Tour OperatorsTUI chief executive Sebastian Ebel expresses interest in hotel group's moves in the rewards programme space.

TUI to launch loyalty programme for guest convenience

European package holidays business TUI plans to launch a loyalty programme by the end of this year.
European package holidays business TUI plans to launch a loyalty programme by the end of this year. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Song_about_summer

European package holidays business TUI plans to launch a loyalty programme by the end of this year.

Sebastian Ebel, chief executive of the Germany-based business, says he has been impressed with what hotel groups such as Hilton have done describing its programme as a "convenience product" enabling guests to open their room doors via mobile as well as check out at the end of a stay.

Ebel, who spoke at ITB in Berlin last week, added that elements such as early check-in are high value for consumers but "for the industry do not mean high cost."

He said he's not a "fan of collecting points" and that the loyalty programme will be about "getting services to the customer."

Ebel also touched on TUI's growth strategy with the company, which owns hotels, cruise ships, airlines and travel agencies, planning more owned as well as exclusive products.

Dynamic packaging will also play a greater role going forward with Ebel saying that enabling travellers to package up their own flights and hotels is attracting new customers.

He added that technology is making dynamic packaging easier for the group and that in addition to offering full-service carriers, it hopes to add the main low-cost carriers by the end of the year.

"What we would like to achieve is that the customer uses our ecosystem more. Whether you're buying a flight or a hotel or for when you visit friends, we want to make it convenient."

Responding to a question on whether the growth in dynamic packaging would be to the detriment of TUI's core tour operations business, Ebel said it will be "incremental and what with we have we want to do better and grow."

During its recent earnings release for the first quarter of 2023, TUI said it planned to deliver growth in both its hotels and resorts business unit as well as its tour operating and airlines business with the latter "offering more product choice, growing our customer ecosystem into untapped segments, and increasing customer value. This includes increasing the volume and proportion of dynamically sourced packages, as well as significantly increasing our component offer in accommodation only and flight only."

Earlier this month the company launched its TUI Tours initiative to grow its dynamic packaging business.

The service, which is initially available in Belgium, was developed with Nezasa and enables travel agents or consumers to build multi-day tours and return trips online.

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