Thomson RIP

By | Category: Travel news

a demonstration of the new holiday suggestor seat

According to TUI, the parent company of the Thomson, First Choice, Crystal, Austravel Falcon and Citalia brands,  its rebrand to TUI from Thomson has cost the company ‘tens of millions’ of pounds.

But why has the Thomson brand been altered and not the others that it holds? According to the company, Crystal and First Choice are strong brands and market research showed that the company would have lost many of the customers of those brands if it had changed the names of those two companies.

The First Choice brand name has only been around for about fifteen years when the then company bosses changed the name from Owners Abroad so it hasn’t had a long history and certainly nowhere as long as the Thomson brand which goes back about 60 years. Company thinking seems to suggest that the Thomson name isn’t as strong and therefore, could be ditched. But was it worth spending tens of millions on that change? Could it be that the reason was that the name “Thomson” implied something old fashioned in a time when the travel industry has been one of the leaders in digital and online change?

How will this affect the millions of Thomson bookers (sorry TUI bookers) who were shy of increasing online access and preferred to wander into a high street shop? Will they desert the new brand and head into Thomas Cook instead?  Only time will tell.

TUI revealed a new idea yesterday to assist customers in choosing their holidays. In a few stores it is trialling a chair that has been designed to replicate much of the TUI logo. Using the system developed by facial coding and emotion measurement company, Realeyes,  the software in the chair uses “sophisticated facial coding and emotion measurement technology to trigger imaginations and tap into the subconscious. A unique algorithm computes every subtle facial response to a rapid series of evocative moving images of destinations and experiences, and uses that data to calculate a ‘perfect holiday’ prescription.”

Some of the people who tested the chair at a press briefing yesterday were a little surprised at the holiday suggestions, others weren’t. The theory behind this concept is that we subconsciously yearn for things and the technique allows that to surface.

After trails, the chair could be rolled out more widely in its travel agency chain. (Remember when it was called Lunn Poly and they changed the name to Thomson because that was thought to be a more recognisable name with the public?)

Yesterday TUI linked the old with the new. Thomson died and the smart customer holiday suggestor was born in its stores. The next step is to see how customers react to both.

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