ThomsonThomson has unveiled a revolutionary ‘pod’ that could be the future of travel retail.

Smaller and more portable than similar kiosks trialled by First Choice since August the Thomson booths are self-contained, offer wireless Internet access and simply need plugging into the mains.

In a year-long pilot Thomson plans to set them up in shopping centres or use them for strategic short-term marketing campaigns at events such as wedding shows.

Thomson commercial director Derek Jones said: “We can take the kiosks out and put them anywhere they might be useful; they’ll be about introducing people to our brand and our model.

“We can’t keep a ton of brochures in them, just a selection. But we wouldn’t want too many brochures because they would just become distribution points.”

Thomson marketing manager customer experience Doug Glenwright said the year-long pilot should start in March with two kiosks, one in a shopping centre and the other visiting exhibitions, each accompanied by two staff.

He added the kiosks would be effective at introducing consumers to the Thomson brand while the bulk of sales will consist of impulse-buy short breaks. The booths will probably be withdrawn in the quieter fourth quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, Thomson plans to introduce a Scandinavian-style ticketed queuing system for customers and remove staff chairs, leaving consultants to stand at raised computer terminals. The plan has drawn criticism from the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association.

A union spokesman said: “If management tries to impose this change it can only lead to poorer relations.”