ThomsonA design and content overhaul of in December last year has been credited for the website having a bumper start to 2007.

The site has seen a 50% increase in traffic to four million visitors in January, while bookings of package sales are up 35% despite the overall market being down. Dynamic packaging and accommodation-only bookings have doubled while flight-only bookings have risen by 50%.

Photo database Flickr has been added to the site, which allows potential customers to view other people’s holiday snaps when researching destinations.

Its user reviews have been simplified and added to the main details of the holiday, meaning customers do not have to click out of the details of a hotel’s facilities to see how previous customers have rated their stay.

Google Earth and Microsoft Live Earth have also been included to give customers a better picture of the resort and hotels’ locations. An ‘Explore Our Destinations’ section, featuring an interactive moving globe, has also been introduced.

TUI northern Europe new media director Graham Donoghue said the redesign has turned the site into a “travel portal, not just a booking site”.

The additional content has seen the average length of stay on the site double from between seven and eight minutes to 15 minutes.

Donoghue added the site’s bandwidth had to be increased by four times to be able to handle the increased content. He is also predicting “hundreds of thousands” of dynamic packaging and accommodation-only bookings this year.