint Chief Executives Fritz Joussen and Peter Long insisted that they were pleased with the company’s progress on structuring and advised that this rebranding would take up to three years. They said: “Our post-merger integration process is ahead of our original plan. Our growth phase is gaining momentum. We will start with some of the smaller markets, initially in Holland and France and then on to Belgium, the Nordics and the UK.”
Investors were advised that they were on track to increase profits by 10% – 15% this year despite announcing pre-tax losses of £120.5 million, an improvement however on the £144.9 million loss for the same period last year. TUI also said it would order two new cruise ships and acquire two more Boeing Dreamliner jets, thus showing confidence in its longhaul holiday and cruise business.
John Devereux, Managing Director, SHG Ireland, told Irish Travel Trade News that this will not affect the specialist brands and insisted that it was only the ‘mainstream’ tour operating and airline brands that were being rebranded. “The specialist brands such as American Holidays, Hayes and Jarvis, Sovereign, Citalia, Austravel, Jetsave and Crystal Holidays will not be rebranded under the TUI brand,” he said.
Falcon / Thomson Holidays Ireland were not in a position to comment. However, Kuzey Alexander Esener, Head of Media Relations, TUI, said: “Nothing has been decided yet for the UK and Ireland source market. We will start migration to the TUI brand in the Netherlands, most probably this year. France and Belgium are supposed to follow and we will carefully look at how this works. Based on those learnings we will continue with other markets. However, every market is carefully looked at and all decisions will be made together and in accordance with the local management boards.
“There will be only decisions that strengthen our position. As a consequence, nothing has been decided yet for the UK & Ireland source market. As it is the biggest source market any such decision will be considered earliest in two or rather three years.”
The Falcon, Thomson and First Choice brands have more than five million customers, while TUI has 30 million customers overall, as well as 300 hotels, 136 planes and 1,800 shops.