Tui looking to ‘broaden’ UK retail network

Tui is hoping to expand its retail footprint in the UK as it recognises the benefits of a bricks-and-mortar presence.

Group chief executive Sebastian Ebel also said the travel giant is seeing “very good” feedback from third-party retailers following Tui’s move to sell via independent agencies as well as its own.

“We have gained a lot of trust, which leads to good numbers,” he said.

Talking after Tui had announced upbeat Q2 figures, and “promising” summer bookings, he said: “We would like to broaden our retail outlet in the UK, not by 100 or 200, but small numbers.”

The results announcement noted that 80% of package holiday guests use Tui’s app but added: “The digital services go hand in hand with our successful bricks-and-mortar sales organisation, which continues to play an important role.

“Travel agencies stand for high-quality advice, service quality and higher contribution margins.”

More: Tui upbeat for summer with ‘promising’ bookings growth

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Commenting on sales via the app, which drives unpaid traffic, Ebel said: “It’s not that we want to convert a retail customer into the app – retail is a very profitable business, a very stable business.

“We do our utmost to keep the retailers happy, and we have great retailers and we do see a future for retail.

“We have seen the younger generation go back to retail. That is something I’ve seen in my own family but I hadn’t expected it.

“So the main effort is to move the mobile customer into our app.”

The proportion of sales that came via the app rose from 4.4% in Q2 2023 to 6.8% in Q2 2024.

Ebel also said it would be “bad behaviour” to offer better prices to customers on the app compared to retail clients – even though the marketing costs via the app are much lower.

“We do see the value of retail [with] great service and great upselling. Retail is not only about price,” he said.

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